Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Great Barrier Island

Welcome to our Blog. Our latest entry always comes up first... 
Click this link if you want to start at the beginning:
FIRST BLOG ENTRY
If you want to start at the beginning of our trip:
START OF TRIP
If you want to see the story of our trip from South Carolina
(where we bought the boat)
 to Lake Ontario Click this link:
  SOUTH CAROLINA
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What a beautiful change.....  Leaving the dock was like lifting a huge weight off our shoulders.  Other than ordering some more school supplies online, we have spent 0 dollars in just over a week! Whoo-hooo!

And in exchange for not spending money we have been given some AMAZING views, and great times....  A friend said on Facebook today, "My goal is to build a life I don't need a vacation from."

We are feeling that we have achieved that this week.

Our first stop after leaving Whangarei was Urqhart Bay.  This is the bay we saw from land when we hiked the trail a few times.  A hotspot for scallops, we dove just after we anchored and within 10 minutes we had our daily limit!




Back to using the solar oven!

Scallops!

Scallops after Shelley's magic.....


Our stores are full!
Making a "regulation size" ALPHA flag for diving...

We stayed a few days and got the boat ready for sea.  The day we left, we had a light breeze from the north west which gave us a beam reach all the way to The Great Barrier Island (aka Aotea).  A few hours from the mainland, this island is a world unto itself.  With majestic cliffs and sandy beaches it has given us so much.  There are about 950 inhabitants on the Island who host literally hundreds of visiting boats from the mainland and beyond.



Our FIXED asymmetrical..... 

Approaching Great Barrier Island...



Locals say this island has some of the best sheltered harbors, beaches, fishing, snorkeling, diving and surfing in New Zealand.  So far, we can't disagree...



Our first anchorage was just around the corner from Port Fitzroy, one of the two main settlements on the island.  
The Island Information Center.

The General Store.





Port Fitzroy harbor...
With great holding and beautiful scenery we set out on the first of many hikes (the locals call it "tramping").  there are more than 50 kilometers of maintained trails on the island.  The largest is the Aotea Trail which was designed as a three day, 25km trail that loops the central mountainous area on the island. There are two huts on the trail where you can stay overnight for a modest fee ($15). The highest peak on the island is Hirakimata on Mt. Hobson at 627 meters (over 1800').


One of the two hikers huts....





We have not done the complete trail, but over the last week, done a number of day hikes, covering some 30 kilometers.  It feels like most of it has been up hill!














Lots of outhouses along the way....

Some of the more popular trails are very well kept...

I love this shot....  Our dinghy and our home.....

To protect the fragile Kauri Trees, hikers are suppose to clean their shoes in and out of the forest....

These pathways are intended to keep hikers from damaging the Kauri trees....





The Island has crews of people who maintain all this for everyone to use....  Great job guys!




Our longest hike so far was to the Kaiaraara Dam.  A long way but worth it.  Loggers would build this dam over and over.  They would fill the lake behind it with Kauri trees and then "trip" the dam sending the logs crashing down to the ocean where they would then move them to Auckland for processing into lumber...





One of our many picnics....





When not tramping the island we have been on the boat enjoying the beauty and uniqueness of this place.  In particular, we were told we must visit Smokehouse Bay.  Generations of local boaters have grown up with memories of Smokehouse Bay. Popular for its large purpose built fish smokehouses and fully functioning outback bath house; it offers something unique to those of us living on the water. 

There are three rotating clotheslines and grandma’s archaic ‘acme’ washing ringers that give people a chance to get some laundry done...

Hats off to the Webster family for their forward thinking in creating the facilities that allow all boaties to enjoy their catch of the day and soak their bones after spending time on the ocean. A great place to meet people, trade stories and teach your kids the art of old school values.


The bathhouse...

The smokehouse

Community fire pit.

The washtubs!


Used to heat the bath/shower water

For really brave bathers.....

For the rest of us......


After leaving Smokehouse Bay we went to Kiwiriki Bay where we have hunkered down for some expected bad weather.  This is a very sheltered bay where we should be protected from the SE blow we expect tonight.

On Monday it was Superbowl Sunday back at home so with the miracle of technology we were able to watch the game live!  Who knew!  What an amazing Patriots comeback!

Yesterday, Shelley and I achieved what might be our most difficult hike yet.  The climb to the top of the mountain at the end of the bay.  At 280 meters (over 900') we enjoyed lunch and a great view of our boat down in the bay.  Our Fitbits are getting a great workout!

A seagull on my NEW engine!

At anchor...


This trail is REALLY steep....

Lunch at the top...




The tricky bit....



We hiked from the upper left side of the image....



I'll leave you with some bird pictures.  Everywhere we go, Shelley has been making lots of photos of birds....  She has made some pretty pictures...  Cheers!










1 comment:

  1. Great to see you enjoying all that the North Island can offer..looking forward to you getting to the South Island...no pressure! Cheers C and S

    ReplyDelete