Away We Go

Our turn back to Whangerie took a bit more time than expected. The doctors wanted to run some bloodwork and tissue sample tests on my “bites”. Turns out they are not bites at all. In fact, after a battery of tests they still aren’t sure what is causing the lesions on my body. What we do know is that the anti fungal medication they gave me is working. After six days it has decreased the size of the large one and completely removed the other two. This, even though the test for fungal infection came back negative. Yes, leave it to me to be the weird medical freak who stumps doctors all over New Zealand. So, since the medication is working we decided it is time to get moving again. We’ll never be more than a few days away from medical care and sitting around weeks waiting to see a Dermatologist seems ridiculous so we topped off our provisions and hit the waterways and away we go!

Exiting the Hatea River

It is another beautiful New Zealand summer’s day today. The sun is high and warm and there’s a little breeze blowing. We say our goodbyes to our dock mates, Tony & Nicki, and we cast off the lines. This time I’m feeling confident that we will make it past Tutukaka but I’m trying not to tempt fate so I’m just enjoying each and every sight along the way.

There wasn’t supposed to be much wind today. We planned for a motor trip but as we get down river the winds are blowing 10-15 knots so we put up the main and turn off the engine. Aaahhhhh! Now THAT is what we like to hear….nothing but the wind blowing across the sails and the water lapping at Dazzler’s hull. It’s perfect and we’re both smiling these huge Grape Ape like grins!!!

We turn the corner at the mouth of the river and there’s still a great wind so we throw up the jib and the next thing we know we’re cruising along between 6-8 knots. Of course this is New Zealand so the winds can do some pretty weird things. One minute you’ve got 15 knots on your port quarter then it dies completely. A few seconds later and you’ve got 25 knots on the nose. Yes, sailing in New Zealand requires you to be ready to change tactics at a moments notice and today is no exception. Of course Dan has it down and we make it to Tutukaka in under four hours. Anchor down beers came a bit earlier than expected today. BONUS!

It’s quite a change from our previous stay here. There’s not even half as many boats in the anchorage. And, the anchorage isn’t roly at all. It’s rather calm and serene. We drop our anchor almost directly on top of the spot we did the last time. I like this spot beside the little rock island. It’s quiet and very pretty. Since we’re only staying one night we never even drop Sparkle in the water. We just sit back and enjoy the views. Unfortunately since there are fewer boats the show isn’t as good but the views more than make up for it.

After some down time Dan cooks up a couple of delicious New Zealand filets and sweet corn on the grill. The meat in this country is AMAZING! Later we watch an after dinner movie and then it’s off to bed because we have a big day ahead.

Route from Whangerie to Tutukaka

Rise And Shine

Morning comes more quickly than I anticipated. Dan is rousting me from the bunk at 0630. Time to make tracks. We’ve got a long trip up the coast from here to the Bay of Islands. I am barely awake when he fires up the engine and heads to the bow to take off the snubber. I stumble around getting dressed then make a final sweep through the cabin to be sure everything is secured. All is clear so I don my headset and take my place in the cockpit.

Before leaving the bay we put up the main and then make our way to the ocean. It’s another gorgeous day here. The winds are perfect for sailing and we’ve got a nice tail current pushing us along. The further north we get the more incredible the coastline looks. Soon we see Cape Brett in the distance. I remember seeing the light from the lighthouse there on our first trip into New Zealand in 2018. I was on watch that night and was delighted to see the first lights of New Zealand. It had been a pretty rough trip down from Tonga so seeing this beacon of light made me feel like we were almost home. Of course we’d traveled some 7500 NM to get here. Anyway, it was sort of nice to see the lighthouse once again.

Cape Brett, New Zealand
Cape Brett and Piercy Island

Just off of Cape Brett is a rocky island called Piercy Island. It’s really beautiful and looks just like a woolly mammoth standing in the water. I am always fascinated by the animals and faces you can see in the rocks of these islands. If you ask the islanders they will tell you it’s part of the mana or the soul of the islands. Ever since I learned about mana I see it everywhere.


We round Piercy Island and Cape Brett and it’s official Dazzler has reached the Bay of Islands! WOOHOO! We’re so excited to be here after all we’ve been through with my medical junk and a couple of boat issues. It’s difficult to explain just what it looks like here. As I keep saying it’s rocky and rough but it’s also quite beautiful. Everywhere you look there are small coves where a boat can tuck in for a night or a few weeks. It’s just magical.

Since we never have been really certain we would make it this far I guess we both just didn’t think to stop and plan where we were going to go when we got here. It’s very unlike us not to have some sort of plan but here we are without one. 

The winds are coming out of the southeast so we take to one of the cruising guidebooks and start looking for a place to spend the night. We finally settle on Paradise Bay which is on the west side of Urupukapuka Island. Yeah…say that three times fast! As we make the turn from Albert Channel to head to the anchorage we notice quite interestingly that there are boats anchored in the bays on either side of Paradise Bay but none actually in it. Hmmmm….Is it because there’s some issue that we don’t know? It’s always hard to tell with these things.

We decide we’re going to take our chances. After all, we prefer an isolated anchorage to one teeming with other yachts. We head in to find a place to drop the hook. This is where it gets a little odd for the Dazzler crew. You see, we’re not used to anchoring in shallow water. We draw 1.8 meters (6 feet) but we typically like to anchor in 5-7 meters. Being off shore a little has its advantages and disadvantages but the biggest advantage is that if you do drag your anchor you have some room between you and the shoreline. And, we don’t mind a little rolling at anchor. That’s what reminds us that we are actually on a boat.

Here at Paradise Bay in order to get into the bay and get protection from the shore you have to come in pretty far. It’s shallow everywhere here so we are actually anchored in 3 meters which is feels strange to us. From what we understand this is going to be the norm as we move around the islands. Either the bays will be shallow and require shallow anchoring or, as in the case of Marlborough Sound, they will be very deep so you will need to get close to shore to find anything shallow enough to drop your anchor. You also need to be close enough to get a line to shore because the winds coming off the mountains can be fierce. Of course this is all just part of the adventure.

For now, we’re enjoying this peaceful bay all by ourselves as we sit back with a couple of anchor down beers and delight in the fact that our circumnavigation has truly begun!

Until next time,

Jilly & Dan

Coming through the pass at Albert Channel in the Bay of Islands…Click Below For Video

Author: Dan & Jilly

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