Crazy sailing day as we headed north. The South winds picked up, which increased the swells making for a bit of a rocky ride even though the winds were mostly behind us. When we tried to change direction, we ended up wrapping the jib around itself, which apparently is an easy thing to do. We tried to fix it but with the swells growing, we decided to take down the mainsail and find a nice quiet place behind an island to fix it. We did finally reach a sheltering island where it was calmer and we were able to fix the jib. The winds and waves were also a lot calmer since the string of islands sheltered us as we headed to our next anchorage. We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon sailing with just a jib to our next anchorage. Sometimes you do have to adjust how you sail to the boat you have, one of the issues with chartering.
We entered the channel that leads to a town called Whangeroa and in one of the coves, there is a freestanding dock just for water. The Forest Preserve people set it up for anyone passing to have fresh water. Pretty cool. When we decide to go fill up from it, we noticed it was just two floating barrels and a hose. The winds were light but we were not too comfortable tying up to two floating drums. Just seemed to be a logistical nightmare, so we passed and headed to Rere Bay.
Rere Cove is a quiet little spot where we anchored for a few days. The cliffs surrounding us were steep on one side and we could see some interesting formations. We were very sheltered from the crazy winds that brought us here so we were grateful for the flat, calm water. Across from where we dropped the anchor we could see a small hut that you can rent and in front of it was a very tired-looking catamaran. I think it has been in that spot for a long time and it appears to be deserted. There were people at the cabin and later we watched as a water taxi came and picked them up.
On the way into Rene, we passed a lodge called Kingfish Lodge. After dropping anchor we dinked over to check it out, hoping they were open and we could get a drink and relax. We arrived at the dock, tied up, and followed the signs up to reception. It was very quiet and looked to be deserted until we heard a friendly voice call out hello. Jeremy introduced himself and welcomed us to the lodge. He told us they were not technically open but if we wanted a drink at the bar he would be happy to accommodate us. We took him up on the offer and walked around checking everything out. Luckily they were open for dinner on Friday so we did make a reservation for then. Jeremy had asked where we came from and we told him we were in the cove across the entrance. He offered us a mooring ball right in front of the lodge for the night we were having dinner We took him up on this as it made it easier to get to the dock for dinner. Dinked back to the boat and tucked in for the night, but not before this bird popped up out of the water. Not sure who was more startled-him or me! took a few shots of him.
On our first full day here we climbed up a nose and dinked down a river. First, the river. The tides here, as anywhere, can get crazy. They come in and out, and depending on where you are, the tide can draw the water completely out leaving you high and dry. We saw some wicked tides in Scotland and they just leave their boats in the muck until the tide comes back in. Keeping this in mind, we decided to wait for high tide before we ventured out to find this river. The guidebook that came with the boat steered us towards an area that is only filled with water at high tide, creating a bit of a river. Yesterday we had dinked towards the area where it was supposed to be only to see mud-low tide. 8 am in the morning we loaded up and off we went in hopes of finding this river.
The river is about 3 feet deep, at most 4, winding its way around into a canyon. It was a bit like being in a jungle and the water was silent and unmoving. We ducked under branches hanging low and maneuvered around twigs and rocks in the stream. The whole feeling was very jungle-like and we expected to hear a monkey screeching out at any minute. The reflections were awesome and I managed to get a good shot of a bird taking off.
As we approached what looked like the end, we noticed the water starting to move out. Whoops! Time to get moving so we are not left high and dry. We did pass a small camp where it looks like someone was living in a makeshift tent but we did not see any people. We also passed a small house with a dock we had seen the day before. Today, the dock looked to be almost underwater.
Now we go on to the nose. And not just any nose, but a Duke’s nose. Kaikara Rocks to be exact but the rock does look like a nose from a certain angle. We set the dink up at the stairs near the hut that is available for rental. We did see a young woman kayak over there last night and we saw her again on the trail. She was enjoying her hike so much! She was singing and whooping it up. Such exuberance for life. There is no beach here, but the tide was receding so we tied the dink to a tree and set out on our hike.
Shawn told me that this hike was a short scramble and about 45 minutes to the top. He neglected to mention the use of chains and ropes that provided access to the top. The rope climb was short and easy, up a small boulder. The chain part, however, was straight up the face of a rock. Now, we realized we would be able to go UP, but not necessarily come down. Decided to walk in the nostril as far as we could and turned around to go back down. We made a note that when the books describe a hike as a “scramble” that we have to be prepared to climb with our hands as well as our feet.
Another rock across the way also looked like a nose. And not just any nose but the nose of Jimmy Durante, or perhaps Cyrano de Bergerac. It was quite the prominent nose and I am glad we did not walk up that trail.
We were almost to the bottom when we came across a man, one who appeared to be in a tshirt and undies. I felt it would be impolite to stare or ask about his lack of clothing, but he was very polite and said hello and then asked if I was from the US. We finally figured out that he was living in the catamaran sailboat we saw anchored in front of the cabin. We assumed the catamaran was deserted as it looked like it had been there a long time. Normally, encountering strange people in a deserted forest would not be a problem as we would go on our merry way, but there was an outdoor shower here and I wanted to take one! I made Shawn stand guard and talk to the guy. He gave Shawn the story of how the Australians brought the possums over and how they eat a local tree, just the top so it kills them. He also explained how he planted a couple of passion-fruit trees off the trail and how they supplied him with food for several years. However, since they were not native, the local rangers pulled them out. He still tries to plant them anyway!
He also takes care of the local possums that get trapped on the island. We saw a dead one by a trap when we first landed and when we came back down it was gone. I did not ask where it went, I did not want to know.