New Year Trip - Mercury Islands 1998
1 Jan: Chamberlains Bay, Pounui Island, we joined up with Mates Rates and Rusty Scupper. We had found out that some more H28s were at the Mercury Islands so decision made to head in that direction.
2 Jan: Elephant Cove at the Happy Jacks. On our way across we spotted 4 sharks, 3 fins in the distance and one that swam past the boat and looked at us with his beady eye, it was about 8 ft. We met up with 2 more H's at this stop. Hiria and Pleiades 3 also in the bay. Later that day Hiria came over with a dinghy load of mussels for us. We ended up on Rusty Scupper in the company of Mates Rates and starting steaming the mussels for first course about 5.00 ish, steamed with onions and vinegar. That went down rather well so the next lot were steamed, this time with chilli sauce - yum! Ian whipped across to Waiata and made up a batter so the third lot were fritters - yum again. Then to finish off the evening Mates Rates fetched ice, Canterbury cream and Butterscotch Schnapps complete with liqueur glasses, nothing like roughing it is there. Some what rollie night spent in the Bay.
3 Jan: 7.00 a.m., no wind, motored to the Mercs. Also joined by Skana who had made a 5.30 a.m. start from Motutapu. We arrived around 2.00 pm. Found Monty Python, Desiderata, Aphrodite in Peachgrove Bay, this bay has lovely white sand and bush. The word didn't have to spread too far to know it was BBQ on the beach for tea time. There were small waves breaking on the beach something that the dinghies are not good at coping with, they have a habit of going side on to the wave and then you either get swamped or tipped out. Quick agility to exit the dinghy at the right moment required. We were the last dingy to come in. By this time we were greeted by a welcoming party from those that were on the beach first, the men had stripped to their undies and came out to guide the dinghies in. Brydon and Anne had already come to grief and both flipped into the tide, quick shift action and spotting, Richie even rescued Anne's glasses from the tide. Luckily Brydon had come in earlier and landed the essentials - grog and food! Talk about laughter, men in undies and Brydon and Anne looking decidedly bedraggled, the jokes and laughter continued through the evening. Another bumpy night, Skana and Mates Rates moved round to the Cove for the night, the ladies like a calm sleep.
4 Jan: Weather still lovely, we motored round to Coralie Bay, another lovely bay. Confessions to the fore at BBQ time. Mates Rates and Skana certainly got their calm night, they chose a spot that dried out at low tide! Mates Rates / Skana woke at 3.30 a.m. in Mates Rates they found themselves sleeping against the cabin walls and even more hilarious on Skana their main bed is made up across the main cabin at night, they woke doing headstands! Realising there was nothing they could do till the water came back in they rearranged themselves and went back to sleep - Skana now lying down standing up. In the morning they decided to go for a walk to fill in time. A quick leap into the dinghy by Don (Mates Rates) and the dinghy hit the bottom with a jolt. Soon discovered that the water depth was only about up to their knees so they walked the dinghies across to shore and started out on their trek. Now at this time of the morning Don usually has a session. So he spent the whole walk wishing he had brought some loo paper with him. Jenny wouldn't let him go, not even using a good old Rangiora leaf as natures toilet paper. They relayed all this at our BBQ, we were making so much noise that some people came over and remarked at what a fun time we were having.
5 Jan: Whitianga - we (Waiata) actually did a bit of sailing on this day - shock/horror! We spent the morning having a great sail over to Whitianga, this takes about 3-4 hours. We anchored off the beach and went for a wander, lovely spot, probably with 3 times its normal population at this time of year. The others in our group chose to book a marina for the night and had showers and ate dinner out. With Waiata's manoeuvring not to be trusted we decided to continue in sailing mode and didn't stay in Whitianga over night. We had a spinnaker run out the harbour area and found a lovely bay (Matapaua Bay) with bush right down to the sea and some batches down on the beach. Enjoyed our steak and wine for tea.
6 Jan: Had a slow start to the day and set the sails for a run down to the Red Mercury Island, this is the most outer island of the bunch. Steep cliffs coming up out the sea and huge areas of Pouhutakawa trees covering the island, a mass of red flowers. This coupled with it's red rock faces - the island is aptly named. Once round the top we enjoyed 6-7 knot sailing. I had the troll line out the back all day - but no fish exist in these waters, we've decided. We met up with the rest of the bunch back at the main Mercury Island (Shower Bay) and had yet another amusing BBQ.
