Another early start but this time up at 3:45am for a 4am departure to Gisborne! A 12 hour journey. Left Hicks Bay in the dark so not much to report heading out of there. Gorgeous start to the day. We knew from the weather that it was likely to be really good weather most of the way and that it would begin to get quite windy closer to Gisborne. It felt like we were running towards the weather as quickly as we could to be able to get out of it, and into the shelter of Gisborne.
I was able to cook and with the roll of the boat, the eggs scrambled themselves!
Got to see the sunrise at East Cape as we cut inside of East Island. We noted from the chart that there were strong tidal currents in this channel and were slowed down to 6kts SOG (Speed over Ground) in the last hour of the tide! Stunning experience. We of course mentioned the fact that we were the first to see the sun that day! Well that’s what it felt like anyway.
Another observation was just how much land there is on the edges of our country and just how little life there seems amongst it all. Understandably there are some large farms that I’m sure make productive use of the land but it is always a reminder of how lucky we are. Driving in Auckland is one of those times we forget! Lots of little villages along the way which was nice to see.
Then a new thing happened. The sun came out! And boy was it lovely to be able to lie in the sun! Bean bag out (thanks Sam, Kate and Jen – best present ever), book out, clothes off (sorry Sam, Kate and Jen – you didn’t need to know that) – heaven. Got to have about an hour on Teak Beach (the front deck) before the southerly wind came up and made it just a little too chilly.
And… the dolphins finally came to visit! They followed for quite a way in our bow wake. No matter how many times I see dolphins, it is still a special experience. I’m sure they know they are loved and love to show off by moving among each other and jumping now and again. Gorgeous creatures.
Weather got progressively worse and, as expected, the waves were quite big about an hour out of Gisborne. There were a number of rocks, reefs and other hazards to avoid as we surfed into the Gisborne Harbour. Grant, the East Port harbour master called us to explain where we could put the boat. He described a place by a large wall. All we could see was the wall that they put tankers and old fishing boats up against. A lot of hard edges with some very large truck tyres attached to the sides as fenders. Hmmm…. we weren’t too sure about that but we really needed to get in out of the weather so decided ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ and that we’d get into the port to check it all out before worrying about it.
As we approached the entrance we saw that a tanker was being turned around in a turning bay by the port tugs. We waited a short while before deciding we had plenty of room to go behind them and continue on into the marina. Plenty of room but we totally underestimated the power of the wake from the tugs pushing the ship towards the dock. For a moment we were a little worried that we would be spun around! With some clever use of the motors and the bow thruster by Captain B, we got through it ok. In hindsight we probably should have waited but adding another hour or so to the already long day was enough encouragement to give it a go.
The phone rang and it was Grant from the marina. He said “I can see you. We can’t let you park where I told you to. Come on into the marina, go around the first pole and park in front of the fishing club.” We weren’t sure about the last minute change of plan but the spot looked great so we got in there and docked safe and sound. What a relief. Some guys off one of the many fishing boats came and helped us with the lines. Love it when that happens! Grant came running around to say that he thought we were an old fishing boat and once he saw us he said there was no way he was going to park us ‘over there’. We were stoked as we knew we’d be there for a couple of nights and to have such a great spot always helps. Not to mention the other spot would have been a disaster. Once the boat was secure we high-tailed it up to the Gisborne Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club for some well deserved refreshment.
Walking towards the club (a full 10 metre trek and the most exercise done to date on the trip), I had visions of a sleepy sports club. I was so wrong. The place was pumping. We had totally forgotten that it was Melbourne Cup day. The club was filled with people of all ages and most had gone to quite some effort to dress up, including hats and fascinators! We still had half an hour before the race was due to start. Always trying to support the local communities we opted for a Milton Chardonnay.
The sun was out and in the shelter of the marina it was hot. Really hot! All in all, a great day!