Swell: small E
Wind: light to mod SE
Distance: 32 NM
Camp: Lynnette and Doug’s
Meal: BBQ chicken and Zuchini, with Fejoa (a south American fruit, very common in NZ) Crumble and ice cream for desert
Impression: Bloody awesome, so yummy! “ I could have eaten the dessert all night” ~ Dave, Thanks Lynnette
Stars: 10 out of 10
Walking the Estuary!
We set off relatively early today, intending to get the set distance done in good time, though the wind quickly picked up and was in our face all morning. We seemed to be struggling to get our distance, yesterday it was the same, we paddled and we just didn’t seem to make good head way. Yesterday we just managed over 20 NM though felt like it should have been more. By the time we reached the northern opening to Matakana estuary, it was already 4pm, we had slogged it out and still had another 9 NM to our destination, 3 hours at a good pace, though to top it off the tide was ebbing, so we had to fight the current into the estuary, slowing us even more.
The estuary was beautiful and big, with lots of green rolling hills and little villages scattered along its shores, kids swam and fished from the rocks, boats trolled for fish. As we got deeper in, mangroves started to appear, and so did mudflats, with the usual shore birds; Oyster catchers, Pied Stilts, Herons, Ducks and Black Swans. We paddled further south and started encountering, shallow patches and channel markers and parts we got stuck on, and discovered a labyrinth of ways to get around. we needed to use our charts to get through here, though mine showed the middle of the estuary dry at low tide, oh shit really! We never thought to check as everyone had told us to go that way to get a break from the waves; no one mentioned it dried up, so we never checked!
Sure enough, as we funneled into the only marked channel we could find, we eventually found ourselves walking our boats through a shallow canal right on sunset. An unexpected, beautiful adventure, the lighting was stunning, the walk novel and much enjoyed by our legs and backsides, though we where late, it was 8pm and we still weren’t at Doug and Lynnette’s. I called to say we are a couple of hours off, and they were ok with it. The sun went down just as we reached the deeper southern part of the lagoon again, and we paddled across glass flat water that reflected the lavender clouds in the sky, truly a beautiful night.
We eventually found ourselves paddling in the pitch black, via GPS to the area Lynnette had described, we found Doug on the beach flashing a torch to signal us in, and the boats where loaded on a trailer and we were taken up to the house at 10pm for a hot shower and an amazing dinner and dessert. To top it off, Doug and Lynnette had waited to eat with us as well, geez now we felt bad. “No worries!” they both exclaimed. “We are sailors, we now sometimes delays happen”.
We had a great night chatting away until midnight, and then we all went to sleep well feed and happy at making new friends. No rush on leaving tomorrow though.