Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Further north

We turned the bow north, up to Great Barrier Island (Aotea), colloquially known as "the Barrier" (or "the bloody Barrier", as a local song goes) . About 900 people live on the Barrier, commonly thought of as all a bit kooky - folks who may not normally want to fit into a more urban, commercially oriented lifestyle. I mean, there's no bloody power on the Barrier! Everyone has to have their own generator - that's kooky enough ;) But if you're into small diesel-powered generators, this is the place to be - they're wonders of machinery and many an hour is spent, over a few (home-brewed) beers, tut-tutting over one another's old fly-wheeled generators (can you hear 'em?).

Tryphena is normally our destination at the Barrier - dad has good friends there - Bro's moved on, but Brian's still there. He rowed out and had a cuppa (tea) and a slice or two of my sister-in-law's marvellous Christmas cake - dad and Brian can talk boats for hours, and I always enjoy catching up with him. He has Hobbit feet - hasn't worn shoes for decades - but he's found that Crocs can sometimes be useful, except on pine needles.

The sail up was great - not quite enough wind, so we kicked in the diesel to help us along and keep the bow up. Looking back to Mercury slipping behind us, I checked on the chart to find out the distance between Mercury and the Barrier - 23 miles. It struck me that what has always seemed to be "way up there" was now a distance that I normally paddle in a day; and during an Everglades Challenge, can be sometimes a third of a day. In fact something that absolutely grabbed me this trip home, was the absolutely fabulous sea kayaking around the NZ coastline and offshore islands. Sigh.

Just before Tryphena we stopped for a few hours in a secluded bay. Dad's been cruising this coastline for nigh on 65 years, and me near 40, but neither of us had visited here before. It was magic - a sandy yellow beach with its own stream, nikau palms and tee-tree. Quite typically we even left dad's jumper on the beach, which we picked up the next morning.

Our last morning in Tryphena was one in a million - flat calm with not a breath of wind, and a clear view of the bottom - not often one gets to see one's own anchor nesting below.

We headed back south...


Michael said...

Now there's a kayak trip! Why don't we hear about folks paddling around the North Island of NZ? It looks perfect (quick sideways glance to check bank account balance...).

Capt'n "O" Dark 30 & Super Boo said...

hobbit feet... tea trees... sounds perfect.