Summer sailing in "Thetis" 87/88

Left Westhaven 11.38 a.m. Good S.W. wind with main up and No. 2 sail. On board, Peter (Skipper), Gael, (skipper's wife), and family: Andrew, Charles with his wife Karelia, and Sally.
Deep freeze and fridge packed with goodies, including three pieces of sirloin to be roasted a turkey and two chickens won at golf. Arrived Whangarei 9 p.m. anchored in Mcleods Bay, about twenty boats. Good still night, dropped a bag of nectarines through the inspection hole into the bilge, skipper surprisingly good about it.
Love the black cattle on the beach.

Left tenish and had a very pleasant sail with light winds from the east. Felt smug we had got up from Whangarei on the S.W. wind yesterday. Arrived Mimiwhangata about four ish. Had a much needed walk along the beach, really beautiful but a chilly wind, all fell out of the inflatable getting on to the shore, it's only just holding it's own due to persistent leaks. Great recriminations as to who should have got out first and hold the bow before the wave came over us.
Left a roast in the oven and returned to a delicious smell of roast beef. Found larger roasting pan this morning in the fruit locker. Bridge after dinner with usual foul play, hilarious laughter and very obvious cheating. Andrew and I won, gave Karelia a bridge lesson this morning, too nervous to play family bridge yet.

Calm night at Mimiwhangata, left for the store at Oakura Bay at 8.3O.a.m.need milk toothbrush and marmite. Motored across, very still and silvery sheen on the water.
All slathered in u.v. blocks etc. Last year Karelia got horribly burnt through all the sunscreen, this year she is wearing long white pants, those South Island skins.
Left Oakura Bay after another one of our shore reckkies. No petrol tins available, all the stores we have been to are clean and helpful, fewer people than usual. A very calm landing and a very wet take off, we arrived back on Thetis like three rather angry wet canaries, soundly berating those left on board who looked dry and smug.
Rounded Cape Brett after a very pleasant sail on eased sheets. Cape Brett rather muddy as usual with lots of tacking and a heavy tide running. Forgot toothbrush and posting mail at Oakura. They had fresh bread, cartons of milk and we got our air bottles filled for five dollars. Anchored in a bay off Urapukapuka Island. People camping on shore, nine yachts and one launch in bay. Andrew patching up the inflatable and Sally's flipper. Used the mustard pot for glue which I had decanted the marmelade into. The marmelade now in garlic jar. Garlic homeless. Get postcards.

Left Urapukapuka Island 9.3O. a.m after a good swim by nearly all on board. Lovely and warm. Sailed to Russell which was pleasantly busy, not crowded, and bought some stores, Petrol tin at long last, toothbrush ditto.
Posted mail and bought rather overdue Christmas presents in lovely art gallery, love their 'one-off' mirrors. Had lunch in a cafe, pleasant change, took a mini pizza back for Charles and then off up north.
Rather unpleasant wind on the nose and we anchored at the base of a cliff to let Andrew have a dive. Didn't enjoy seeing him surface near the cliffs and then disappear again for a long time. Swell surging in and out.
Returned to Whale bay in the entrance to the Bay of Islands. anchored and had a walk. Sally fishing, Karelia better after unfortunately consuming a bar of Kit-Kat on sloppy seas. Andrew down again, good sand bottom with nothing on it. Drinks in the cock-pit, why we have to go sailing to enjoy quiet evenings in the cock-pit I'll never know.

Waiting for Andrew to have another dive, we are off to Whangaroa Harbour and the northern end of the Cavalli passage. Had a slightly rocky night at Whale Bay. Line down but no fish.
Sailed around to Mahinpoua Bay in a S.W. wind. Had two lunches by the time we got there and went ashore for a gorgeous swim and explore. The bay we are in is a Reserve, no fires, no camping, and as we were the only people there it was very pleasant, water a bit colder.
Charles has developed an allergy to his sunscreen, the itching is intolerable. We have sprayed him and given him allergy pills. Don't want a repetition of Peter's crab allergy.
Written Xmas 'thank yous' on post cards of the Bay of Islands. Brilliant move, no paper or envelopes needed. This biro is much better it doesn't go through to the other side of the paper, I must hide it. Had a good clothes wash to day and everyone washed their hair for New Year's Eve, salt water shampoo surprisingly good.

New Year's Eve. Celebrated with roast turkey in oven bag, ratatouille, tomatoes going off, and tinned spongy puds. Charles not at all well with sunscreen reaction. Peter talked to Bill Coates on the radio who said to keep on with the allergy pills and keep out of the sun at all costs. Nothing to be worn round his neck. Karelia and I found his advice most helpful, He woke up this morning feeling much better.
Made another batch of scones while they ran themselves into complications of wharf and on-shore wind. Charles and Karelia got some stores, glad we got water yesterday, very long process with enormous catamaran filling up on three quarters of an inch hose for hours.
Even cane chairs on deck of catamaran. We think it must be a charter as we heard the captain's wife grizzling in the store, she spent one hundred and forty dollars yesterday and one hundred and twenty today. Hope they had better luck with milk than us, cartons make a big difference.
Andrew dived by a large island and we had gorgeous scallops for dinner, ratatouille made with cabbage and the last of the tomatoes. Enjoying Alison Holst's cookbook, all sorts of good ideas.
Off to see the Mills etc., quiet without Charlie on the radio. Anchored alongside Ranger on New Year's Eve/. still the old wooden blocks and kept as nearly as possible to original, older crew dying off and getting replaced.
Fishing boat alongside us at Totara North, wish I'd interviewed him. Long line and millions of hooks on it. Don't see why it doesn't all get hopelessly tangled, Peter says it's because he's not like me. The schnapper get sent to Japan.

Left Whangaroa Harbour this morning. Farago, Fireball etc. moving on too. Sailed in good winds, thirty knots round Cape Kari Kari to the bay. Went ashore and got tuatua. had lovely scampers on the beach, collected firewood for future b.b.q.s, God willing, and now off to Houhora, hoping to get a good anchorage to night.

Well, well, well, like Wells Fargo we got through. The winds became stronger so we put into Kari Kari for lunch. Beautiful beach and quarter of a bucket of tuatua. Left there and found very strong winds, S.W. gusting to 3O knots.
Karelia lent me her meditation tapes, when it said to lie down quietly and relax as you listen I laughed hollowly, the thought of the woodland streams did help a bit. We finally made beautiful Houhora Harbour, cattle grazing down to the water's edge, like a lovely English park.
Took the waterway to the left and landed on a sandbank, bit embarrassing but the boys rowed two anchors out, one of which proved to be no use, and Peter winched them onto the capstan. The C.Q.R. held. After two hours and help from another boat we came off. Just in time as high tide was nearly due and we didn't want to be stranded there all night. They told us a nasty story of one boat caught on that sandbank and as the tide got higher the boat tilted and filled with water.
Charles and Karelia's bridge coming along very well. Nice dinner, pork chop casserole, rice beans and carrots and finishing up with Xmas Cake.

