Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mariner Heads North (1 of 3)

The trip up to the Bay of Islands was completed in two days mainly because of what you see in the above photograph - continuous head winds of 25 knots. Here we are lugging the big Genoa jib to windward and are getting overpowered so I changed down to the working jib. Mariner then picked up her skirts like the fair lady that she is and romped over the scintillating sea, "she fair won our hearts" as that old sailor William Garden said all those years ago on another voyage.
The first stage of the journey was Whangarei to Tutukaka.

The north going crew L to R --- Mike, aka Wilhelm the helm, competent and the voice of quiet confidence and assurance -- The skipper, smiling, his normal visage when sailing, and Glen, aka The Muzz, big and strong and reliable and very good at catching fish.

Mike encourages Glen to have a crack at trolling as we pass through huge patches of fish swarming on the surface with hundreds of birds diving on the school.

Within 10 minutes Glen had caught this Kawhai. We were doing about 7 knots to windward at the time, "Mate, when I hook a fish, I stop my boat! " shouts Glen. "Yeehaaaaaaa, wind it in" we yell back - When Glen hauls the fish on board it flies over the side and into the cockpit in a great silver arc - it was the highlight of the first day.

I swear to God I have never, but never, tasted fish as good as this and who says rough red wine and fish don't go together - what a meal that was!

The second stage was a much longer day - Tutukaka to Waipiro Bay in the Bay of Islands. It was another dead beat to windward. We spent most of the day getting wet from the continuous flying sea spray as we tacked northward. With evening coming on fast we passed Piercy Island off Cape Brett and headed on into the Bay.

Heading on into the Bay of Islands. It is a mistake to think that passing Cape Brett is the end of a voyage to the BOI. We still had about another 15 nautical miles to go.

Anchored in Waipiro Bay, Bay of Islands. On time, no great dramas despite high winds and two days of slogging northward. Its the contrasts in sailing that give the exhilaration - rough passage to a quiet anchorage - perfect.

In Opua on the morning of the third day. The Northward going crew take their leave. Thanks guys for your help, your camaraderie and friendship - it was a very, very good sail indeed.


Anonymous said...

what a wonderful voyage! Let me know if you ever sail south, need crew -and can cope with a novice...

Alden said...

I will Jo - although this voyage is now over - I have another couple of postings to put up to cover the whole sailing holiday - the interlude in the BOI was quiet, but the trip back was hair raising to say the least - I'll post the story soon.

Mr. Kinder said...

I've gotten a lot of vicarious pleasure in reading about your trip north to the Bay of Islands.

delwyn said...

These are great photos Alden - your new camera?

Alden said...

Mr Kinder - thankyou for your kind words - the term vicarious pleasure is an interesting one isn't it? because we don't just get vicarious pleasure from the writing of others we get vicarious experiences of many shades which we simply do not have the time in one lifetime to experience - which is why literature is so important to us for enlarging our individual worlds.
I have two more posts about my trip away to post when I get the time so you will be able to read some more if you have the inclination to do so.

Alden said...

Delwyn - yes it is my new camera and it is one of those purchases that I am Really pleased with. Its funny how in this materialistic world we all buy 'stuff' all the time (helps keep people employed)but often a great deal of what we buy is absolute crap - well this camera is not! it is a little gem! - takes hundreds of photos and it is so small and portable - mind you on the boat trip it nearly ended up in the sea a couple of times!

Mr. Kinder said...

I look forward to the future posts. And I've enjoyed checking back these past couple of days and seeing this post about the sail north several times.

I may be particularly vulnerable to imagining the trip as incredibly fun because of my many enjoyable memories at the tiller (not wheel) of small sailboats.

Katherine said...

Marvelous. I feel quite exhilarated just reading this. Looking forward to 3/3

Alden said...

I would be interested in hearing about your enjoyable memories at the tiller Mr Kinder - How about a post on your blogspot about them?