It is exactly one month since I resigned from Diablo Publications. So much has happened during the last four weeks, from enjoying several farewell dinners with friends and family, to celebrating Thanksgiving with family in Sedona, to the frantic last minute preparations for our departure from California, to working on Wasco while she was on the hard, to our first true sailing experience on Wasco today.
We spent last night at Urquharts Bay, our first anchorage, and after a really good night’s sleep, enjoyed a fabulous breakfast cooked by Don. Afterward, we decided to make good on our earlier threat to hike the Busby Head/Smugglers Bay track, which is part of the Bream Head Scenic Reserve located at Whangarei Heads. Bream Head Scenic Reserve is one of New Zealand’s premier coastal forest reserves and is the best example of its type in Northland so there is a lot to enjoy and see on this scenic walk. It was such a fabulous walk, made even more fun by the presence of the black cows, who were as curious about us, as I was about them. In addition, thanks to Geoff, we were privileged to see a nesting owl in the old building that used to house a gun emplacement that was built during WWII. (As it turns out, this gun was only fired three times, and all for test reasons. I imagine the folks who were supposed to man the gun must have been very bored.)
When we finally returned to the boat, the decision was made to move to a new anchorage, so that we could test Wasco’s sailing abilities. (Note to self. Do not believe the weather report.) We were supposed to only experience mild wind conditions. The reality proved very different and the boys were delighted to be able to hoist the new jib! According to them, Wasco did really well this afternoon. We finally pulled in to Hen And Chickens, which is a group of islands east of Urquharts Bay. The bay that we are in, is much smaller than Urquharts Bay and unlike the latter, we are not allowed on land. This is because the island is a bird sanctuary. Since we are the only boat here, we are the sole observers of what we believe to be a plethora of nesting black-footed boobies. Judging by the cacophony of bird calls, there are obviously many other types of birds living here. I am looking forward to tomorrow morning’s wake-up symphony.
One other highlight of today was the quick dip in the ocean to rinse off the sunscreen before changing in to warmer clothes for the evening. Now enjoying my pre-dinner Gin & Tonic, while listening to Elton John and the sounds of Don and Erika making a dinner of meatloaf, steamed broccoli and smashed potatoes. And every now and again, I hear a different type of smashing, one of glass breaking as Geoff removes an old mirror in the port head, so that we can replace it with one which is more usable for short asses such as moi.
All is good and I am looking forward to dinner.