Return to the Bay of Islands

The timing for our return to the Bay of Islands was clearly fortunate as we currently cling to the bottom of Urupukapuka Bay with our claws out in 36 kts of wind that swoops down from the bluffs around us.

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Though we regret leaving Great Barrier, we know that more time farther south would have cost us a good week of waiting for reasonable conditions to make it back to Opua.

At the end of our fast upwind day we arrived in Deep Water Cove, which is really not that deep.  Among the endearing enigmas of this country – which include kiwi fruit imported from Italy, and referring to a meal after lunch and before bed where one might have chops and parsnips as “tea” – anything over 30 ft is considered deep.

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We spent a pleasant night during which the last of the mosquitoes were discharged to perdition.  In the morning we were invited aboard Savarna for coffee and met some nice people from Nelson who had backpacked in Alaska as youngsters and knew the illegal hiring practices of salmon canneries in Valdez. K was nostalgic.  We took a quick trip ashore, where wild begonias grow from the rocky cliffside,

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and hiked up to the nearby ridge where we finally saw a Tui bird (he was too jumpy to have his picture taken).   But we hurried back to Khamseen to move for the weather. It’s not hard to move smartly when the sunny sky is suddenly scored by a long dark cloud coming down, knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door. This cloud stretched all the way to Tonga.

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So we left the rookery rocks of this new species of heavily-beaked beach chicken,

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and wandered past islets and through skinny passes towards Urupukapuka Bay.

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The sheep dotted pastures on high bluffs around the bay reminded us that the larder was getting low and the fishing has been bad – or at least the keeping has been bad even when the catching was alright.

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So we ate the last of our Mexican lentils in a beanless country and watched yet another squall roll out of the endless Pacific and across these cheeky islands.

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35°13.30’S 174°14.30’E 4-Apr-11 05:30 UTC 

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