Had a very pleasant day in Houhora Harbour, any port in a storm, rowed over to the camping ground and were lucky enough to arrive just as five Fullers coaches were pulling out. Saw over the Wagner Museum which was very interesting, from evacuations on Mt. Camel to slides of Japan in the early l900s. Loved these, you put the slides in a pair of wooden binocular frames and saw the two pictures come to-gather with a 3D effect. Japanese maidens walking through Iris gardens, or sitting a verandah framed with Wisteria, loved especially a "Maple Viewing' with three old men sitting on the floor of a wooden roofed corridor perched over a maple growing out the side of the cliff.
Andrew, Charles, Karelia and Sally went on a fruitless two and half-hour hike looking for takeaways. They came back ravenous, we had a very pleasant late afternoon tea with the boat to ourselves. had a look at Parengarenga, nearly caught on the bar again, not without some strong words, all left looking rather startled.
Karelia has given me atavan, I feel drowsy and totally relaxed.
Went right up to the wharf keeping green makers on the right. We wandered up channels that looked very like parts of Australia, with low rounded rocks on to the water's edge. Children swimming and bigger boats in the deeper channels. Lots of sandbanks with birds on them, I have never seen so much shellfish, cockles in the estuary and tuatua on the ocean beach.

Charles and Karelia went off by rubber dinghy and caught a taxi from Houhora. Had a pleasant day yesterday, saw over the old Subritsky homestead, built of rubble-fill and plastered with lime from crushed seashells. Lovely picket fence around it and old-fashioned garden. Had a game of golf, very tricky course with hidden swamps. The others got big tuatua off the ocean beach. Had a nice roast of lamb in an oven bag, potatoes likewise. Got washing dry and had a big tidy up for the Lloyds who are due to come on the ninth to Maunganui.
Sailed to Cape Kari Kari, good easy sail, and landed at Whataru Bay, golden sand, no houses and pinky golden water. We had a barbecue on the beach. Peter made an excellent stove with a few stones and the oven rack. Sausages, bread and butter and hot potatoes, potatoes not quite cooked, raw fish salad to start with. When we left the beach dolphins followed our rubber dinghy and played around us in the bay, one pushed a lump of seaweed around with it's nose. This morning woke up to a calm sunny morning so had a swim and washed my hair.
The engine started to belch out smoke so we have been busy with it ever since. Sailed down to Maunganui and Peter and Andrew with heroic effort got it out and now we are in bits. Floor boards up etc. and it's very very hot. Nice takeaways ashore, twelve dollars fifty for four people, really hot pineapple fritters.
Maunganui is a hot busy rural town at this time of the year. The grocery shop is an old house built on piles over the water. Someone caught a striped marlin today, lots of schnapper coming off the fishing boats, the pub looked rather rough.

Still in lovely Whateru Bay on the Kari Kari peninsula. Brilliant sunny morning and the girls are playing on Matthew Llyods windsurfer. Ali and Andrew are doing the dishes with Jo on deck. Spent the last two nights here after the Lloyds me us at Maunganui. Bit dramatic as the fisherman at the wharf didn't get their lines in time and one got wound around the propeller, meanwhile we were loading beer and groceries under rather baleful glares. Found Maunganui very pleasant in spite of the last minute hassles and thank goodness the engine is working. Sally loves having Belinda on board and I'm giving Ali bridge lessons. Andrew is enjoying the Lloyds wind surfer and it's ideal conditions to learn in.

Taemaro Bay last night, stony beach and quiet night. Walked up the hill and took photos and collected stones that Jo was convinced came out of a Moa's gizzard. Made a nice little 'extra' for Belinda's birthday.

Waimatara bay and Belinda's l4th birthday. Out of toast bread and tinned fruit. Jo went diving and got five crayfish, boiled them in salt water, white wine, lemon juice and peppercorns. Had a birthday dinner for Belinda last night, sat in the cockpit eating crayfish and avocado pears. Roast chicken for dinner, boiled potatoes, beans and courgettes. Spongy puds. with a lighted match on each one, very effective. Hot at dinner but had a peaceful mild night.

At the Cavallis, the most beautiful bay and the water a deep clear green. Anchored in twenty feet of water. Sally and Belinda snorkled and played with the wind surfer. Matthew and Joe went around the corner in the rubber dingy and got a lovely big cray. Ali and I swam into shore and lay on the small hot stones, felt rather like a beanbag.
Crayfish salad for dinner got the cooking down to a fine art, fifteen minutes in boiling water.
We're anchored in Hamururu Island bay. Last night a land breeze got up from the S.E. and Peter had to have an anchor watch. The night seemed very long. Jo pulled the net in this morning got a couple of little trevalli, motu and a parrot fish, fish for lunch.
Off to the Bay of Islands to day, put Andrew off at Whangaroa, he's going to take the Lloyd's car back.

Bay of Islands, Urapukapuka Bay, very quiet and a good night. A few people sailing and camping on the shore by a loading race. Dying to get to Russell but unfortunately it's Sunday.
Sailed down to Matapouri Bay, arrived there at seven forty. Dave and Karen coming here for their honeymoon. A long sail. A following wind with a swell, rather wished I hadn't had wine and crayfish for lunch. Came down below and rested, Ali gave me her seasick wrist bands, don't think they worked.
Ali's coming on well with her bridge hands. Joe put out the net but didn't get anything. Sarah Lloyd's l6th birthday, she's in Tokyo.

Out to the Poor Knights at 7.3O a.m. arrived 9.3O a.m. What a beautiful place and what a beautiful day.
Went into the Nursery Cove after seeing the Rikoriko cave, we went in on the rubber dingy and the cave opens up into an enormous vaulted cavern. Beautiful colours after the eye has become accustomed to the gloom, pink at water level, greens and creams moving up to the ceiling. A few hanging ferns and very very quiet. The rest of the family went into the nursery pool and floated around snorkeling and feeding the fish with kina, sea eggs. It was wonderfully clear with beautiful green pools over the white sand. Another family is snorkeling.
Jo took me on the surfboard for a private viewing and snorkel. It was fascinating and so warm. Came back on the back of the board, eat your heart out Malibu.
Off to the Hen and Chickens, very gentle sail and very hot. Saw Mao Mao schooling but whenever we got close they dived. The sea was boiling with them. I gather they can't resist a tuatua on a small hook.
Spent the night in South Cove on Lady Alice Island. Unfortunately I read the chart which said a S.W. gets up at about l.a.m. and you can move to Boulder Bay. Not my idea of bliss. Of course it didn't get up, waste of a sleepless night.
Joe put the net out and got 3O fish.
Next morning gale warnings and the prospect of a swift ride back. We lost the windsurfer after the first ten minutes but Joe stripped, jumped in and rescued it.
The winds got stronger and we were goose-winged, wind from the north, luckily made sandwiches earlier on.
Wind gradually moved, gusting S.W. 3O knots. I didn't enjoy it one bit. Ali and I insisted they put their safety harnesses on. Saw the other yachts sail off to the shelter of Kauwau but no such luck for us. Put soothing music on and hoped for the best.
We did arrive, once again in record time. Had dinner with all the delicious leftovers. Cold crayfish, rockmelon and a nice casserole Ali made.
Packed up and at long last lovely dry land. The Lloyds went home and we went to the flat, Simon and Sarah there, miraculously tidy.

Sailing with Thetis l99O

Set off yesterday afternoon, S.W. wind about l5 knots, no. 2 sail and the main up.
Next time I think I'll try and catch the boat at Islington bay, there always seem to be teething troubles. Got the boat filled with diesel and set sail only to find the battery was dicey. Went back and tied up alongside a jetty, not an easy task as we are all rather green at that job and apt to throw the line without attaching one end.
Ali, Clare, Belinda and Sally all very brave at jumping on and off Thetis with mooring ropes in hand.
A really good sail down to Kauwau, arrived about 9.lO p.m. with dinner on the way.
A good night's sleep and swim in the beautiful Green Bay for Belinda, Sally and Joe. A quick sketch of a boathouse cum living house, pine trees up behind, with the sun on them, very pretty, Kauwau not very crowded.

