So it was time to go sailing. I had made the acquaintance of Todd who works in the yard and did a good bit of STW’s repairs. He introduced me to Connie and Caleb. They had very little exposure to sailing. And they wanted to learn more.
Connie had a free weekend but not much experience. I told her to watch an introduction to sailing video shot and produced by my friend Huub. Here it is. Suggest you watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo2PtgqI8Sc
Here is where it gets fun. Connie did her homework. We headed out sailing and from time to time she would say things like… “According to the video we should be doing xyz now”. It was quite amusing to have Huub’s voice, once removed, back on the boat.
Our first outing was to be a weekend trip up the coast to Whangaroa.
You can see it has a really small entrance and then opens up quite a bit. Makes for awesome protection in dodgy weather. And is just a beautiful place on a nice day. So off we go and did I mention that this was an actual sailboat race? It was. And Connie had never been on a sailboat before. I was not too worried about that because the forecast was for very little wind. Everyone was afraid the event would amount to motoring to Whangraroa harbor to the point that some boats declined to go due to lack of wind.
Well actually there was plenty. We sailed almost all of the 30 miles to Whangaroa. We motored for 20 minutes to escape the Bay of Islands. This was allowed by the race rules.
As we head for the entrance our beautiful day is changing. Rain is moving in. On arrival we rafted up in a dead calm cove with some of the other participants. And enjoyed a shower together (rain). But we had enough shelter and the rain around here is usually brief. And it was time, and the rafted sailors did dine.
The next morning after breakfast the raft came to an end. It was Sunday and most of the participants had work the next day. So off they went. Connie and I still had food so we stayed anchored and went for a hike.
That looks doable. Lets climb it. I mean look at it. There is all that wide open green grass to hike on, not so much bushwhacking. The best laid plans brothers and sisters!
The easy grass we had to hike on had about 18 inches of spring to it. Kinda like walking in 2 ft deep snow. Interesting and I hope you are not in a hurry.
Water was a cool shade of turquoise in the bay. I’ll call this big nose rock. Because. It looks to have a nose on the right exposure eh? And it looks easy to climb too. Well maybe not as easy as what we just did. Which kicked our butts. Think we’ll pass.
Time to find our way back to the dingy and return to STW. This has been hungry work.
Connie thinks we should be collecting oysters. There appear to be a few in the neighborhood! I did a quick google search on how to schuck. I always forget.And I forgot to get a photo before we started munching down on the oysters in question. But they were tasty. And fresh.
Successful shakedown for a boat fresh out of the yard, and successful first sailing trip for Connie. She learns fast and will go far. Like maybe to Mangonui next weekend. I told her to see if he boyfriend Caleb could join us. And he could.
Connie and Caleb showed up with mucho groceries and we headed for Doubtless Bay.
If you look close you’ll see a small notch in the peninsula on the right side of the chart.
Takerua Bay. That is where we were headed. We spent the first night in the Cavalli islands. Lamb burgers were the special of the day. Not a lot of protection but the wind was mild. The next day it got better and we sailed off further north. Arrived Takerua bay in time for a swim and a nap. Then Caleb our on board marine biologist, went snorkeling for Lobster. With some success. Short hike on shore was fun too.Spill The Wine Abides.And so does the Shadow with his traditional pampas grass stalk.
How to prepare the Lobster? Caleb and Connie suggested a beach boil. And off we went. On the beach there was enough stuff to sit on, that is always a challenge in the wild. But nothing like a table. Caleb pulls one out of his hat!
Then we rounded up firewood and started heating the hot tub for the main course.Please be patient. We’ll be with you as soon as the water is ready… So dinner on the beach was successful. Except the sun did not set on the water like we’d planned. Sigh.Sunset from the previous day will have to do.
Anyway we enjoyed dinner and the beach. I brought my guitar ashore. On the way back to the boat the surf was up slightly. Enough that the dinghy took a wave over the bow. Good day to have your guitar in a water proof case. I made one the previous summer for a hiking trip. The key here is not only did I have it, I used it. I’m a slow learner but given enough time I get by.I was hunting for something in the boat and I came across this sticker. Some of you might remember the Flaming Mo episode from the Simpsons. 1991. I asked Caleb if he knew what the sticker was. He did! Bugger was 12 and living in NZ when that first aired. Talk about cultural penetration! Or pollution. Depends on how much you do or don’t like the Simpsons.
Trip back included another night at Whangeroa harbor. Connie and Caleb took the dingy for a spin. I had some boat work to get after. One of my favorite things after all! 🙂And it was a good night to roast a chicken. And feed the bones to the crabs! Sometimes the crabs feed you. Sometimes you feed the crabs!This was breakfast. Fog did not last too long and we made it back to Opua in time for dinner. Great to have Connie and Caleb join Spill The Wine. It was fun to watch them get into the rhythm of the boat. On the last day I did not have to tell them what to do anymore. Things just started to happen. They get invited back. Or rather they would if I could get ahead of all the boat hoohaa I have to get done before STW heads back to Fiji! Stay tuned.