Great Barrier Island
Trip Start Sep 27, 2008
20Trip End Ongoing
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Port Fizroy is a township in Kiwi terms, a village by English standards. Nestled above the water and beneath the hills, it has everything it needs; store-cum-post office-cum baitshop- cum liquor store, with a library and a doctors and a burger bar (summer only) and yacht club (Winter hours). There are some lovely walks, including a pretty trail through the bush to a waterfall, with birdsong all the way. We spent a day trying to fish round Abercrombie Pass, whilst I tried to master a downwind broad reach; success with the sail control but not with the fishing. We took the dinghy to fish for snapper amongst the mussel farms- nibbles but no bites. We drank scrumpy on the bench outside the store and somehow got the dinghy back to Prism.
When we did catch fish, it was a kahawai- so off to Smokehouse Bay. We roasted a chunk of it over an open fire, with kumera (sweet potatoes) and veggies. The rest went into the smokehouse, whilst we kept the stove for the bathhouse stoked up and I enjoyed a good soak
Our journey to Whangaparapara met with beautiful winds, some swell and my first ever fish- a small tuna. Sushi for lunch! I followed it with a larger tuna, a skipjack. They were pretty easy to catch- just get the boat fast enough then reel them in. My sailing had more to do with my success than my fishing ability. The next bite turned out to be something big. Something beneath the water was pulling and fighting. I braced myself against the rails and tried to keep control of the rod- an old 'knuckle-buster' where the reel would run free if I let the fish have its way. After a good few minutes of fighting and hauling, I could see the silhouette of the creature. I was hoping for a kingfish- great eating! It broke the water. Shark! A metre long mako, pissed off and displaying its three rows of teeth. The challenge now became getting the weighty monster close enough to the boat that it could be released from the hook, whilst hopefully keeping the skipper's hook and lure, and not losing any fingers... For a few minutes we were at an impasse- sharky couldn't get away, I couldn't quite haul him up enough for Jim to cut him free. Then, to the relief of all concerned, he fell off the hook. Sharky disappeared into the blue and I got my first good fishing story.
Whangaparapara was a neat spot
Our sail back to Auckland took 7 hours. A beam reach, fighting the gusting wind the whole way, my improved sailing ability was pushed. Two reefs in the main and full jib, my challenge was to keep us from being sucked too far into the wind, so we maintained speed, whilst avoiding crash gybing. It was a good learning curve, and an even steeper one for Jill when she was passed the helm after 5 hours. We came into Westhaven marina as night fell, having hooked two tuna earlier. We moored up and celebrated with fresh sushi and red wine. It was another very solid night's sleep.