Great Barrier Island, New Zealand
Since we’ve been back, we’ve been living on the boat at Marsden Cove Marina. The Marina is part of a larger canal development, which has been built by a developer, Leigh Hopper, who we’d seen coming and going in his helicopter when we were here last year. Leigh has a 65-foot game fishing boat that he parks outside his Marsden Cove canal-front house and he invited us out for the weekend, to head over to Great Barrier Island (about 50 miles away) for a raft up with a bunch of other ‘stink-boaters’.
We like to think our boat is quite quick – hey, we averaged 10 knots over 24 hours. Ha ha. On Leigh’s boat, we were doing 35 knots, planing and kicking up a huge rooster tail. So what if it burns 250 litres of fuel an hour!? (By contrast, we carry 1000 litres in total and that got us from Tonga to New Zealand. 1000 litres would get Leigh’s boat to Great Barrier and back). More to the point, he throws it around like a little jet boat (he also likes rally car driving), shooting through narrow rock clefts and backing it into rock holes like reversing a car into a garage.
Great Barrier Island is very beautiful – it reminds me a bit of Pittwater. It was a fun weekend, with around a dozen boats all rafted up together. A couple of boats had been diving for crayfish and shared those around and we went fishing for snapper – caught about a dozen in a couple of hours, including a couple up around the 5kg mark.
We stopped at ‘the Mokes’ (Mokohinau Islands) – an extraordinary outcrop of rocky islets that I’d love to go and explore further – on the way back to Marsden Cove. Leigh squeezed the boat between some boulders and dropped anchor for lunch. The boat swung around on the anchor and we could – literally – touch the rocks off the back of the boat, but that seemed to be no cause for concern! It made us feel like right muppets, since we’d never have the audacity to take our boat into somewhere like that… but also gave us a bit of a confidence boost: maybe one day??
I’ve attached a couple of pix of the weekend here.
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