We are in the Marotiri Islands, a good night, rather rocky to begin with , a S.W. wind.
Arrived here about 6.p.m. after a slow hot sail from Kauwau. We all had sleeps on and off and then stopped for at dive at the main island.
The water was the most beautiful teal colour, Belinda rowed our bright red inflatable above Joe as he dived for our dinner. He caught 3 lovely crayfish, which we boiled up in salt water for dinner.
Clare made a scrumptious salad, and with hot boiled potatoes and carrots, a most delicious dinner.
The girls put down their lines after dinner and each caught a fat wriggly little Mau-Mau breakfast.
We saw a very large Kingfish swim past but he didn't like the lure we dangled over the side , after more genuine prey.
Hoping to hear the wonderful dawn chorus that we remembered from last year but when I woke up all I heard were rather grumpy baby sea birds wanting breakfast. A few other songs but the S.W. wind must've taken the best away.
Reading a most lovely book that Sally has finished about American Indians and a captured white child. Very interesting.
Ali and Belinda have shown an interest, feigned?, in bridge lessons , so when we have motored around to the calmer Northern side lessons will commence.
Great putting on of sunscreen. Saw Brett in 3 Guys the other day, he is really burnt after a day on the water. Didn't seem over enthusiastic about my raw tomato, de-seeded, remedy for his bad sunburn.
We have all, even the skipper, had lovely swims. Not too cold and a gorgeous silky salty feeling to the skin, it must be very healthy.

One of those days that makes sailing very attractive. Picked our way through 'foul ground' and landed up on the northern side of the Hen and Chickens. After a potter around some of the inlets we ended up in Boulder Bay. Eventually four other yachts and a fishing boat with arms out the side, it looked very like a grasshopper at rest, landed up in our bay.
Fabulous snorkeling and swimming in the crystal clear water. The girls floated over a stingray and Ali saw an enormous porcupine fish glaring out of the seaweed at her.

Belinda's sixteenth birthday, and Sally slept in the cockpit under the stars last night. The first birthday eve. it hasn't rained on them.
We are in Teroa bay, another beautiful,quiet, people free bay the other side of Whangamumu. The water is a soft yellow
Now forty-five Nautical miles from Boulder bay and we got here in record time. A strong S.W. wind twenty five knots we just had the mainsail and the yankee up. It was too fast for me to write this diary up so I had a lovely read about the American Indians. Sad to think the way they had adapted over the centuries to living off the land and to have their way of life altered so quickly. Great storing of dried meat and fruits, often mixed, for the winter. The gathering and treating of skins for clothes , tepees and bedding. We had a gorgeous swim when we got here d Ali and I lay on the hot sand while the girls found a fresh water stream and a hot water salt pool to wash their hair and bathe in. Clare went on a big mussel hunt and Joe gathered some too. Dinner! The stove is playing up with the kerosene burners not working properly.
Off to meet Andrew at Opua and swap over with Joe. Sarah will be at Opua for her birthday on Thursday, Ali's bought a plum pudding in case we don't see land.
Gave myself Vita Sackville-West's garden book for Chirstmas. I'm sure it was meant for someone else but luckily seemed to be over at the end of present wrapping. A bit like Digby Law's cookbook, a must.
She has three or four principles to garden by. The first was to get rid of anything that displeased with her, out with that wisteria that's lifting the paving, the second was to let plant seeds come up in their natural way, plants falling over paths etc. third, there must be a seasonal plan and a colour plan. Very interesting.

A long haul up to the Bay of Islands and then right into Opua. Very large boats come into the Opua wharf as there is a deep-water channel up to it.
Opua Wharf is spectacular with two levels, freshwater and diesel available. Once ashore a tiny wharf town, post office , general store, beautiful restaurant and takeaways.
The car ferry leaves every ten minutes or so for the other side and then a nine kilometre drive to Russell, cutting off a long haul around the swampy end of the bay.
The restaurant is first class with a glass plate in the floor for fish viewing, not hard when the whole building is positioned over the sea. A dinghy and drawbridge hanging, a mock sail loft, menu written on the side of the dinghy. Tiny bar tucked in the corner. Store very clean and stocking all lines, love the bare floorboards and coolness, a six mile drive to Paihia.
Went over to Sam and Chris Ludbrook's for the day. They live in a lovely seventy year old house that was re-built after a fire. Sweeping views up the Pahariki valley. They run it as a tourist Home Stay. A dear old New Zealand couple were staying there, he was retired judge recovering from an operation. I think they loved the peace and Chris's beautiful meals, morning, noon and night.
Chris has local artists' pictures on the walls and she often has art exhibitions there which makes it even more interesting.
Trying to get to the dentist. I would break a filling, it will hold us up. He can fix it at eleven to-morrow morning.
A beautiful calm sunny day, used the card for the new card phone system, very good, you just stand there and push a card in and it automatically deducts. There was fourteen cents left from the last call, I should have used that but maybe you can't.
Russell has historic tours on the hour , have offered to send our whole family on one, Sally wants the money instead.
Now in a bay on Roberton Island, fabulous, limpid water, actually quite a bracing limpidity, and you can see right down to the bottom. We had the most wonderful swims with great hair washing with salt water shampoo.
Belinda and Sally have been free diving at thirteen feet, and collecting scallops of the ocean floor. We have got our Bill Hoehepa book out to measure them, at least four inches, and Noel Holmes on how to cook them, the simpler the better.
Clare busy chopping and grating etc., very luxurious sitting in the cockpit being waited on, like a luxury cruise.
Went out to Bird Rock at Cape Bret, managed to anchor in forty two meters, the water sucking back and forth over a shelf of rock attached to it. Not mad on seeing Sally pop over the side for her first real sea dive and Andrew did admit afterwards it perhaps wasn't the easiest place for a beginner. Anyway she managed very well and Andrew was impressed by the way she must've been taught.
About six yachts anchored here, and their people scampering over the island. A lovely patch of orange-red up in the bush will have to investigate.
Off to the dentist, yuck, N.W. winds to-morrow and a splatter of rain so we are making the most of the sunshine.