7 Jan: Sunshine persisting, lazy morning had by all and hot scones on Rusty Scupper - it's a hard life at sea! Feeling rather guilty about lack of exercise, we all went for a walk round to the next bay which had a waterfall and pool for a swim. We ended doing this via the scenic route, as we couldn't find the correct track and ended up near a plantation of pine trees. But alas we found the path and what took 1 hour to achieve one way, took 30 minutes to return. That nights BBQ included a game of Petanque (spelling?), the rules being that you had to have a glass of wine in one hand and the ball in the other. The game got louder and more confusing as each set past.
8 Jan: Decision made to make the first leg of our return home as the winds were due to get up by the next day. We motored-sailed back and settled into North Harbour, Pounui Island, this trip took from 7.00 am to 2.00 pm. The winds were getting strong as the day went by. It was at this stage that Waiata's motor started to play up or should I say, the motor was making the right noises, but the variable pitched prop which gives us forward and reverse had seized. We threw the anchor down, we were a bit close to another boat which he voiced his dislike at our closeness. We relayed our problem to them but they still kept a wary eye on us. Ian had a compulsory swim to see if he could throw any light on the problem. After commands from Ian to shift the prop forward and back, it seemed to free itself. With the assistance of Brydon from Rusty Scupper, just in case it played up, we moved to another spot not too close to anyone. Kuruza also in the bay.
9 Jan: Stayed in the bay, winds 35-45 knots! This time it was hot beer bread aboard Rusty Scupper. The afternoon turned into evening and Ian come up with a "what's in the cupboard pasta surprise" for tea. This we shared with Rusty Scupper. We had no fridge for this trip as the compressor runs off the engine, last Christmas the fridge spat its dummy and we had not got it repaired because it was in the too hard bin to repair. We bought ourselves a chilli bin with a cooling motor in it from the Warehouse ($79.95). You plug it into a cigarette light fitting when the motor is on and this acts as a fridge. This kept our meat/milk cold and we only had the out the cupboard meals for the end of our trip.
10 Jan: Winds still persisting! Quiet day on board. Over to Mates Rates for 5sies, this being out last night out, Westhaven tomorrow. We had a Lennon creation with potatoes, kumara and spam for tea - yum. Nothing like an Eric Clapton tape at this time of the day.
11 Jan: Early morning no wind, but this was short lived and the wind came up and continued to rise as the day wore on. 9.00 a.m. we departed, no pitch in the prop again, so it was a sail home with the wind right on the nose. The wind wasn't very strong at the start of the sail but got up to 25 knots, gusting 35 knots. It was a case of tack after tack to make progress. The seas were reasonably comfortable, we took turns 50/50 on the tiller while the other was tactician. This pattern continued throughout the day until our progress became minimal and decision made to turn down wind and head into Izzy Bay at 4.00 p.m. Made a call to my boss on the mobile to let him know I would not be in for work on Monday (I've always wanted to do that). Besides we still had a couple of bottles of wine and 3 cans of beer to use up. Izzy Bay was a welcome haven from the winds, it's our favorite spot. The weather forecast was for light winds over night with winds freshening mid morning. Hit the sack at 8.30 p.m.
12 Jan: 1.15 a.m. Ian woke and listened to the forecast, made me a cuppa and said let's go for a night sail! The winds were 15-20 knots and on a better quarter than the day before, although it would still require tacking. We departed at 2.00 a.m. and made good sailing legs through to North Head, only thing out on the water was a container ship that had already gone through the channel. We dropped the main and turned into Westhaven at 5.15 a.m. running on the headsail only. The rules are that you are not meant to sail inside a marina but we figured no one else would be silly enough to be awake. We silently slipped along the causeways and eased on along X pier, threw the anchor in and the stern swung nicely over to the pier and I stepped off! Then it was only a matter of tieing off the stern, pulling up the anchor and pulling over the bow and hey presto we were home! Who needs a motor anyway!
Our decision to buy a new motor had been justified. We already had a booking organised with Orams to come out that morning at 10.30 a.m., nothing like timing is there.
Later that Monday (12th) morning Orams Marine came over to X pier and towed Waiata over and pull her out of the water. The mechanic was in before you could blink and removed the motor. This has since been sold, the actual motor was humming nicely, it was the prop that had failed. The new motor would have a gear box, a matter of click into forward, click to neutral, click to reverse with a lever (what bliss!!).
The boatbuilder has been in and renewed the engine bearers and fastened plates to the hull that hold the bolts that the new engine will fasten to. Ian reckons if everything else fell apart the engine won't budge! We have a new speedo for our knot readings and also includes a fish finder that comes out on a digital display will be interesting to actually witness that fish do exist in these waters!! Also installed a depth sounder.
Sea trials underway Saturday 24 Feb our Volvo 19; 3 cylinder just purred!!! So quiet! Put it into gear and it actually goes forwards and backwards!!! (Wonders never cease!)
