The next morning was grey, and some chilly looking seagulls were trying to make their home on the dinghy. We realised that our provisioning hadn't included tea, coffee or tomato sauce for the bacon butties, and the prospect of obtaining any didn't look good. The wind was pretty good though, and the yacht clubs were making the most of it. We headed to Waiheke, trying to stay out of the way of the ferry channel and the racers. The sun came out and the day felt very different- even warm- and it was beautiful as we rounded Waiheke to moor at Oneroa
. Sara, Si and I decided that a second morning without coffee and ketchup wasn't a possibility, so we rowed to shore in order to wander into town and get some. Or rather, Si rowed into town. But Sara and I were good at helpful advice.
We treated ourselves to coffees in town (although our inability to survive 24 hours without cappucino seemed a sign of severe Aucklandisation). But it was very good coffee. We provisioned up, then faced the problem of trying to get the dinghy out over the surf. We all got very wet, and the few people on the beach got very amused watching us falling in as the dinghy got tossed back to shore. Finally a helpful chap with a dog suggested going farther round the beach to where the waves were gentler. Sure enough, the plan was successful. Then we just needed to remember which boat was ours. I swear they moved while we were away. Si's arm muscles were glad to get back on board Fourth Dimension, but at least we had the essentials to accompany our breakfast teh next morning.
The sunset was glorious, tea was yummy (and plentiful- of course- as I was cooking). Beer and wine were consumed and the second night's sleep was mauch gentler. The next day was beautiful, the boys even risked a swim in the morning. Si made a beautiful long dive into teh water... then surfaced with an expression of being frozen. I swear he ran on the water to get back to the boat, and his hands barely touched the side as he leaped on board. Breakfast was perfect (coffee and ketchup made all the difference), and after checking the weather we decided to head farther round Waiheke to Palm Beach, and return to Auckland late afternoon.
We swam again at Palm Beach
. Si repeated his walking on water act, and I was pleased that I had brought my shortie; I had a great swim! We decided Brown's Island could be a great spot for a late lunch and moved on. However, by the time we got there the weather had changed quite severely; the wind was blowing up and the sea was choppy. We stayed on the yacht and ate hurridly, before setting sail back to Auckland. We soon needed to reef the main, and before long it became clear that the genoa was too much for the increasingly heavy winds. Which is when things started to go wrong- we'd had trouble with the self furler jamming, and of course it chose now to do so. We were listing over an uncomfortably long way- far enough that we were beyond the measurements on the dial (45 degrees if I recall rightly). We were all in life jackets and Rick instructed me in how to call the coast guard. Waves were coming up over the sides and we were getting soaked. Rick stayed calm and tried to instruct the others in how to untangle the self furler, but it soon became apparent that we needed to be somewhere more sheltered in order to unjam the mechanism. Calmer meant getting uncomfortably close to land off North Head. Sara and I were sent downstairs to be out of the way and man the radio just in case. The water covering the portholes and the rattle of pans trying to fall out of cupboards were not comforting. Rick did donuts, keeping a careful eye on the draught beneath us, and, remarkably calmly, talked the guys through what they needed to do. Finally ropes were untangled, the genoa was reefed and we could continue back to Auckland. Rick had done very well at instructing an inexperienced crew, and we had all managed not to panic. It was quite a relief to get ashore, but it had been an adventure, and we all had exciting stories to tell at work on Monday!
As spring was springing, we decided on another yacht chartering adventure round the islands. Fourth Dimension was our vessel again, and Keith, Sara, Simon and Nick were crewing along with me, with Rick as skipper. We set off on Friday night and moored at Islington Bay, nestled between Rangitoto and Motahe. The evening was grey and the night fairly rocky, with Rick and Keith needing to get up to investigate clanky noises and make sure the anchor was holding.