s/y Nine of Cups
More NZ North Island Exploration
Feb 2010
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Next, Cups and crew will head to
New Zealand's South Island.
Come
for the ride?
New Zealand Birds
Visitors Aboard
We rarely have visitors aboard. Being  in a
confined space aboard with all the rules
about conserving power and electricity
makes for intimate living and requires lots
of give and take from all involved, so
we're pretty careful about whom we invite.
The Grimms, however, cruising friends we
met 10 years ago in Charleston, SC, have
visited us four times in our travels and
hopefully they'll visit lots more. They're
easy to live with, fun, adventurous and
never complain about the cook.
The Kawakawa Toilets are pretty bizarre, but
warranted a stop as well. Designed in 1997
by the artist Hundertwasser, these public
toilets are interesting to say the least.
We rented a car and drove to Auckland to
pick them up at the airport. The Auckland
skyline above taken from the Harbour
Bridge with the Sky Tower in view.
One of the best things about the Grimms...they're
up for anything. We spotted a herd of red sheep
and stopped at Sheep World on our way back
to Opua. Was it great?  Naaaaaah!
Urupukapuka Island - 35S13.14 / 174E23.53
The Grimms transported three huge
suitcases full of boat parts, spares,
books and DVDs for us and oh
yeah...peanut butter. Once aboard, we
faced the challenge of stowing all the
parts, the extra suitcases and getting
everyone settled in a space that usually
accommodated only two people and a
lot less parts. We were up to the
challenge, got all squared away and by
the next day, we were heading to Russell
and Matawhi Bay.
We had a grand time in scenic, little Russell. We
wandered around, visited NZ's oldest church,
walked on the Strand, did a bit of souvenir
shopping and had lunch.
We had heard good things about
Urupukapuka Island and saved our trip
there until we could do it with Doug &
Fay. Well worth the wait.
Urupukapuka is a scenic reserve, crisscrossed
with tracks, teeming with birdlife and brilliant
views. We spent three days there and tramped a
different track each day.
Again, the tracks were well-marked and
maintained. A view of both Indico and
Paradise Bays above.
Doug bought some squid in Russell and used it
to catch fish in Paradise Bay. Once we ran out
of squid, chicken skins and leftover salami
seemed to work just as well.
He caught several red snapper, but none of a
size that were keepers, so all were given
back to Neptune.
All too soon, it was time to head back to
civilization...less than 10 miles away. We
anchored off Paihia for a quick round of
souvenir shopping, then headed back to
Opua and our home-base anchorage.
Offloading the near-empty luggage ashore
was much easier than the incoming load. We
celebrated our last night together with a trip to
Kerikeri and a great dinner out. Up bright and
early, we drove them to the airport in
Auckland. With hugs and kisses, we sent
them on their way to huge blizzards on the US
East Coast and feet of snow. Brrr!
South Island
En route to Nelson on the South Island
It has always been our plan to visit the South
Island. We finished up some housekeeping
chores, fueled up, watered up and off we went
"over the top" to Nelson. Traditional wisdom
indicates that going north to go south is the
easiest and fastest way to go.

We had lots of entertainment en route: dolphin
shows daily and lots of angling success. David
caught four good sized albacores which we put
to good use.
We had great weather except for one gale
which we sat out with relative calm and comfort
in the anchorage at Taranaki Harbour in New
Plymouth. When we arrived the place looked
grim, but with further exploration, we found
New Plymouth to be a delight.
Taranaki Harbour, New Plymouth City - 39S03.45 / 174E02.59
A little sunshine and less clouds and Mt.
Taranaki came into view.
The anchorage at New Plymouth offered little
room for visitors, but we managed a spot at
the rear of the mooring field. We motored
more than expected and needed fuel. A very
friendly, trusting fellow named Pat offered us
the use of his car to jerry jug some diesel. We
met him & wife, Debbie, the next day for
coffee. The start of new friendship!
The coastal walk was beautiful and in 2km, took
us from the port to downtown New Plymouth.
The "windwand" is a huge kinetic sculpture
erected in the middle of the coastal walk in
downtown New Plymouth and sways with the
wind of which there is no scarcity.
Picturesque St. Mary's Church is the oldest
stone church in New Zealand.
The city has abundant parks and walks. We
followed the Huatoki Walkway to the top of
the Marsland Hill for a spectacular view of
Mt. Taranaki. Marsland Hill was once a
Maori
pa (fortified village).
We visited Pukekura Park, a maze of
paths and walkways through lush foliage
and flowers with a small zoo and aviary,
lily ponds, lakes and superb views.
An elegant teahouse in the center of the park
afforded us the opportunity to sit and relax
and lick an ice cream cone.
The "fernery" tunnel entrance was quite
unique and inside was nearly overwhelming
with local and exotic flowers and plants.
There was even a glowworm cave next door.
This pagoda was part of a serene Chinese
garden and offered us a great place to eat
our picnic lunch.
A little "kiwi"-ana on a local building we
noticed heading back to the boat.
The wind and seas subsided and we headed out of the
anchorage into the Tasman Sea again anticipating with a
modicum of concern the crossing of the Cook Strait. Though
light, variable winds were predicted, you just never know.
The winds were definitely variable to start...anywhere from 5
to 20 kts with no committed direction. As we passed Cape
Egmont, 25+kt winds greeted us, but from the west which
made it a boisterous, but productive passage.
Kiwiana
At 192M, New Zealand's Sky Tower is
the tallest structure in the southern
hemisphere.