FROM THE LOG
December 2006 to March 2007
We spent two and a half months cruising in the Hauraki Gulf, having Oneroa on Waiheke Island as base. From there it is only a 30 minutes ferry ride in to Downtown Auckland, so there was no need to sail Scorpio to the Waitemata harbour of Auckland if we wanted to visit the Capital.
Many of the islands of the gulf are partly or wholly administered by the Department of Conservation, but most of them can be accessed by the public. There are several scenic walks, the Kiwis love to tramp, as they call it. Some of the islands are uninhabited, but Waiheke has a population of 8.500. This popular island also has more than 40 vineries that you can visit for tasting.
The largest of the islands and the most remote is Great Barrier, named by the ubiquitous James Cook. It used to be a whaling, mining and logging centre, but all that is gone. Although easily reached from Auckland, two hours by ferry, Great Barrier seems a world - and many years - away. There is no public electricity supply, no main drainage, no banks, no ATMs and no street lights.
The first week of February we headed north to the city of Whangarei, which will be our base for the following year. We sailed in company with Janne and Stina aboard s/y Christina, and visited Kawau Island on the way. Whangarei is the place where most visiting yachties choose to keep their boats while having them refitted or while exploring the rest of New Zealand by land. The city has several marinas and boat yards and a skilled work force.
In Whangarei we again joined the international cruising crowd and met several of the crews that we had learned to know during our recent Pacific crossing and before. We were also visited by Finnish Whitbread veteran Lars Fellman together with his Kiwi wife Alison, who is a former Americas Cup tactician (photo below to the right).
One day there was a knock on the hull and Jim Huber introduced himself. He is the owner of sailing vessel Champagne, a sister ship of Scorpio. This time he was visiting by air, but by coincidence happened to spot Scorpio at the dock in Town Basin Marina (photo above to the left). We encountered Champagne in the autumn of 2001 in Chestertown, Chesapeake Bay, and there is a photo of her in the Sisterships section of this web site (go to Home-page, then Yacht, then Sisterships).
The Tuesday evening Happy Hour
draws many of the cruisers to Reva's restaurant at the Town Basin.