"Good water, good life; poor water, poor life; no water, no life" Sir Peter Blake

Monday, April 01, 2013

Easter Break, Waiheke Island, Hauraki Gulf

Escaping Auckland City on Thursday evening is so much easier by boat at Easter than by car!  As we listen to the motorway being jamb-packed, we are untying our ropes and escaping the madness - it's a very good feeling!

We decided that Huruhi Bay, Waiheke was the direction we want to head, so after hoisting our main and jib we headed off down the harbour.  Wind ranged from 8 - 23knots!  More settled once we got clear of North Head into a great sailing breeze and we managed to make it around the beacon at Browns Island at a pinch.  It's always great to pick a boat ahead of you and make a 'goal' to catch them.  No we weren't racing but it's only natural isn't it?  Saw a spectacular sun setting (looked like an 'eye' from the distance) and about 15mins later the rather large moon rising, very cool.

The 'eye of the tiger' sunset. 

 Had a lovely lazy Friday and saw half of Auckland leave to head to the "Bottom End" of Waiheke - it was almost a white wall of sails heading that way, and our bay filled up quite well too.  Low tide saw the kids and I head ashore for some gathering of seafood and meeting some wonderful relaxed locals Mickey & Mike who were netting for fish, and the lads (Craig and his dad) had a snooze on the boat of course!

Playing ashore at Huruhi Bay, Waiheke Island, Hauraki Gulf

Kids finding lots of sea slugs.

Observing the movements of a local sea slug.  It was escaping fast (slightly faster than a snail).

Cockles in my flippers! Blake helps collect cockles for lunch.

 Freya helping locals netters Micky & Mike return all the baby flounder that were netted and released them back into the sea

 We also had our friends Dougal & Naomi and dog Ari turn up in their boat My Harem, so we socialised with them afterwards which was a fantastic afternoon and evening being very lazy and relaxing!

 Dougal & Naomi, enjoying another great evening & catch up!

 Saturday was hopeful for a spot of fishing, but we were not in luck.  We spotted our friend Bob on his catamaran ^2 so we chatted on our phones as he sailed past us doing 15knots - What a hoon!  Craig wanted to head to the 'Bottom End' so we sailed around to Huse Bay, just north of Man O War Bay arriving just on dark.  Bit of a rolly night as the little N swell kept rolling around the corner.  Craig didn't get brownie points for that anchorage, but I was glad I wasn't in a keeler that's for sure!  It's nice to be rocked to sleep, and being in the Viaduct at least we were used to the rolling about with all the ferry wakes!

 Bob the hoon - going twice our speed!

 Next morning (after the Easter Bunny had arrived), we decided that we would do the Stony Batter walk, as we had never done it in all the times we've been to Waiheke!  After we stopped off on Pete Melvin & family's boat Mama Tried we headed ashore (you get slightly distracted and more social when you're boating!).

Luke, Cathy, Sam and Pete and our crew aboard 'Mama Tried.'

Climbing the first hill wasn't too bad, but not actually knowing if it was the right track was the tricky bit.  Using the GPS on the phone helped to see how far it was!  After we were nearly there we actually found out from the farmer that we were trespassing and we were not allowed to go this way! He saw the kids and took pity as we were nearly there, so let us carry on through his property! (thank goodness), so just over the hill was Stony Batter.  Even though I had 'googled' the directions there were no tracks or websites indicating any tracks from any of the bays other than Man O War Bay.  So we were under the impression that the road was the way to go (and there were no signs ashore or up the track)....

Freya showing us the way along the cow trodden path

Little Explorers, even equipped with the appropriate stick (and dog)

 View back over the bay from the first hill we climbed, Mazuran just above the trees

 Camp Mother, Freya shows us the way up the 'pink' road

 Explorer Blake, going his own way up

 I just have to stop for a bit of 'rabbit' to keep me going.

Horses on the hill

Finally made it to Stony Batter!  

Gun Emplacement 2

 Going down the ladder to the gun base.

 Checking out the area where the gun used to be housed

 Running down hill avoiding sheep droppings!

 Local resident, a NZ Weka.

 Remarkable rock outcrops on top of the hill.

 Show us the way!

 I'm the king of the castle!

Big rock, bid mind.

 Found it Mum!  Freya was our "Dora the Explorer Camp Mother post finder"!

 Blake at Opopo Bay, investigating the stream

So for anyone wanting to go to Stony Batter, head to Opopo Bay, as there is a track that is signposted with orange markers.  This will lead you through the bush, over the hill up to a very stony ridge and down the other side to the actually Stony Batter with the tunnels.  To enter the museum I think it was 0.50c each and the tunnels were about $25.00 for two adults and two children.  $8.00 each for adults otherwise - but check out the website for more info on admission prices.  Take your own dolphin style torch and possibly two if you want good light.  Headlamps are not as good apparently.  A lot of people do recommend the tunnel trip but allow yourself between 30 mins to 1 hour to explore and make it your worth while.

For more DOC on Stony Batter info check it out here

We didn't actually do the tunnels, but sat in the gun emplacements and had a good nosy around while enjoying the view!  Even the kids coped great as it was over a 5km walk!  We headed down the Opopo bay track and walked around the rocks to retrieve the dinghy.  Lovely walk and lovely view!

Craig was working Monday so we decided we had better not linger any longer at Waiheke and make our way to the Viaduct.  Hoisting sails and enjoying a drift down the Waiheke Channel we saw our friend Andy & his family on their boat Te Kuiti enjoying the downwind gybing legs by flying a geneka. (We still managed to catch him on the reach though).

Had a great sail up until just past Devonport when the wind died out.  A fantastic weekend!  Happy Easter!

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