Escaping Auckland City on Thursday evening is so much easier by boat at Easter than by car! As we listen to the motorway being jamb-packed, we are untying our ropes and escaping the madness - it's a very good feeling!
We decided that Huruhi Bay, Waiheke was the direction we want to head, so after hoisting our main and jib we headed off down the harbour. Wind ranged from 8 - 23knots! More settled once we got clear of North Head into a great sailing breeze and we managed to make it around the beacon at Browns Island at a pinch. It's always great to pick a boat ahead of you and make a 'goal' to catch them. No we weren't racing but it's only natural isn't it? Saw a spectacular sun setting (looked like an 'eye' from the distance) and about 15mins later the rather large moon rising, very cool.
The 'eye of the tiger' sunset.
Playing ashore at Huruhi Bay, Waiheke Island, Hauraki Gulf
Kids finding lots of sea slugs.
Cockles in my flippers! Blake helps collect cockles for lunch.
Freya helping locals netters Micky & Mike return all the baby flounder that were netted and released them back into the sea
Dougal & Naomi, enjoying another great evening & catch up!
Bob the hoon - going twice our speed!
Luke, Cathy, Sam and Pete and our crew aboard 'Mama Tried.'
Climbing the first hill wasn't too bad, but not actually knowing if it was the right track was the tricky bit. Using the GPS on the phone helped to see how far it was! After we were nearly there we actually found out from the farmer that we were trespassing and we were not allowed to go this way! He saw the kids and took pity as we were nearly there, so let us carry on through his property! (thank goodness), so just over the hill was Stony Batter. Even though I had 'googled' the directions there were no tracks or websites indicating any tracks from any of the bays other than Man O War Bay. So we were under the impression that the road was the way to go (and there were no signs ashore or up the track)....
Freya showing us the way along the cow trodden path
Little Explorers, even equipped with the appropriate stick (and dog)
View back over the bay from the first hill we climbed, Mazuran just above the trees
Camp Mother, Freya shows us the way up the 'pink' road
Explorer Blake, going his own way up
I just have to stop for a bit of 'rabbit' to keep me going.
Horses on the hill
Finally made it to Stony Batter!
Gun Emplacement 2
Going down the ladder to the gun base.
Checking out the area where the gun used to be housed
Running down hill avoiding sheep droppings!
Local resident, a NZ Weka.
Remarkable rock outcrops on top of the hill.
Show us the way!
I'm the king of the castle!
Big rock, bid mind.
Found it Mum! Freya was our "Dora the Explorer Camp Mother post finder"!
Blake at Opopo Bay, investigating the stream
So for anyone wanting to go to Stony Batter, head to Opopo Bay, as there is a track that is signposted with orange markers. This will lead you through the bush, over the hill up to a very stony ridge and down the other side to the actually Stony Batter with the tunnels. To enter the museum I think it was 0.50c each and the tunnels were about $25.00 for two adults and two children. $8.00 each for adults otherwise - but check out the website for more info on admission prices. Take your own dolphin style torch and possibly two if you want good light. Headlamps are not as good apparently. A lot of people do recommend the tunnel trip but allow yourself between 30 mins to 1 hour to explore and make it your worth while.
We didn't actually do the tunnels, but sat in the gun emplacements and had a good nosy around while enjoying the view! Even the kids coped great as it was over a 5km walk! We headed down the Opopo bay track and walked around the rocks to retrieve the dinghy. Lovely walk and lovely view!
Craig was working Monday so we decided we had better not linger any longer at Waiheke and make our way to the Viaduct. Hoisting sails and enjoying a drift down the Waiheke Channel we saw our friend Andy & his family on their boat Te Kuiti enjoying the downwind gybing legs by flying a geneka. (We still managed to catch him on the reach though).
Had a great sail up until just past Devonport when the wind died out. A fantastic weekend! Happy Easter!