Off to Russell this morning, dentist I'm afraid. Luckily the weather has deteriorated and we can have a good explore in Paihia and Russell, and even a cup of coffee in a cafe.
Historic tour still on, Sally has given in with good grace, after quite a bit of pressure.
Roberton Island was beautiful, the crew had a good run shore with Andrew climbing up perilous cliffs.
Still enjoying my book 'Ride the Wind', so sad to think how the tribes were ruined by civilisation, they had adapted wonderfully to living off the land, small-pox and cholera wiped out whole families which were the backbone of the tribe.
A lovely dinner with an entree of the fattest scallops, quickly fried in butter, two each, then roast beef and vegetables in an oven bag gravy and coleslaw. Delicious. Andrew is really worried he'll never be able to have a proper scallop feed, they will just be handed out in delicate amounts.
My arms are lumpy from Le Tan, so will have to switch sunscreen. Done some more washing, how to get it dry.
We keep seeing flags with a gold lion on a blue background, can't believe we are being followed around by Royalty, will keep my eyes skinned in Russell.
A lovely day of catching ferries to and fro from Pahia to Russell. Found the dentist, caught the ferry over to Paihia, asked a nice elderly woman the way, she was so concerned she practically dropped everything to give me a lift. Luckily only a brisk five minute walk along the seashore and arrived, soaking, half an hour early. Caught up with some really nice recipes and gardening hints. The dentist was very quick, gentle and efficient. Going home to re-vamp ours. He even put ointment in my gum so I wouldn't feel the prick of the needle. He said he had been worried it was going to be a terrible job and he sees mostly horrific situations through the holidays, patched me up and sent me laughing on my way.
Had a potter around Paihia. Stocked with tourist goodies. Every one is extremely friendly, Clare and I arranged to meet at the bookshop but of course she forgot and waited at our first arranged meeting place for half an hour. The bookshop owner was looking at me rather strangely after going through his bookshelves five times.
Over to Russell again on a really funny little blue ferry, you have to make a bit of a leap on and off, and we got a bit wet sitting there. How ordinary it would be if there was a bridge between Paihia and Russell.
All met for lunch at the Verandah Cafe. Some of us had Mexican Style meals, I had chilli con carne with apple on the top, the others had nachos.
Went to the Craft Gallery, Clare bought a very interesting oil, Ali a print and I bought some hand blown blue wine glasses with yellow blobs of glass on the side. all had to be couriered home.
Ali and I had a cup of coffee and a slice of the most delicious apple cake. I would love to have the recipe, it's a much finer texture with I'm sure ground almonds in it and apples and dates in the middle. One dollar twenty cents a slice, we had half each. Unfortunately Clare walked past and saw us sitting up and enjoying the said coffee and cake. She swooped in laughing and had a bite of our delicious cake.
The fattest sweetest scallops, we had our fill lightly fried in butter. Sally has just surfaced with another haul of scallops. Another beautiful meal, luckily we brought plenty of homegrown lemons.
Bad forecast, very strong seas and winds up to thirty five knots, can't understand how we're not raring to go out in them.
Clare is doing the scallops everyone has their own theory about opening and cooking them.

Sarah Llyod's l8th birthday, still busy working at the store in Opua so her family are thinking of her but not seeing her today.
Slurping round Cape Brett in a S.W. two knot wind, one point five metre swells and overcast.
Stayed in Urapukapuka Bay all yesterday and last night, overcast and raining on and off with very strong seas outside. The Bay of Islands must be the loveliest place in the whole world to sail in. A sweeping statement but the water is so clear and deep to within a foot of all the lovely little beaches around the islands.
Birds flitting through the trees and walks with maps and signs on Urapukapuka .We met one poor family that had taken a little five and a half hour scamper following the map.
They were very hungry but had five schnapper they couldn't wait to get back to their camp to breadcrumb and fry.
Barry, Jocelyn and Russell were camping on the foreshore, trifle damp, but very hardy. They left their car in Rawhiti and sailed across in their open sailing dingy with equipment and stores. They came out for a cup of coffee after dinner. It was fun to have them sitting in our cockpit. Russell was enjoying the company of the other campers and getting in some snorkeling, Jocelyn had boiled up a fish head for dinner, very hardy. We enjoyed the walk over the island, surprisingly steep on the other side with wild dark cliffs above wild dark little coves.
Kumera storage pits on the warm slopes and tops of the island. Water laid on but no other facilities.

In Tauwhare Bay, around the corner from Whangaruru and the other corner from Mimiwhangata. Had a good quiet sail, overcast but not unpleasant. This is the prettiest little bay, three sandy beaches and a farm running down to the water's edge. Shags roosting in the trees and a purple yacht and one other beside us.
Good stores at Whangaruru but low on fruit. We all got rather wet coming back, a few murmurs about hot baths, which upset the skipper somewhat. luckily we have plenty of hot water. It's amazing how quickly the water heats just through having the engine on every now and then.
Clare has gone for a row to take a photo of Thetis in this lovely little bay. We are getting very spoilt with all the meals being prepared and served by her. Even scallop entrees. Peter being a wee bit strange about use of water again but Ali was allowed a bowl of warm water to rinse her hair in. Belinda's School Cert. marks were an amazing six A. ones.
I'm still a bit stiff after our stroll over Urapukapuka, no wonder it takes sailors awhile to adjust to land again, you obviously don't use your leg muscles.

Peter standing in our hatchway watching Rory Moore get ready to go. Here she comes, it's pouring and they have the windscreen wiper going, a most beautiful new yacht with all the latest equipment, glad to have the radar today I gather. It's really WET and misty. The girls are making a lovely stuffing of apricots, breadcrumbs and onions, the chicken is thawing.
fun B.B.Q. on the waterline last night. The chops, Te Kauwhata's best, were delicious. The fire was only glowing embers and the chops were brown on the outside and pink on the inside. We sat on plastic bags with newspapers inside. Belinda was full of girl-guide tricks like building the fire on a bed of shells.
We loved the bird life. Coal black oyster-catchers with bright red beaks, two pairs, and a couple of dotterels, very worried as we walked along the beach, flinging themselves in front of us and running off with simulated broken wings dragging in the sand, Great actors. Their nest must've been very close for them to put so much effort into it.
The nests would be impossible to find, we could only see the dotterels when they moved, they blended into the stones, seaweed and sand completely. Good walks over the farm and steep cliffs to see what was over the other side. What a wonderful reserve for the public. I think the boating public would use it the most, no camping, but a fresh water tap under the pohutakawas and a plaque to show that the Queen and Prince Philip and Charles and Anne picnicked under the trees several times, off the Royal Yacht Britannia.
Great fun after the B.B.Q. We saw the Mills in a red dingy come ashore with their patent smoker, meths and sawdust and an upturned tin sink, plus kawhawai to be smoked. Only took fifteen minutes The Mills are marvelous at living off the sea, even had brown sugar to sprinkle over the kawhawai. It was delicious. I put some tiny cat's eyes on top of the upturned sink, surprisingly like snails, needed the garlic butter to round them off.
Clare's swum ashore for exercise, we are going to get her to do all sorts of jobs when she comes back, it's too wet for us to go outside.

Just heard the radio, it's Sunday. Thought it was Thursday. No mention of The Games so presume they 're proceeding well.
Sun, sun, sun, also quite a stiff little southerly. Up goes the Main and No. two. Think another day in the rain would've been very trying. The tea towels were grotty. Had a good boil up this morning and they are out in the breeze, we have all changed into clean clothes, a great morale booster.
We had a very unsettled night with the boat swinging and sliding around. But have been in worse positions. It's funny how much worse it is at night, is it because you can't see out or because you are lying there talking to yourself.
Lots of card games. Andrew lost at vingt-et-un and had to do a big pile of dishes. Lovely roast chicken, won at golf by the skipper, and fresh veges. Topped off by a plum pudding served with a custard Belinda made, standing a glass jar in a pot of hot water, quite time consuming she said, it took half an hour.
A nice game of bridge in the afternoon.
Andrew went for a long snorkel and Clare swum ashore and ran along it. She said it's so much easier when you are really cold.
One of the batteries has gone so we have no light and water has to be pumped, minor hardships.

Lazing around in Port Fitzroy on Great Barrier Island. A long sail, left at nine and dropped anchor at seven thirty p.m. S.W. winds about seventeen to twenty-one knots, quite a swell but a close reach, and as they say a swift passage.
I was tired from the rough night, so lay below reading, also don't like looking at the nasty waves etc.
Nagle's bay is gorgeous; a couple of small colonial type houses, very sheltered. About five other boats, one is a catamaran, a man, wife and three young children aboard. Ali and Sally rowed over in the evening and had a chat. They were off to Auckland, they must be very brave, no heads, no galley, they cook meals on the platform between the pontoons. Hope they have a safe passage back, the wind is quite strong.

