Tag: sailing

Summer 2020 – 2021: Swallows and Amazons

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Kerikeri & Russell

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Sailing out in the bay

Saturday was the Tall Ships Race in Russell. Chris and Ross were back in the harbour and invited us to join them on their boat. The plan was to sail out into the bays and then watch the other boats as they raced by then go to the Yacht Club shindig in the evening. We booked into the Top Ten Holiday Park in Russell so we could roll back to the van after the shindig and then we met Chris and Ross in Russell. We sat for a while on the jetty and watched the gannets diving. They are incredible – just circling around until they spot something then like a bullet straight down into the sea.

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We headed out in the dinghy to the Sula that was anchored in the bay. Since the wind was pretty much non-existent we motored out for a while until the wind seemed to pick up enough to move under sail. It was lovely just sitting out on the wee bit of deck (I’m sure it has a proper name!), eating our lunch and catching up with Chris and Ross. We watched as the Tall Ships (most of them were just yachts but I think there was at least one official ‘Tall Ship”) sailed on out. The course had been shortened due to the lack of wind so we soon saw the front runners coming back again.

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We headed out to Motuarohia (Roberton) Island where we anchored and then went onto the island to explore. There is a short walk with information boards that takes you up to the site of a Pā. The information boards are quite a work of art – images cut into rusted steel and then layered to give a 3D effect, but unfortunately, don’t provide any information about the island before Captain Cook arrived. Interestingly, this website starts by describing how the island had been inhabited for centuries by Māori but follows up by saying that the island was ‘first discovered’ by Captain Cook!

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The view from the top is indeed spectacular and we spent some time up there working out the lie of the land and recognising places like Cape Brett, Moturoa Island, Urupukapuka. These were all places we had visited last year. We knew Tania and Scott were staying on Urupukapuka again and we wondered if on a beautiful day like today they would be out fishing. As we headed back down the hill, I heard a shriek – it was Tania and Scott coming up the hill! What a coincidence. It turns out that we had probably just passed another friend but deep in conversation, we had missed her. Tania saw her at the top and sent me a message but by then we were back on the boat!

09/365 9th January 2021
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Looking over to Moturoa and Cape Brett

Chris and I decided that a swim was in order and we dived off the boat. So good! The sun was definitely over the yardarm and so once back on the boat we cracked open a G & T. Perfect!

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Back in Russell, we had dinner on the boat and then dinghied over to the Yacht Club to party into the night!

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We met up with Chris and Ross the next morning for breakfast before hitting the road back home. It was so good catching up again. Now that we’re all on the same island, we might see more of each other!

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A Tale of Great Barrier Island by Gus

Aonghasfaunafriends

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For five weeks in June and July 2014 I went with 29 other boys and two teachers from school to Great Barrier Island  in the Hauraki Gulf.  We were there to learn some new skills, have fun, learn about the community who live there and be challenged.

I flew on to Great Barrier Island (GBI) on a tiny little plane, it looked and felt dodgy.  It was a noisy plane so we got given ear muffs.  Mr Hall,  Aaron and I landed at GBI “international” airport, and drove about 1h to Orama.  We arrived at night and put our bags in cabins and went to tea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe went on two long uphill walks on Saturday and Sunday with just the teachers because the OPC staff were having a break from the girls trip.  Coopers Castle was a long, very steep walk with great views at the top.  We had to keep away from the edge because there was a big cliff with a huge drop but there was a great view over Okiwi.  It was hard to walk up because it was so steep and we had to scramble parts of it.  On Monday we had the power and water tour and it showed us that Orama gets their water from a stream and power from a generator because they don’t have mains electricity.

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Next Monday we went on our first expedition.  My group walked one and a half hours to a bay.  We found a big dead  mako shark on the beach. and mussel barrels that we kept throwing into the sea and they would float back into shore. We descoverd some good climbing rocks that we scrambled on. We also found some kina it looked like a hard spiky ball but you open it with 2 spoons and there is a mussle like fish inside which Teina ate. Mitchell also caught a rat with his bare hands and strangled it to death.

When we got back to Orama it started raining that night. It got really windy and rainy on Wednesday.  We practised how to belay then went white water rafting (aka brown water floating) down the so-called stream that became a river.  It wasn’t very fun and we got  cold,  wet and numb and then we had to carry the kayaks back to the trailer .

On Wednesday night at 11:59 pm we were awoken from our sleep and were evacuated to the Orama lounge because there was a big storm.  We had to get dressed quickly – luckily I had my waterproof trousers so I pulled them on over my fat pants, grabbed my sleeping bag and rain jacket and followed the adult with the torch – we had no idea where we were going because it was dark and wild.  It was tipping it down with rain, my cabin was shaking in the wind. it was kind of scary but not really, it was more exciting than scary.  In the morning  there was mud everywhere, tractors,  trees and a generator were washed out to sea.  We sat in Orama lounge all day because it was too dangerous to go outside because of all the debris around.teenage boys holding mops as if they were soldiers

The next day we helped Orama clean up. My group had the hardest task of cleaning the classroom and gym, which had knee deep mud and took 3 days to get out of the classroom. Then we ripped up the carpet and cleaned the walls. The tables and the couches had been washed from the classroom through the gym and into the foyer on the other side of the gym. I found my student book outside with mud all through it and soaking wet.

great barrier clean up

My group spent 4 days shoveling mud while group 3 went to Glenfern and got on TV, but luckily TV3  came to Orama for a little bit and we were on TV too. Glenfern is an island wildlife sanctuary that Scott and Emma look after, they are trying to regenerate the native populations of NZ  birds and skinks.  I found a Chevron Skink buried in the mud at Glenfern; they are very rare and so it was quite exciting finding one. 10502489_242198045974132_7513004355070039754_n

Shoveling mud was boring but seeing what we accomplished felt great. Orama lounge became our new hang out space which was way cooler than the old classroom. Unfortunately, there wasn’t another gym that we could use.

Sea kayaking was the most challenging activity and I didn’t really like it because we got wet and cold.  The day we did it, it was really windy, there were salty big waves and a big swell.  We had to turn back because it was too rough – the waves were 3m high they had big white caps and the wind was 50 knots gusting to 65 knots.

I loved coasteering, it was so much fun and I want to do it again.  It was epic getting pulled in and pushed out in the swell.  I jumped in off some rocks that were 9m high.  I did a swan dive off a 4m high rock – I was a bit sore after the swan dive but it was great fun.

10336627_236232233237380_5175793285606235730_nMy favourite was surf kayaking and I really want to do it again.  It was brilliant  catching the waves and getting tipped!  I got quite good at it and I came 3rd in competition but I got the highest score  of 7.5.  We had to different heats and do tricks but it was timed and I lost in the semi-final.

Sailing was fun but scary because we were in the middle of the ocean with big waves and it felt like we were going to flip.  I didn’t want to be the first to capsize but once we did, we realised that it was quite good fun and we did it lots!  The thing is once you flip you aren’t supposed to stay in the boat or the boat ends up completely upside down.  But my partner stayed in the boat and it completely tipped it so then we had to stand on top of the upside down boat to try to get it back the right way up!  It was hard but we did it.

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