Minor adjustments required - didn't get up to 3,500 revs - could be an oversized prop. Buried its bottom, exhaust under the water when at 1800 revs - exhaust to be raised.
New bracket required for the fridge compressor. No worries, we're off to Mahurangi!
Auckland Anniversary Weekend
Pleiades 3, Waiata, Rusty Scupper, Skana, Mates Rates, Monty Python, Maggie Pam, Sangria, Compass Rose, Hirondelle, Tamujin, Tamaricia, Te Kawai, Joie de Vivre, Safilo, Synergy, Sea Dove, Murihiku, Phew, Husvale, Fellowship (sorry if we have missed out anyone)
Te Kawai won the Classic Yachts race
Ak Ann. Race - Te Kawai 1st, Tamujin 2nd, Husvale? 3rd (Note: The Herald published Waiata 3rd, we're not sure if we were 3rd or 4th) - boats that participated in the race: Pleiades 3, Waiata, Rusty Scupper, Monty Python, Compass Rose, Hirondelle, Tamujin, Tamaricia, Te Kawai, Joie de Vivre, Phew, Husvale
Waitangi Day Weekend
Fri 6th: Waiata, Rusty Scupper, Mates Rates, Skana, Hirondelle, Priority, Sangria, Synergy found there way to Chamberlains Bay, Ponui during Friday in time for lunch and a swim. One of the inevitable decisions made to find somewhere for BBQ that night so there was a mass exit out the bay to try Sharks Bay, but proved no good. Where to next? …… settled for Bryants Bay. BBQ was great and it only Friday!
Sat 7th: More swimming and generally lazing about. Decision made at some stage to head for Onetangi, but this changed and we ended up across from Pakatoa (can't remember the bays name). Also met up with Berthday Buoy and Silhouette. This proved a bit lumpy with the sea breeze lifting. So like sheep we drifted off and settled for Opopo Bay. Once again a lovely spot for a BBQ, guitars out later on for a sing song.
Sun 8th: Slow start, with reluctance all round we move off back down to Motuihe for lunch. More swimming, eating and lazing on the beach. We were offered a feed of beautifully cooked smoked kahawai from a group who could eat no more - it was delicious! Around about 3.30 p.m. we made the leg home. Even with the extra day it wasn't long enough!!
Also spotted out on the water during this weekend - Kuruza, Tamaricia, Tamujin and Freeway.
Rusty Scupper, Skana, Monty Python, Aphrodite, Sillouhette, Hirondelle, Frontier, Mates Rates, Pleiades 3, Safilo, Waiata.
Heard but not sighted:
Seen en route:
Hiria, Miruhuku, Night Fever.
A great long weekend, with marvelous weather, good company, and fun socialising on the beach.
WAIATA made it to Izzy Bay Thursday night, a fresh sou'wester making for a fast trip. Overnight was the usual dead calm, but we didn't get ourselves under way till about 9am after hearing chatter on the VHF between the Scupper's and the Skana's. Down the outside of Waiheke (motor sailing as we were keen to get across) until Gannet Rock when the motor was silenced, and we sailed the rest of the way with a nice southerly breeze.
Heard amongst the VHF traffic that most were heading for Waimate Island, but we decided to check out Te Kouma first. It was fairly deserted when we arrived, (about two-ish) but boats were starting to pour in.
Met up with Frontier and Sillouhette at Waimate Island and soon after the rest arrived. With the early sunset, it was on the beach for fivies at four thirty-ish, most managed to BBQ before it got dark, a respectable sized bonfire was built, and a sing song ensued.
Saturday, Frontier and Wanderer II, (a potential associate I reckon) went off for a dive. (Young Michael from Wanderer II was a hit all round with his ever present red fireman's helmet) The Sillouetter's went fishing with quite good results. The rest of us meandered across to Long Bay and made the 4 or 5 km walk to Coromandel township. Very pleasant, and a chance to chat and catch up on people's various goings on. Usual search for a money machine in Coromandel (there isn't one) the only option being an EFTPOS purchase and "Cash please". Lunch of Fish and Chips and a couple of jugs at the pub, and a stroll back to the boats. Paul from Frontier had rung (aren't yuppie phones great?) to suggest that seeing the weather was so settled we should stop overnight at one of the mainland bays just south of Papaaroha camping ground (The bay is not named on the chart). A great choice! Lovely sandy beach, trees down to the water's edge, and birds singing.
Another successful BBQ/bonfire and sing along, preceded by an entree of paua fritters courtesy of Frontier, and complete with a noisy rendition of "Tofata" (Don't know what that is? Join us at the next rally, where, provided you are prepared to act like kids, when Carol could be persuaded to revert to being Akela once more).