Cleaning up preparing to disembark. Clean clothes are coming to light and the stove is looking very clean.
Still at Great Barrier in Kaiarara Bay, we all had a long walk up to the Kauri dams, over pebbly rivers and up gorgeous paths, through native bush with a lot of Nikau palms. The stronger members of crew ran on, Andrew even making it to the top Kauri dam, a good four and three quarter hour walk and run for him. Glad I'd decided to stay at the lower level, Ali kindly kept me company. Interesting to chat to different people on the track. Two long-legged boys came along at a great bat and their long-legged father brought up the rear. He was amazed his boys were lolloping along so well, 'they're usually sitting in front of the T.V.,' We agreed it was amazing.
Clare has been marvelous cooking all our meals, making little cups of tea, preparing cocktail goodies and pre-lunch snacks. Very lucky. Seem to remember her glued to the T.V. when she was a teenager so maybe it all comes right if you wait long enough.
Scallops for dinner, last night. Not the fat beauties we had in the Bay of Islands.
Clare is having a wonderful tidy, going through the bookshelves and donating read and re-read ones to the Fitzroy library.
Off to rescue a b oat stranded in low water, a very big yellow yacht.
Oven bags still as wonderful as ever. Looking forward to seeing my pear tree, I don't think they will be ready yet. Nothing nicer than home bottled pears.

Summer Sailing with Thetis 90/91

Boarded at one p.m.
A very lazy, laid back morning with no sign of the skipper
It turned out he found the compressor wasn't working so there was an hour and a half's work on it, no deep freeze is a real nuisance.
Clare, Sally, Andrew , Penny Micklethwaite from Yorkshire, Peter and I, are on board.
All went well and began to think it was going to be a really quiet getaway , when we found all the dairy food, milk, cottage-cheese , special cheeses , were missing. Andrew put them in the boot of his car and took it home and never gave the food in the boot another thought. So back to his house in a taxi. Meanwhile Sally lost her wallet with all her important documents in it, luckily she had given it to Peter and had forgotten.
A really good sail down to Leigh. Calm waters and a fair breeze. South-west winds, six and a half knots and a reach. Arrived about eight fifteen and had dinner, potatoes and carrots cooked in Andrew's new pressure cooker, cold turkey, marrow and tomatoes. Very nice. Think we have left the Christmas Cake and panneforte behind.
So pretty here with ducks swimming around the boat and lots of other boats anchored in the harbour, but not crowded. Lunched here.
It's lovely to have Clare with us, Charles said they are the only couple in the whole of New Zealand apart over the holiday season!
Sailing North.

A quiet day in Leigh Harbour, sleeping, walking, reading.
Waiting for the wind to change to the South -West. There was talk of sailing all night but luckily the wind held to the North and they went to sleep.
Clare asked me twice if she should put salt with the noodles which I thought was strange, what she was asking was should she cook them in sea water! They were almost non edible.
Andrew says we are coming up to Sail Rock and to have a good look at it. I have told him I am not the slightest bit interested in nasty rocks, he says it's not a nasty rock but a straight up and down one. A rock is a rock.
Penny has been sick, unfortunately not in a bowl. Andrew very kindly cleaned it up with great lashings of disinfectant.
It was very pleasant having breakfast in bed, reading and watching everyone else being busy. Ate my long hoarded chocolate brioche out of a brown paper bag. For the next hour I lay there pretending I was in hospital. Very relaxing.
We have arrived, at long last, what a long sail. South-West winds, force five, twenty one to twenty five knots. Penny was sick on the tomatoes and all down her jersey. She went up top and was much happier; we gave her little drinks and salt biscuits during the day.
Peter, Sally and Penny saw a whale, they think it was a whale blowing. Patches of sea birds working and dolphins following our boat.
We didn't have to tack once, so it meant those that slept could do so without changing sides. I read three-quarters of a very interesting book. 'Jig-Saw', a Christmas present, previously read we think, we always love our well read books we get every Christmas. Next year we are planning on doing the same.
We are in Mahinepua Bay in the Cavaliis, south of Whangaroa.

Happy New Year.
Spent last night in Whangaroa Harbour. Came in and saw the Leylands on Magnum 44. Tied up alongside them and shared their scallops, our kina, our pasta and their salad. A most beautiful evening, the moon lit up the enormous rock faces of the cliffs around this arm of Whangaroa Harbour.
Their crew borrowed our tender to go to Kingfish Lodge for the evening. They have a Canadian girl called Sue, on board with them. She has 'goals' and when she has achieved a 'goal' she kicks it off and tries another one. Sailing was her first 'goal' so she has had lessons with Penny Whiting and now races on the Harbour every Wednesday evening, must ask her her next 'goal'.
We played Pictionary which is a really good game. You have to draw what is written on the card you throw a dice for. It really makes you think about communicating quickly with a drawing.
Off up the hill for a walk.
Fruit Ice Cream.
2 eggs separated.
1 cup cream
quarter cup sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
Cup fresh fruit puree.
Beat egg whites till stiff and pearly.
Whip cream well.
Beat egg yolks with sugar until fluffy. Fold all together, add fruit puree, dash of rum, and freeze four hours. Found this in a magazine.
Left Whangaroa Harbour.
Got stores at Totara North. Sally got scallops behind Peach Island. We'll have them for dinner. A very lazy sail up to Waimhana Bay. It's so pretty here, one house on the shore and a red bus. Very quiet.
Penny would like to take some drawings back to England so will do one of this bay. Love the red bus.
Reading Beth Chatto, the famous English gardener and garden writer. Very interesting. She writes about her day to day life in her very big garden, she also runs a nursery, and staging a stand at the Chelsea Flower Show. It takes months to get the plants ready, pulling them in and out of different tunnels and shade houses so that each plant will be at it's best for the three day show.

Whataru Bay
Left Waimahana Bay about 2.p.m.
Had a beautiful B.B.Q. with Magnum 44 last night. A most gorgeous quiet sandy beach with clear deep water almost to the shore.
Brian built a fire at the bottom of the cliff and we had an entree of scallops, entrée of barbecued crayfish and a main course of yellow tail baked whole with fresh herbs and securely wrapped in foil. All very delicious. Magnum brought steak along, I was dying for some but they obviously missed the longing look in my eye. I thought they might have tossed a nice gristly bit to their dog, but no.
A swift sail on a strong south-westerly gusting to twenty eight knots. The rubber dinghy blew upside down and the seat had to be rescued. Andrew went out on a line picked up the seat squashed it in place and firmly sat on it. Luckily the oars were fixed.
Did a picture for Penny of Waimahana Bay. A pohutakwa flowering in one corner helped.

Spent the night at Whataru Bay. Windy when we got there, had dinner and an early night. Peter was left sitting in front of an opened game of pictionary, the timer standing at the ready and we were all tucked up our bunks reading.
Penny took a Sea-Leg as she didn't want to feel ill in the night. She was very quiet for the next eighteen hours. Peter and Andrew went off for an early morning fish. They were followed by enormous bottle-nosed dolphins, some with babies at foot {fin), we sat on deck and watched them leaping into the air.
Sally swam to shore and came back frozen. She wore Clare's felted jersey and thick longs for the rest of the day.
Sailed off to Houhora and there was Charles waiting on the bank. He had had a long day flying to Auckland and driving up to meet us. He was laden with gorgeous smelling rockmelon and one large watermelon. Charles and Clare went ashore and bought more vegetables and fruit.
Houhora is a most interesting harbour with the Wagner Museum, Subritzky homestead.
And a golf course. Mount Camel is on the other shore and there is quite a rip as the tide goes in and out.
We are now parked outside the harbour entrance next to a mussel farm. Andrew and Sally dug for tuatua under a shell bank. They were quite big with a dusting of black on the shell.

