Location: Kawau and Tiritiri Matangi Islands, New Zealand
After topping up water tanks and giving the boat one last wash, we threw off the dock lines and motored quietly out of Marsden Point Marina. Tayrona was happy to be out sailing again after a week in the captivity of a dock. Her exuberance was felt somehow by the ocean gods who sent fair winds and a dolphin pod to ride our bow wake south to Kawau Island. Along the way I picked up an island on radar that wasn’t supposed to be there according to the charts. It was the wrong signature to be a boat. Something wasn’t right, and we approached wearily. Turns out it was a house!
The island of Kawau is a twenty mile sail from Whangarei, home to a historic manor and the ruins of an 1840’s copper mine. Things are pretty low-key when it comes to exploring on your own and we nosed around the fancy mansion ground and industrial ruins with touristic impunity.
Another twenty miles south the island of Tiritiri Matangi is a bird sanctuary. The squawks and growls that emanated from the vegetation were something out of Jurassic Park. The sea life was pretty good too, with green-lipped mussels, burly Red Moki, and Bull Kelp dancing in the swell.
In the evening a small commercial fishing boat anchored next to us in the empty little cove. The two Kiwis aboard shouted for us to come over, and when we dinghied up they gave us two big snapper, saying they saw the US flag on the back of our boat and thought we might be hungry after sailing all that way. We offered to trade them some cold beer for the fish, but they insisted they couldn’t drink on the job so we brought them home made muffins early the next morning before they pulled anchor and went back out to sea.