Sunday morning, champagne brunch on the beach with Hot Cross Buns to follow. Captain Bligh from Hirondelle bullied all the men into a race in Frontier's kids' kayak. Fun for the spectators, but the age and standard of some of the participants showed! Result? Who knows? maybe its elsewhere in this newsletter.
Morning drifted into afternoon, and after a walk to explore the coastline (more attractive beaches just around the corner) it was back to the boats for an afternoon zizz, a swim, or what have you. The intrepid pair from Skana/Mates Rates went dinghy fishing! Caught one "pan sized" snapper which was shared around that night at the BBQ.
Although the party that explored the coastline were all for changing the venues for the BBQ (the next beach round was flatter, and therefore better for platonque), when it came to the crunch no decision was made (non decision making is an H28 tradition) and we returned to the same beach. BBQ/Bonfire/Sing along again, but a little more subdued than previous nights.
Inevitably, Monday came around and we headed back, initially in dead calm conditions, but then a breeze kicked in and sails were up. Stopped off in Omaru Bay for lunch with Skana, Mates Rates, Rusty Scupper and Monty Python; anchors and sterns tied together. More hilarity before it was finally time to head home
Overall one of our best ever Association outings.
Izzy Bay Rally Queens Birthday Weekend
Surprise surprise, Rusty Scupper and Waiata made it out on Friday night, motoring as there was no wind to speak of. (The inference here of course, is that its unusual for us not to sail). Dick, the resident guard dog on the Scupper, had his evening walkies delayed for an hour or two while his master checked out our boat, and demonstrated his glass balancing skills.
Saturday we were joined by Hirondelle, Sandbourne, Sangria, Saraja, Safilo, Monty Python, Carafe, Pleiadies 3, Bill, Tension, and late in the day Frontier. Compass Rose joined us on Sunday.
Had a stroll round to the kiosk (the venue for the evening) to check things out, and to see whether by some miracle a generator had been supplied. The idea of the generator was a last minute one, the hope being that we could watch the Super Twelve finals ashore in comfort. Brydon had brought his 14" TV "Just in case". Anyway, although the DOC people said they would see what they could do, no generator.
So it was back to the boats for lunch and await kick off time. It seemed that the Scupper was elected the best place to watch the match on radio from, (that's a bit Irish isn't it?) and some pre match time was spent declaring allegiances. A bit of fence sitting was evident, except for the host who is un-ashamedly a Cantabrian. This fact must have become evident to all in the bay as the game progressed, the red wine diminished, and cries of "Caaanterbuuury" resounded.
With an early sunset, we headed off to the Kiosk about 4:30ish, and most managed to get their meals cooked in the last of the daylight. (Except for Frontier; Paul feels there is something uncivilised about eating before 8pm. However on this occasion they were late arriving).Much sharing of BBQ's and hot plates, but everyone got fed.
The evening was a bit chilly, so we were grateful for the shelter of the Kiosk, and our two little hurricane lamps gave just enough light when all gathered for the sing song. Usual problem of people not knowing the words (except for Wally from Pleiadies 3 who must be nearly as old as I am; Even new the words to Old Shep (a Tex Morton classic to the un initiated) but we weren't allowed to sing it). However we got by, and finished up about nine-ish and headed back to the boats. An uneventful night.
The forecast for Sunday was not too good so apart from a few keen ones who departed for parts unknown, the rest stayed put. The coastguard had a wind warning out for 35 - 40 knot gusts, and although Izzy Bay is a marvelous anchorage in a Sou'wester a couple of boats managed to drag. Saraja had problems with her propulsion system, and when she dragged had to be assisted by a couple of rubber duckies. Fortunately the propulsion problem was later resolved and with some borrowed extra anchor gear remained secure for the rest of the weekend.
The wind eased later and we went for a walk on Rangitoto; some to the lava caves, others up to the top. Our group went to the summit. We all made it but the two old fellas needed some encouragement. Last time we made this trip, the wooden walkway from the road to the summit was not quite finished. It now goes all the way up, meaning no scramble over the scoria, and lots of great views.
Got back in time to get the catering organised for the BBQ and back ashore to the Kiosk. A smaller group, but fun all the same. Our singing hadn't improved! Carol got the kids going with a rendition of "Jack from the Button Factory", another item from her cub days. Went back to the boats reasonably early, but as a result of a diversion for coffee, I'm told I had some difficulty later on getting from boat to dinghy to boat. Can't give any more details as I never (or hardly ever) use second hand sources!
Monday, with most heading off, a few went for another Rangi wander.
Mid afternoon, it was time for off. Broke the well bedded in anchors, got rid of the inevitable mud, and motored (yes, motored) home.
A great end to the official cruising program for the year.