We are off the northern tip of New Zealand, I don't dare look at the map, I feel we are about to sail right off the end and never see land again.
Spent last night tucked in by a mussel farm at the mouth of the Houhora Harbour, very windy and I awoke in the night feeling a bit dizzy as we swung round and round.
Looked at the mussel buoy shining in the moonlight.
We soaked two half buckets of tuatua overnight and hung a bag of mussels over the stern.
Took the dingy and outboard ashore this morning for a long long walk. I lay under the pohutakawas.
Unfortunately as we pushed off Peter reversed into a rock and the engine stopped. I could see us living out a very quiet nomadic existence till the next boat came along. The skipper impressed us all by running repairs with the aid of two rocks. I watched closely as he removed a split sort of hairpin, then another part and then he fished out a broken brass rod. He lifted the lid of the engine and lo and behold there was a spare part. We were very impressed.
I can't wait for it to happen again. Just my luck to find us out of spare parts. It's even given me confidence to fix the car if it breaks down. I hope it's similarly put together.
The wind still in the west, Andrew said he saw the West Coast Ocean from the top of the hill No wonder I feel rather shaky. I like lots of land between the next ocean and me. They were really mean and said they had met a party of Nova Scotians eating sandwiches at the top, just to make me jealous.

Beautiful Beautiful Houhora.
Went up to Maukin's Nook. Thought we could stay the night there but after a three hour run we found the wind blowing in there strongly and unsuitable for anchoring. We went around the corner and saw a boat coming the other way looking for a night's shelter. We decided to go back to the mussel farm for the night.
A good run back with strong winds and a flattish sea. Penny seems to be able to withstand much colder conditions than us. Charles and Clare piled on jerseys and coats and the skipper got into his sea boots! They all had to be revived with choco-hot. Came back to a small bay just south of the mussel farm and Houhora Bay and spent the night there. Hot mussels on rice and salad, served with melted garlic butter, delicious.
Another spinning night but felt quite safe under the cliffs.
A good walk along the beach this morning, the colours are beautiful, pink cliffs, terracotta and grey sand, green water and squares of yellow light trellising the sea floor .
Had lunch, more tuatua fritters this time, and rice salad. Came back to the Houhora estuary as Charles, Clare and Penny had to get back to Auckland. Took them ashore and found a large team of oxen on show for visitors. Each beast must have weighed around a tonne and looked so docile in the large wooden yokes held together by chains. They certainly look a lot stronger than horses for pulling logs and heavy carts. If they get bit 'spooked' the young driver told me he just turns them around in a circle till they calm down.
Next we walked over to the Subritzky Homestead. One hundred and sixty years old and the first house on the peninsula.
The original roof was made of tarred sails, which lasted a long time. The house if made of tea-tree and rubble filling, wattle and daub. They got the rubble from Mount Camel.
There is a hidden staircase leading to a roof lookout and to keep the family safe from attack. The house has a very relaxing quiet feel about it and is almost as good as new. Kitchen, schoolroom, parlour and bedrooms all furnished as they would have been in those times.

Spent the night in Mahinepua.
Arrived here after a long sail in, would you believe, perfect conditions.
Dolphins played around the bow, enormous twenty foot ones, as they surfaced they blew water all over us. Sometimes they rolled sideways so they could have a really good look at us. Rather unnerving being surveyed by a large sideways looking dolphin.
It got very hot around mid-day. My hat blew off at Cape Kari Kari, it was so windless Peter popped into the rubber dinghy and rowed off to get it. Thetis quietly sailed on and a rather irate skipper finally caught up with us. Saying did we realise how fast the yacht was going, we thought he was enjoying the exercise.
Arrived here after an eight hour sail, had a swim, beautiful green water, then rowed ashore and pulled the rubber dingy well up. The little bay is a reserve for picnics. On one side is a sheltered little beach with sand and coloured stones, a two minute walk over a grassy saddle gets you on to a wilder coast beach. Grey pebbles and wilder seas.
I walked up the cliff path and sat under a pohutakawa because a bird was singing it's heart out. We were a couple of hundred feet over sheer cliffs above the water. He sang in such strange keys, sometimes like a squeaky violin, sometimes like a bellbird. I finally caught sight of him. It was a large tui with very ruffled feathers hopping from branch to branch and singing with his beak wide open. What a view, up to the Kari Kari peninsula and looking through a pohutakawa down to the sea. The tui suddenly flew off and landed on another pohutakawa down the steep slope. Then he took wing again around the sheer face of another cliff and out of sight. After about ten minutes another tui flew out of the tree I was sitting under and followed exactly the same path, stopping for a moment on the other pohutakawa too. Interesting to see other lives being lived alongside yours. Was it an evening's outing with a beautiful solo thrown in, or did it just happen at random?
Fried kingfish for tea, our radio contact, Bill Coates , sounded very envious, even asking how we were going to cook it. Peter had cooked roast potatoes in the oven, cut in quarters, so it was fish and chips for tea. Thank goodness I brought a box of lemons on board. Fish is not the same without them.
Off to the Bay of Islands. Sally and I want to catch the ferry to Paihia, and I am dying for a cup of coffee and a slice of apple-almond kitchen in that delicatessen. We are missing the others, what a shame to have such a perfect sail without them.

Arrived at the Bay of Islands yesterday afternoon. A twenty five knot wind northwest. Looked back as we were travelling and saw the inflatable dingy upside down in the water and a fair way off. The fixings for towing the dinghy had pulled off. Great excitement getting it back as the wind was strong. We dropped the headsail with Sally and me anchoring it by sitting on it so Peter could tie it up and then we motored over to the dinghy. By a stroke of luck we had hooked it on our lure. So Andrew very carefully brought it to the side of the boat and with the boat hook managed to right it and climb into it. He passed a spare floating rope through the front grab -lines on the dingy, all in a raging twenty five knot wind.
Sally nearly got pulled in by holding the line too short and as the boat rose on a wave she was pulled forward. I banged the front of my shin but put cold salt water on it and it is remarkably unbruised this morning.
Peter is now up top gluing new holdings on the dinghy for the rings the rope goes through.
Andrew was sick all night, we can't work out whether it's something he ate in Russell or a bug. Busy boiling tea towels etc. so we don't come down with it. It's amazing how much dirt comes out when you boil I must have boil ups at home.
Catching a seven fifty five bus tomorrow from Russell and going back to Auckland.
Had a slice of the delicious German apple and almond cake, the proprietor is German and makes them that morning. They taste so lovely and fresh. Eggs and butter and nothing artificial he tells me. I didn't like to ask straight out for the recipe but I think I'll know it when I see it.
It has quite a hard crust on the outside with a filling of chopped almonds and chopped apple. Last year I think the almonds might have been ground.
We all love Russell, it's still very picturesque and not over built like Paihia. Plenty of accommodation available and free Devonshire scones at Fuller's counter. Lots and lots of families popping on and off different ferries, some to Paihia and some out into the Bay.
We are now at Robertson Island with the lovely clear green water and the white sand.

