Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Sunset over Whangaruru.  Sweet anchorage, North of Whangarei, between Tutukaka and Bay of Islands.
North island, New Zealand.  Surprise!  These scalped hillsides really did harbor a lovely wooded hiking trail!
This bull let us know he was the boss when we had to
pass by his herd on the way back to the anchorage in
Whangaruru, New Zealand.

Whangaruru – Excellent Hiking!
At Whangaruru, Christmas week, we never got off our boat, despite Rich and Cindy of Legacy’s excellent “favorite Bay of Islands” anchorage recommendations.  The shoreline was chock-a-block with campers.  
Cindy and Rich raved about Whangaruru’s trails, but given what we saw from the boat looked like pastureland, we were skeptical.  Besides, we were hustling to get to Whangarei, to tie off on a pole mooring and get in some serious road-tripping before tacking far more serious boat work.

Whangaruru anchorage overlook from the loop trail.

We’re so glad that missing our first weather window to leave for Fiji provided the perfect opportunity to give Whangaruru another go.  

We couldn’t ask for better weather.  When we pulled in, we had the anchorage to ourselves — late in the day a few other boats anchored, but it was hardly “crowded.”  As well, the campers were also few and far between.  The skies were clear, sunny and pleasantly warm.  And Cindy and Rich were right on about Whangaruru’s trails.  

The name may be “Bland Bay;” it’s a name not
a descriptor!  Whangaruru, New Zealand.

After a short climb past pastureland, the trails amble over ridge lines with fantastic views, down to beaches, if you so choose, through birdsong-filled ferny woods, across wetlands, and a few other terrains I’m not quite sure how best to describe.  

Sweet as, as they say here in New Zealand, “land of the long white cloud.”  Oh, and there was even free wifi!

Whangamumu – Beautiful, Historical Stop & Great Protection, Except….

Panorama from our Whangamumu anchorage.  Northland, New Zealand.
Note the brick-eating tree roots?  Nature at last
resumes her dominance at the former Whangamumu
whaling station.  Northland, New Zealand.

Whangamumu, a lovely deep bay with a former whaling station was also on Rich and Cindy’s recommended list, with excellent protection for everything except North-Easterlies.  As luck would have it, we parked there in precisely those conditions.  The water looked flat, but the gentle North-Easterlies kept us rockin’ and rollin’ all night long.  Not a big roll, but an annoying one.  

Whangamumu’s many small jewel-
toned sea caves invite kayaking.

Even more annoying were the mosquitos and no-see-ums,  There weren’t a lot, but we offered about the only readily available nummies for them and so they feasted upon us wherever we weren’t sprayed or covered, including several bites on some tough parts of my hand, when we first came ashore.  Guess they survive by biting the hand that feeds them!

Still, Whangamumu is a beautiful spot.  

The water is very clear, and quite pleasant for kayaking, which I did, nosing into the little sea caves scattered across Whangamumu’s rocky shoreline.

We checked out the decaying whaling station memorabilia.  I don’t believe in reincarnation but pray if I’m wrong, I never offend the powers that be so greatly to come back as an perceived merely as a vessel to stab and slay for the boiling of its oil.  I am grateful today we use other sources of energy to light our way.  We didn’t take the Whangamumu trail off of the whaling station, which does lead to a nice little waterfall.

Journey from Whangamumu overlook.
Northland, New Zealand.

Wayne and I did walk a little ways up the the deep grass hill off the main, signed beach, far enough to get a fantastic view of the bay.  After being spoiled my Whangaruru’s trails the previous day, and getting a good workout on my kayak, we settled in early to enjoy Whangamumu from our boat, where there were less mosquitos and no-see-ums.

Wayne finds a comfy spot in the
oh-so-thick, tall grass on Whangamumu’s
hillside.  Northland, New Zealand.

Despite the rock and roll and even the buggers, we’re still glad we got a chance to eheck Whangamumu out.  Other than one other boat who settled late, on the far opposite side of the bay, we had the entore anchorage to ourselves.

We’re so glad we took our time making our way to Opua, to restlessly wait for the weather window with Southerlies to open for Fiji.  Gentle onshore Northerly breezes here in New Zealand make for some mighty fine fall weather, ideal for enjoying the best of what New Zealand has to offer.  A long sweet goodbye for an incredible country we hope to return to someday.

Location Location

Wayne, enjoying the cockpit of our Pearson 365 at
the end of a good day on Whangaruru,
Northland, New Zealand.

This was written and scheduled for posting while we were still in New Zealand anchored off Opua (S35.18.772 E174.07.485), waiting for a good weather window to our first major cruising stop this year, to Savusavu Fiji.  Our anchorage at Whangaruru was S35.21.945 E174.21.480.  Our anchorage at Whangamumu was S35.15.035 E174.17.698.By the time this posts, we expect to be about two thirds through the two weeks it will take to sail to Fiji,  at 1170 nm, our 2nd longest ever passage. 

This year’s 4,500 mile route:  Fiji, Vanuatu,
New Caledonia, Australia.

Sailing by the Numbers

Last year, between December 2014 and November 2015 we sailed from Florida USA to New Zealand, over 10,000 miles.  This year, from Fiji, we’ll go to Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Australia.  After we arrive in Australia in around November, completing another 4,500 or so miles this cruising season, we plan to sell our boat.  Then, it’s back to work, somewhere.