November 29, 2016
36'10 S 175'20 E
We slept in until 7:00 and woke in our protected cove for the usual granola and o.j. listening to Kim Hill on National Radio interviewing their US correspondent about what the election of Donald Trump will mean for the world. No one knows but a lot of Kiwis are worried.
We launched the dinghy and motored into shore, pulled up on the beach and put on our hiking boots. I was surprised that this little satellite island has World War II bunkers, hiking trails and an airstrip. As we tramped up the dirt road a DOC official driving a Kawasaki quad came down from the top. He stopped to say good morning and continued downhill as we climbed. It was a lovely morning with the sun shining through the green foliage and birds singing at their spring best. The grass air strip stretches for 275 meters along a ridge at the top and we walked the length and then a trail to a rocky outcrop.
After admiring the view and snacking on peanuts we retraced our steps and the airfield. I slipped on loose gravel at the end, scraped my knee and jammed my wrist and third finger which is swelling and turning sickly blue. The body does not bounce like it used to.
We moved around through the pass into Port Fitzroy, one of the great anchorages in New Zealand and must be why there are bunkers. A fleet could hide in here like the British did in Scapa Flow in the Orkney's but Scapa Flow bottled up the Germans in the North Sea and no one has ever needed to hide a fleet this far away.
November 30, 2016
Man O' War Bay, Waiheke Island
36'47 S 175'09 E
We woke this morning with a good wind for Waiheke so we skipped Mt. Hobson and will hike tomorrow. It was a great sail, a reach on slight seas and winds at 15 knots dying to 6 by the end but we sailed on and dropped the sails just before the anchor. It was a very satisfying.
Jeannie says I damaged my 'ring finger' and 'good thing you don't have a ring because you would have to cut it off'. Except for the color, it looks like a sausage grilled to perfection. I should have iced it but too late, so I guess I should elevate it to help it drain. It is tender but not too painful.
The news is about the South Island's quake aftermath where road convoys have been cancelled. Cars and trucks are only allowed to drive the mountain roads to Kaikoura in escorted groups. The roads are heavily damaged and slides are continuing. The locals are concerned that this will ruin the upcoming tourist season.
December 1, 2016
What a good day, the first day of summer; a six mile hike; by a relaxing lunch at Man-O-War Winery; the Wispergen worked the first time I have tried it this year; Dickson got a big order and I had a nice nap.
The hike took us up to Stony Batter (yes that is the spelling) which was built to embed the largest guns ever to land in New Zealand, capable of blasting shells fifteen miles. It was built to guard the Auckland approaches from the Japaneese during WWII. It was top secret from 1941 to 1948 and never needed.
The news is that today is the first day of summer and the holiday shopping season is underway. People are complaining about the price of Christmas trees.
December 3, 2016
Awaawaroa Bay, Waiheke Island
36'50 S 175'06 E
We are testing the depth and the accuracy of the tide tables. According to our instruments and the published prediction we should be sitting on the bottom at low tide but our depth reading and motion of the boat tells me we are fine and can spend the night in this shallow bay.
We visited Rotoroa Island yesterday which, until 2005, was a sancuary run by the Salvation Army for Auckland's wasted alcohol and drug abusers. Ironic that it sits alone in the center of this wine country.
According to our cruising guide boats are not allowed to visit but our cell phone says it is now run by a philanthropic trust as a park with hiking trails and rental cottages. We did the trails and returned to the architecturally pleasing new interpretation center that retains the heavy Salvation Army message on saving drunks. I fought the temptation to return all of our just purchased wine from Man O War Bay Winery.
We spent the night in North Harbour Chamberlin Island. The Chamberlin family owns the island along with Man O War Winery and a lot of Waiheke. The bay was popular. After we had our anchor down with plenty of room for us and the four others, twenty more boats arrived, one much too close to us but somehow we did not bang in the night. It will not hurt Onora and the other boat has the obligation to move but they did not and the night was uneventful.
These are relaxing days. After a few chores Jeannie SUP'ed and I rowed into shore to read the "do not trespass" and 'Buy Man O War Wine' signs. Exercise is important to us as we believe it extends our ability to continue this life.
December 4, 2016
Islington Bay, Rangitoto Island
36'47 S 174'54 E
We are just back from the three hour hike up to the crater which we last did a dozen years ago with Joe and Pam Foley and the Powers. We first hiked this in 1995 and I had forgotten that it is a long hot trek over a shade-less lunar surface of black volcanic stones and dust; hard to go up and lose under foot descending. I have always remembered it for the view at the top with sweeping 360' views of Takapuna and Devonport in the foreshore and Auckland behind, then Waiheke and the Coromandel, Great Barrier and Gulf Harbour to the North. It remains worth the effort.
December 5, 2016
Auckland Bayswater Marina
36'49 S 174'46 E
We are in Bayswater where we will leave Onora behind to return to our Chicago home for Christmas. Bayswater is serviced by a ferry running from the downtown Auckland terminal and to Devonport. When we returned we used it to stock up at New World Supermarket and drop our life raft off for service. Most of our time is spent on projects but we did see the Auckland art museum and Takapuna for meals and a movie, "LaLa Land" (which we enjoyed).