Summer Sailing with Thetis 1993

Left Westhaven at 5 p.m.
Andrew, Clare, Sally and Belinda Lloyd arrived by taxi after the usual to-ing and fro-ing from the flat with the stores and equipment.
Belinda left her 'bun girl' run and they picked up Sally at the bottom of Quay Street. She got off work five minutes early.
It was very relaxing shopping with Clare and stowing the stores without the usual rush. Even had time for a quick sleep and a read. Bought three new books. I'm really enjoying The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway. Brought up on a sheep station in Western Australia in the thirties and forties. They are just moving into a five year drought.
We sailed down to Waiheke and anchored in Oneroa Bay. A strong south-west wind and the anchor wouldn't hold for awhile. Off to Great Barrier, should take about six hours.
Sally a bit off colour and lying down, Belinda very tired and asleep, Clare vaguely pregnant but allowed to do anything she would normally do her gynaecologist told her. Feel very spoilt when she is on board, she is so capable with the food.
Most of them had boiled eggs for breakfast, Peter was supposed to be timing but couldn't remember when he started. They took a wild guess it was seven fifteen not four minutes past seven and they were right.
Lots of fresh fruit and veges on board. Pegs seem to be the only thing we are a bit low on. No sign of the tender but I'm sure it's somewhere.
Should take six hours with the main reefed. Better wash the lettuce before we get underway. Andrew read us half a sermon for breakfast and Clare played us the first tape of the Mortimer books. Haven't caught up with the title yet. Andrew is keen on oil this year, has gone off brewer's yeast the year before last, and the pressure cooker last year. Drinking kiwi fruit juice too, must look for it in the freezer section of the supermarket.

Left Oneroa at 9.45 a.m.
Sailed on the mainsail, wind south-west , to Whangaparapara. The seas were sloppy with a two metre swell. One nasty jibe in mid-ocean. Luckily no one was standing up or they would have been killed. The boom shot across with a terrible bang.
Had a nice salad lunch at four in the afternoon after we had arrived. Nibbling fruit and biscuits during the day but no one felt like a meal. Lots of semi-comatose bodies draped around the cockpit.
Woke this morning it was calm and beautiful, it's amazing how weather conditions change everything.
We arrived in a really strong wind, dropped the sail and the engine wouldn't turn over. Bit of a panic as we were drifting towards the rocks in a strong wind. Luckily Peter shorted two wires together and got it going. Peter, Clare and Belinda went ashore in the inflatable to order another battery; the old battery seems to be working well, so now they don't know what to do with the new battery when it comes.
We caught three Kahawhai on the new lure, it looks very like a decoration off the Christmas tree. Pink and silver. We had raw fish cocktail with the evening drink. I don't really think Andrew should have left the fin on and put the roe in. They all seemed quite happy to nibble around red streaks, fins, etc.
The sea is so calm and Peter saw kaka flying around the beautiful bush. No possums on Great Barrier, I'm amazed no one has smuggled their pets over, what a blessing.

Clare is swimming and shouting how brave she is. We are anchored in Rangiahua Bay at Great Barrier.
A sloppy night with Thetis rolling from side to side. Very pretty here with the red and white cattle outlined on the skyline. Yellow hills, grey boulders and the odd Pohutakawa dotted around.
Two fishing trawlers came in to spend the night but were very quiet. Left the girls on the wharf at five thirty, both looking rested after their weekend at sea. Belinda has only fourteen more days at work. She is very excited. Sally is going home next weekend. I think it is to see Ted and Raffles. She has offered to water my garden, which is a help.
Lasagne for dinner to night. Peter thumped the casserole down so it has cracked across the bottom. We have very carefully lifted it off and washed the frozen mince. The splinters are deadly sharp.
Clare has finished her swim a little bit worried about shark attack as we threw a large ham bone over last night.
Did a quick sketch of the bay, must buy some pencils in the Bay of Islands.
I wonder what was rolling above our bunk last night. We couldn't track it down, it stopped when the wind changed. Peter took the torch up but couldn't find anything.

Anchored in Mimiwhangata.
Left Nagel Cove 6.45. a.m.
Rather an early start but we were glad, as it's a very long way. We were on a close reach with westerly winds going about eight knots. Quite hard to move around for awhile and Clare looked a bit green.
Tracked two hard-backed brushes in the locker. They must have got a roll on every time Thetis slopped from side to side.
Enjoying Clare's book by Henry James, a bit wordy but a really good story, it would make a wonderful play.
Mimiwhangata is so pretty. I'm glad it's a reserve. Lovely white sandy beaches, clear cold water. Gorgeous swimming. Cold when we first went in but used the salt water shampoo and had a good all-over wash.
Lovely dinner that Clare made. Italian beef stew, potatoes, carrots and courgettes.
Giving my bedding a good sunning.

Sitting very happily in the Bay of Islands. Urapukapuka Bay. About thirty campers on shore in the smartest tents, windows, awnings over the windows and even separate rooms.
We sailed up---Just given Andrew a lesson on putting potatoes in an oven bag to go with the roast sausages , mint and all.
We sailed up from beautiful Mimiwhangata at six thirty this morning. The sea got flatter and flatter and we motored around Cape Brett. I have never seen it in such perfect conditions . Tourist boats going through the 'hole-in-the rock'. Little yachts, small boats, and big boats, all sailing and motoring around the base like chickens around the legs of their mother. Motored through the Albert Passage to Urapukapuka. It's such fun seeing everyone enjoying the hot sun and lovely bay. Even a paddling pool down on the beach for someone's baby.
Things I've learnt.
Clare's nice spaghetti carbonara
Spray on hair protector with U.V.
Basil and fetta mixed to make a spread.
Basil and oil in ice cubes.

7.3O. a.m.
Spent the night in Pomare Bay. Lovely quiet night and the gales etc. forecast never eventuated. Had a delicious dinner at the Swordfish Club in Russell. Our favourite eating place. Raw fish, then turbot and spiced rice with cold duck. Had a pleasant day at Urapukapuka swimming and walking, then a slow sail up to Opua.
What a pleasant spot in January. Really hot and the most charming postmistress who looked up phone numbers for us and even carpet swept after we left.
Peter and Andrew parked alongside the Opua Wharf. A very steep climb up a vertical ladder. Luckily a local hauled me over the top or I'd still be there. I kept saying to him 'there's an expectant mother following' but Clare thinks he thought it was me. He lifted me very carefully over a concrete lip.
Bliss, bliss, bliss, took our week's washing to the little washroom and laundry by the wharf. A washing machine for white clothes and one for coloured things. It seemed to gobble up the half crown pieces, again the helpful postmistress, but worth every cent. Clare bought the new power scoop and it did a very good job. The drier was another matter. We pulled our damp warm washing out of it after an hour, luckily it was hot when we got back and we sun dried it.
Ali Lloyd arrived with Chris Ludbrook, she had come up and the stayed the night at Ohaewai with Chris. It's lovely to have Ali with us, laden with goodies as usual and her marvellous panneforte.
Off to Russell this morning, there's an antique shop there I am dying to see inside.
We peered through the windows last night. And the Art Gallery, it seems to have got smaller with more T. shirts and jerseys. A couple of Tom Burnett paintings in the window which look interesting. A lovely one of a little bay with a shed under the pohutakawa.
Arrived in Russell, looks flat and calm.
I hear on the radio that it's thirty five degrees in Christchurch and people are being advised to bath their newborn babies every hour to keep them cool. I hope Karelia's mother is listening.
A very warm swim before breakfast, it's funny how it always seems warmer when it's over-cast. I'm on anchor duty at the moment, they are ceaselessly circling looking for a place to anchor, roll on shore leave.

