A little piece of paradise


Two very tired sailors this morning after being on anchor watch all night. Other boats here seem to anchor very close together even when there’s lots of room in the bay. Last night the wind filled in to over 20 knots gusting higher through Fitzroy harbour just at dusk. We were in 25 ft of water with 120 ft of chain out and were a little worried that people had anchored close in front of us and close behind us when we were away from the boat during the day. As night closed in and the wind increased, it was obvious we needed to let more chain out. The only move for us was to motor out and re anchor as there was a boat anchored right on our stern. This was not an easy maneuver in the dark with boats close by. Our hand was forced when a big gust of wind caused WW II to drag her anchor.

One of the problems is the 300 ft of used chain I managed to pick up in Opua is not quite compatible with our anchor Gypsy so the anchor chain must be pulled in by hand – not an easy task under the difficult situation we found  ourselves in. With Claire up on deck to help and the moon breaking through the clouds we managed to maneuver and re anchor in a spot where we could use almost all of our 300ft of chain and rest a lot easier. As morning broke, we found several boats had weighed anchor and one of the boats that left had an anchor hanging from his bow attached to a mooring buoy. Because of the windy conditions in the Hauraki Gulf today and better conditions predicted for tomorrow, we’ve decided to postpone the crossing to Auckland until tomorrow morning.

Although last night was tense,  the day was absolutely peaceful. We rented a small car for half a day to explore the east side of this amazing island. We had sunny weather with light breezes so we tramped up a trail from the road to a lookout with vistas of the whole island and long crescent beaches and breaking surf. One Department of Conservation campground we found after an exciting drive down a very narrow and winding gravel road to a grassy paddock on the beach turned out to be paradise on earth. Harataonga Bay left us with an absolute peace after walking through fields of cows and ancient pohutukawa trees across sand dunes down to a fabulous crescent beach with breaking surf and a deserted beach.


The pohutukawa is the native Christmas tree of Aotearoa (NZ).

We stopped in the shade and had a picnic and I swam in the surf. The drive was too short and I was left with the feeling that if there is a place on earth to come back to, this is it.

We pulled our little car back into Port Fitzroy just in time to catch pizza night at the local beach side cafe. I went for a late evening hike up to the top of a rocky outcropping to watch the sun set and by the time I returned, the wind had started to pick up.  Little did we know, a long night was about to begin.

 Just now deciding what to do with our extra day here on this lovely island.



  1. Have you anchored in Smokehouse Bay?

    The fishing is good at The Barrier if you are into it.

    I enjoy your posts which are very descriptive.

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