It was nice to relax and spend a little time socialising, chilling out and doing a few boat chores. I did have a couple of trips out, shopping to Pahai, a couple of trips to Kerikeri, to see the Stone Store which is New Zealand oldest stone building
and to visit to the Puketi forest for a short walk to see the Kauri trees. Puketi forest is a remnant (a pretty big remnant) of native forest which once covered almost all of Northland before massive clearance by loggers mainly for the huge Kauri trees. These trees are quite something, massive trunks rising so straight and tall, it is no wonder they were prized by loggers.
I also ordered some new sails for Sea Bear, a new yankee and and a new main. I strongly suspect that the main is the original so it hasn’t done badly but now its a bit baggy and showing signs of wear and for much of the Pacific crossing I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would last.
After a couple of weeks I thought it time to head down to Whangarei (It is a Maori name as many are in NZ and Wh by the way is pronounced F). Opua was a good marina with a good collection of marine businesses and in a beautiful area for sailing but otherwise a bit out in the sticks with the nearest town (and not much of a town at that) 5 km away so not good access to shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. I plan to return later to cruise in the area.
The day I planned to leave, it had been a fine sunny morning but just before I left the heavens opened. I waited awhile for it to slacken off but then set out. Took me a long time to get out of the Bay of Islands to get to Cape Brett
and start going down the coast and it ended with a bit of a race against the dark which I just made to anchor in Puriri bay, Whangaruru harbour at about 7.45, but a nice safe anchorage. Left next morning and continued down the coast, which is a lovely coast rocky with little sandy bays. Often times it looked like it was going to rain but it held off all day so I was thankful for that. Past the long sandy Ocean beach and I rounded Bream Head
and went to anchor in Urquharts Bay at a more reasonable time quarter to 6. Next day after waiting for the tide it was along way up the river, broad at first and eventually narrowing in the upper reaches, supposed to be about 12 miles but it felt longer. There was a lifting bridge to negotiate before arriving in the town basin and the marina, just about in the middle of the town. It is the only city in Northland but really only a big town so there lots of marine facilities close at hand and a full array of shops,, cafes, bars and restaurants. It is in a lovely setting and there are also good walks hereabouts. It seems to be a good place to spend some time.