8.45. a.m.
Sitting in the cockpit of Thetis with Andrew and Clare cooking up evocative phrases for me to us to cover yesterday's expedition.
A very hot summer morning, we were woken by strong nudging and sucking noises, a bit like the quick short strokes of a rower. After awhile someone got up and whispered 'come up here' . Hoping to see a burglar getting away with something we shot up and there were five large kingfish under the inflatable dingy and banging it with their snouts. They looked like enormous carp feeding on goldfish food.
Andrew dangled a lure but they weren't interested. We got hotter and hotter so had lovely swims then lunch. The morning flies. After lunch we rested and slept then decided to go for a stroll. Well I'm not going strolling with them again. Why I didn't have a good long look at the promontory I don't know. The reef looked quite simple to start with and they kept saying around the next corner's that beach on our way home. After awhile the going got tougher and there were some very nasty bits to negotiate. Clare said Barney would have been proud of me. At one stage I had to throw myself into the sea below clutching my dark glasses and luckily wearing sneakers. The others clung onto Pohutakawa roots and inched themselves around cliff faces. Clare five months pregnant struck out from the reef and made for shore, but I kept to the reef. Even on the last little bit there was another impassable spot. I nearly cried. Luckily all's well that ends well and I only ended up with a blister from wearing wet sneakers.
We all felt quite virtuous when we got back after our three hour ordeal. I should have realised the promontory jutted a long way out into the sea before I followed them.
The most gorgeous day, people just sitting quietly on these lovely sandy beaches and the tui singing in the bush.
Went to our little store up in the Pohutakawa tree. There was a sad notice on the jetty, 'this store has been closed from January l4th by order of the Northern County Council' We asked some locals and they said a neighbour had complained because it was on a reserve. It's absolutely tiny like an ice cream booth, Set on a wooden platform in the roots of a pohutakawa hanging over a cliff.
Talked to the Maori owners of this bay. The woman had been watching a video on stingrays in the bay. Made my leaps into water around the reef all the scarier.
We plan to pick up Belinda, Joe and Sally at Great Barrier.

Moved to Moturua Island, Gorgeous golden sand. It's surprising the difference in the beaches. This sand is pure gold, like finely ground golden pumice.
Spent a very quiet night here. Yachts and launches arriving till quite late because of the forecast of very high winds. We battened down. Moved everything off the deck and let out more anchor chain.
Clare made us yummy corn beef hash with a hint of Tabasco.
Another good game of bridge, it's surprising how good everyone is getting with a little practise. Wish we could have a few golf swings.
All covering ourselves with sunscreen. I'm sure they are going to say it's been a complete waste of time in a couple of years, and that in fact sunscreens do more damage than the sun itself could do. A bit like eating margarine to lower cholesterol.
A big green and white yacht anchored beside us, little boys jumping off and swimming round and hanging onto the anchor chain.
Marion de Freene was killed and eaten here. Egged on to fish in a tapu fishing hole by his girl friend they all attacked him and killed him and his crew.
Clare and Ali have rowed off to board a fishing boat. Laden with plastic bags and coin purse they are hoping to buy some fresh fish. The boat was on its way out of the bay but they have stopped it.
Saw the dear little rubbish barge tucked around the corner, What a good idea.

Ali has just told us she has no recollection of her son Matthew's twenty first. She said Matthew told her she was handing around a plate with nothing on it, saying 'do have some more' he was very ashamed.
We are now in Tutakaka. We left Waipiro Bay at 8.p.m. this morning.
Had a good strong sail down the coast with gusts of thirty five knots.
Peter had to pull down the mainsail and we sailed on the number two most of the way. Corned beef and cold chicken curry sandwiches on the tilt. Very awkward using the heads with one foot down the valve hole, closed because of the angle we are on, and wedged against one side. Tutakaka loomed very pleasantly as we approached, Peter has taught me how to re-engage the prop mechanism, am feeling very au fait with the workings of the boat. If he had fallen off I would have started the engine and got no-where. I think he was a bit shattered when I told him that.
We used the inflatable to get up into the wharf area and had a nice walk to the store. A very good cup of coffee and apple cake and lemon meringue pie at a Mexican style café. A potted banana palm was the only snag as one of the large leaves draped itself between me and the food and there was no way of getting around it. Still a strong wind whistling around.

Sitting in the cockpit enjoying the sun at Nagel Cove on Great Barrier.
Left Tutakaka at 8.3O.
Very uncomfortable to begin with, lumpy seas and the boat rather headed by the winds, south-west, which was not good for Barrier.
Clare felt seedy and it was so unpleasant Peter put the engine on and we had a much smoother passage. After lunch the wind became more westerly and the sea flattened and life was a lot more bearable. It's not much fun sitting in the cockpit and water coming down the back of you, wetting the squabs and carefully folded washing etc.
Got into Nagel Cove about six thirty. Had a lovely row around a small island, very pretty with clear clear water. I rowed around the island while they walked over it. Clare made us a very nice dinner, boeuf provencale marinated in wine for two days.
There has been a dog barking for twenty four hours wish they'd let them off. It's very nice to be over here.
Loved the couple in the runabout next door. She was a large Continental woman who sat on the bow heaving the anchor up and shouting instructions at 'Richard' over her shoulder. He had the last say by shouting, 'go straight ahead' as she pulled manfully on the anchor.

Tryphena Great Barrier
Can't believe it's February already. Sitting in the cockpit at 5.2O.p.m.
The girls, Sally l8, Belinda l9, are listening to a tape of Tess of the D'urbvilles. Hoping to be a jump ahead for their English papers when they go back to their second year of University. Both are going into flats and are like two little squirrels accumulating anything that's going. So far Sally has a grater, the promise of a large egg whisk, old curtains and an old vacuum cleaner of Clare's.
We have had the most terrible winds here and have been very lucky to be well anchored in this southwest corner of Tryphena.
We haven't really slept for two nights. The gusts have been so vigorous. We are joined by launches and fishing boats as the out-look is not good. Thank goodness we had such lovely weather earlier.
Peter hired a car and we explored Great Barrier Island, nine tenths metalled, very narrow and windy. We went over to Medland's beach on the east coast of Barrier. Very very beautiful, quite uninhabited and stretches of pure white sand with clean clear water lapping the shore. A few baches, no electricity of course, strung along the road behind the beach. A dear little church floated on a barge over from Auckland must have had fine weather, and a couple of places to stay. We hear Rangimaire, is a very nice place to stay "vegetarian and ask for the bridal suite".
On to Claris and then up and down some dreadful hills, passing tiny settlements and two very nice looking farms. It rather reminded me of Fiji. On down to Fitzroy which seemed like a pretty oasis with puriri trees and tui singing. . Weather forecast on the store blackboard didn't sound too good. 'Thirty -forty knot winds. Outlook bleak' yuck.
I go home on the twelve o'clock ferry and Sally and Belinda catch the six p.m. I'm looking forward to sailing through the yachts on Anniversary Day.
Clare at the flat, I'm so glad she hasn't been on the last couple of days, she needs her sleep. Trying to clear out lockers etc., It's always harder when we are tied up, all the sizes seem to shrink around you and it becomes very crowded.
Think this is our last trip on Thetis before we sell her. Our family have grown up and doing different things in their holidays.
It's a shame it's been such a very windy last couple of days, Andrew and Peter will sail her home on Tuesday, weather permitting.

2/2/93 Gael Levin.