Monday, March 16, 2009

Blog written about 2 weeks ago. We are now in Sandspit awaiting John and Gail Borkovic from Yellowknife who are going to join us. We knew they were in the area and yesterday when I was grocery shopping, there they were in the store, unbelivable.

We are cruising around Great Barrier Island, which is located about 40 miles east north east of Auckland. We left the dock last Wednesday and we have been out here ever since. The weather has been a mixed bag; it is getting to be fall here so out of the 9 days we have been here we have had 4 of beautiful weather and 5 of hiding out waiting for gales to pass and enduring the gales. The anchorages are very good and there are lots, we also have a good cruising guide which lets us know which anchorages to go and hide in when the wind is from a certain direction. After 2 days of being stuck below, listening to the wind howl and the rain beating on the deck we are ready for some sunshine.
I went hiking up to a kauri (a huge native NZ tree) damn; they have excellent tramping (as they call it here) trails throughout the island. The damn was about a 2 hour walk to it and then about 1 and ½ back. There was also a path to the top of a mountain but I did not want to go on a 5 hour hike or longer by myself. I also went for a swim the other day, my first since arriving here. I was in the water for over a ½ hour and had my wet suit on, I imagine I would have been fine without it, maybe will try that later.
There was also this terrific spot at Smokehouse Bay. There is a smokehouse there but even better there is a bath house!! Do you know I did not have a bath in 2008, not ONE. The bath house has a wonderful old bathtub in it available for all cruisers to use. You have to light the fire and then wait about 2 hours while you heat the water and then you get to luxuriate in the wonderful fresh hot water. Wow, what a treat, made all the better by chopping the wood and feeding the fire to heat up the water. There are also facilities to wash your clothes, basins with a wringer in them and clotheslines.
We are going to wash our clothes tomorrow I think. The land was bought and then donated for the use of boaters and when the facilities were ruined in a mud slide a few years ago, the boating community rallied and rebuilt the area. There are picnic tables and a BBQ, it is the most unique, useful thing that I have ever come across, what a wonderful surprise. I may have another bath before we leave the area.
We are planning on going to the town on the island, Port Fitzroy, this afternoon. Maybe I will be able to post this and then we are going to have a meal and a few beers at the Port Fitzroy Boating Club. We are planning on circumnavigating the island starting on Monday. The wind is switching around to the west for a few days and this should be a good time to head to the other side. We will probably cruise to the Hauraki Gulf after that but not too sure when yet. Hope all is well with everyone in Canada.