Our last several days of Cruising

After our walk on Friday and lunch we headed off towards Waiheke Island at 1:30. We sailed a bit over 10 miles to Rotoroa Island with the R3 and main. The breeze picked up near the end and we reached speeds of 20kts. We anchored in Home Bay off Rotoroa Island. For over 100 years Rotoroa was the Salvation Army’s alcohol and drug rehabilitation center for men. See the sign in the pictures below. Today it is a very different place, a wildlife sanctuary run by the Rotoroa Island Trust together with the Auckland Zoo and Department of Conservation. A consistent theme in NZ, over half the island has been replanted with more than 400,000 native plants and common and rare native birds are making a comeback in this predator-free environment. (information learned from ‘A Walk a Day’ book)

Phil and I went to shore to walk the South Loop visiting the unique sculpture by Chris Booth on the route. The next day I walked the North Loop which was shorter but also offered nice views.

Video of our sail across the Hauraki Gulf from the Coromandel to Rotoroa, over 20kts at times near the end

Saturday after my walk and Nikolai’s run we pulled up anchor about 10:30 and sailed with C3 only downwind and then a reach to Putiki Bay on the southwest side Waiheke Island arriving about noon. The winds were still strong from the NE so the Bay offered some protection. We had plans to go to Man ‘O War vineyard again for some wine and snacks with some friends that afternoon. Mike, our American, NZ based friend of all of ours at this point, brought his truck over from the mainland for the weekend so he joined us and gave us a ride. It was a half hour drive over a good part of the island, much of it on a gravel road to get there. Freddie stayed with the boat to be sure it was ok in the winds. We met some NZ friends at the vineyard who our crew met when they first got here in November (they had also joined us on Arethusa for a race day). We enjoyed some wine, food and camaraderie. They live south of Auckland on a farm and brought over their horses for a charity race the next day in Onetangi Bay on the north side of Waiheke. That would be the activity for Sunday. After our return to the boat, I stayed aboard while everyone else went out for dinner and some games of pool in the nearby town of Ostend. The next day, Sunday, we piled into Mike’s truck and headed to Onetangi Bay Beach for the festivities. We watched our friends girls race their horse and pony. Kat ran in one of the races. She grew up riding and obviously knows horses! They have a beautiful thoroughbred spirited horse and a black and white pony. The thoroughbred, Red, won all his races. He went by so fast I couldn’t get a video! Their cousin has a retired thoroughbred that was not cooperating for the day so didn’t race. We also saw pony cart races, old tractor races and Thundercat (boats) races. It was a charity event for the Rotary Club on Waiheke. Check out the videos below the slideshow.

Video Thundercats race
Video of our friend Mia placing 2nd only by a half a head on her black and white pony

Back to Auckland

We headed back to the boat and pulled up anchor about 2:30 pm. We had a nice jib only sail back to Auckland arriving in the Viaduct about 4pm. See the chart below to follow the route we took over 10 days.

Seal keeping guard at the entrance to Waitemata Harbour, Auckland
Back at our home away from home under the NZ base

We will spend the week in Auckland catching up on things, having dinners with departing friends, trying to see a few museums and packing for our journey back to the U.S. on Sunday, April 4th. Arethusa will load on to a ship back to the U.S. early May as of the latest. We won’t know the exact dates or port of arrival in the U.S. until the ship is organized.

We have had an amazing journey here in New Zealand for the past four months. I may have a few more odd posts as I review the many pictures I took along the way.

Thanks for following the Adventures of Arethusa!

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