Location: Whangaruru to Whangarei, New Zealand
With friends to see and holiday festivities to rev up, we decided to leave the Bay of Islands and get a few more miles under our keels, working our way south towards Auckland through the comical sounding ports of Whangaruru, Whangamumu, and Whangarei. Rounded Cape Brett under the lighthouse and inside Motukokako Island with its iconic arch. Apparently some yahoo sailed though it once, but we though it unwise and opted against it.
Cruising the coast has been a pleasant change of pace from big open water passages. There’s more free time to play guitar, learn to splice line, and make new friends. Our finny mate below is likely a Bronze Whaler interested in the chum slicks off of the fishing boats no doubt. Sky-blackening flocks of gulls and turns show up for the slurry banquet as well.
Craggy coastline makes for an impressive sail heading south. A narrow channel leads out of the tumultuous sea to the protected harbor of Whangamumu where the ruins of an old whaling station lay waiting to be explored. The old rusting boiler and cement vats where they processed the blubber are slowly being consumed by the brush. The station was used on and off right up into the 1940’s. Strange to think at that rendered whale fat was still being burned in lamps at the same time that Oppenheimer was splitting atoms for nuclear energy in Los Alamos. Miranda and I also have been taking advantage of the well marked hiking trails abound in the area much to the chagrin of our atrophied legs.
Whangaruru is the next big protected bay south. Lots of campers enjoying the calm bay. There’s a rain of plunging gannets. Gannets and boobies are very similar, making up the Sulidae family. So in a strange way, it rains boobies here.
Pulled into Whangarei Heads and spent a few days on anchor hiking the bulbous green hills before making our way south into the Hauraki Gulf.