Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cruising the Harauki Gulf and out to Great Mercury Island

We had heard about the beautiful beaches at Great Mercury Island.  It's situated on the outside of the Coromandel Penninsula, so we waited for settled weather to approach.  We stopped at Port Charles, a quiet bay at the northeast tip of the Coromandel Penninsula on the way.  It's a big open bay, with only a couple fishing boats inside.  There are few houses and baches along the shore, but very quiet.  It seemed like we were at the end of the world.
aPasture Sea Views
The next day we pushed on to Great Mercury Island.  It was as described with beautiful bays and beaches.  Most of the island is a sheep farm, with some forest land at the south end.  There were few other boats around.  In fact we were completely alone the first night.  However, the next day a handful of other boats showed up.  The main bay is really big, so we were very spread out.  It's hard to describe how peaceful it is, with fresh clear calm autumn air.
Waiting for a Haircut

We did make a short side trip over to Opito Bay and the Hole in the Wall rocks.  More empty beaches and bays, with just a few sports fishermen about. We motored all day due to no wind.  We spent another night back at Great Mercury before heading back up to Great Barrier Island.
Frisky Dolphin Escort
Aotea (Great Barrier Island)
We had a great time at Great Barrier back in February and were looking forward to exploring more of the great big island.  This time we called in at Tryphena Harbour.  It has a ferry dock and a few business and homes scattered around.  We explored ashore and by dinghy.  After having to cook all our meals for a while, it was nice to eat out.  We had terrific giant fish and chips for dinner and a nice lunch at the cafe the next day.

The next day we moved up to Whangaparapara Harbour.  It's a smallish harbor well protected from the north, where the wind was expected from.  There were several boats in there, including 3 french cruisers.  That was kind of unusual. 

We left there this morning and actually sailed!! north to Port Fitzroy, a series of very sheltered bays and inlets, to sit out an expected wind storm.  The forecast is for 40kts, gusting 50kts tomorrow.  Yowsa!

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