Day 3, Year 2: Moored in the Hinterlands
Date: Friday, April 27, 2007
Weather Today: Overcast–Morning Rain Squall, Nighttime Temp, 64 degrees F
Water Temperature: 62 degrees F
Location: Opua, New Zealand
Latitude: S 35 degrees 18.57 minutes
Longitude: E 174 degrees 07.82 minutes

We are back where we arrived in New Zealand in November and it is like old home week. We saw some friends that we haven’t seen since we left here in November and others that were in Riverside Drive Marina just a couple of weeks ago and are now here. We had not called ahead for a reservation for a mooring and we got the very last one. There was one slip left in the marina, but we really didn’t want to pay for that luxury. It costs $7.50 NZ per day for a mooring and $24.00 NZ for a slip. You get the same amenities either way–bathrooms with showers, laundry room, and garbage disposal. We just have to get in our dinghy to get to these things instead of walking down the dock. Weather with strong winds is coming in tonight. That means that the dinghy ride to town tomorrow might be a wet one, but we’ll survive. The temperature here feels much warmer than Whangarei. We were having nighttime temps in the 40’s and 50’s where here the nighttime temp is 62 degrees F. It will be interesting to see how low the thermometer goes tonight. It is 70 degrees inside the boat tonight where we haven’t seen anything higher than 68 degrees in the middle of the day in Whangarei. We have always heard that the Bay of Islands has its own micro climate and I now believe that. The few extra degrees of warmness really makes a difference.

Ranger and Windbird pulled up anchor in Whangamumu Bay at 8 AM this morning. It was partly overcast but still the sun was shining through. We rounded Cape Brett and were able to sail for about an hour as we entered the Bay of Islands. We got hit with a squall about the time we needed to turn into the Veronica Channel leading to Opua, so we rolled in the headsail and reefed the main just in case of strong winds. The squall was short-lived but we decided to continue motoring on in just in case of more squalls. Marie on Ranger had used her cell phone to call the marina to make reservations. There was one mooring left closer to the marina and one further away. We took the one further away and looked for over an hour for mooring ball #21. We never found it, so we finally called in to give them our postion and to ask for further directions. Either #21 doesn’t exist or we are really lousy at following directions. Anyway, we ended up on mooring #30. It is about as far away from the marina as you can get on a mooring, but we like the hinterlands.

After getting settled, we got in the dinghy and went to the marina to check in at the office. We then went to the A dock to visit with Randy and Sheri on Procyon. It was great to see them again. I think Procyon was built in 2001, so it is one of the newer boats out here. New as she is, however, she had a “face lift” while spending the summer in Gulf Harbor Marina down near Auckland. The new dark blue leather interior cushions are beautiful and the new cockpit enclosure is to die for. We love our enclosure, but the people at Gulf Harbor that made this one did it with an unbelievable eye for detail. Looking through all new plastic windows really gives one a whole different view of the world. Procyon’s neighbors, Linda and Peter on Dutch Touch and Bill and Jean on Pelican Express, came over to say hello while we were on Procyon. They also spent the summer at Gulf Harbor and just arrived in Opua. We then wandered down to the E dock to see Doug and Sylvie on Windcastle, but no one was at home. The “West Coast Gang” was on the lawn playing a game, so we got to see many of them at one time–Kelly and Kelly of Moorea who just came in today in front of us, Barry from Surabi, Paddy from Safarse, Bruce of Ohana Kai, Dave of La Vie, and others. We then walked to the Opua Cruising Club for Happy Hour and dinner and saw so many other good friends. Rick and Robin of Endangered Species came in just after we did. It was great to see them and Rick had actually read our log about the stress cracks in our headstay chainplate. He had a couple of really great recommendations for which we were most grateful. Lynn and Dick of Windpony were there, as well as Felix and Monika of Makani, Marie and Paul of Ranger, and Doug and Sylvie of Windcastle returned from their shopping trip just in time to join us for dinner. The Opua Cruising Club has moved into a brand new facility and it is really nice. We will be going back in tomorrow at noon to hear New Zealand weather guru, Bob McDavitt, speak about the weather, and I know we will see even more old friends. It is great to be here and I know we will enjoy the next few days of visiting and preparing for our passage to Fiji.

070427 Day 3 New Zealand–Whangamumu to Bay of Islands