Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Wednesday 9th April 2014
To continue on from last post, we ended up at Hen & Chicken Islands and anchored at the entrance to the gap between the two just on dark.  It had all good signs of having fish and I wasted no time in setting a berley up and let it work while I got a few jobs done.  I was soon back to the fishing though and quickly had a pink snapper coming up, but as he got closer to the surface I saw 2 yellowtail kingie’s swimming up behind it! 
I have never caught one and New Zealand is famous for them, these 2 were only small though and try as I might, I couldn’t hook one.  I jigged away with no success until my other rod in the holder with a bait out went off, i quickly grabbed it and started trying to get this fish off the bottom, it was solid.  It fought hard all the way and I was expecting something decent, but once I got it to the surface I saw it was just a bloody big eel!  I couldn’t believe it, oh well, it put up a good fight and was released back into the sea.
I stayed up late that night with good prospects and high hopes, though after landing a number of small pinkies I was ready to pack it in for the night until I hooked, and then lost, something pretty big.  That kept me interested for another half hour before I decided to start cleaning a couple of fish.  A massive squid came in and was lurking just off the back step of the yacht, he kept taking my bait but without a squid jig it was virtually impossible!
I could have sworn I packed squid jigs…   I must own at least 20 of em and didn’t bring a single one!  Bloody hell!  Another case of what might have been, I told Jean-Paul in the morning and he quickly procured a couple of squid jigs that had never been used, where were they last night!  You gotta laugh about these things I guess!
A short trip in the next day and we were at Marsden Cove Marina near Whangerei, where we stayed until Tuesday, finalizing our arrangements to leave the country and get organized.  We worked non-stop but took a few hours off on Monday to hire a car and go hike to the summit of Mt Manaia, a stunning view awaiting us at the top after a very steep climb.
Everything on the boat was scrubbed, stowed, repaired and filled, we did our last big shop for supplies for the journey to Tonga which we are undertaking as I type.  We are roughly 160 nm (nautical miles) from Marsden Marina now after heading off around 11am yesterday.  I got the graveyard shift and have the enviable task of keeping watch during the hours of 3-7, pm and am!  I don’t mind though, I hate trying to get bits of sleep here and there but I love being up late at night, I get to be on watch for the sunrise and sunset.
I landed 2 tuna yesterday and one was only out the water 20 minutes before I turned him into a delicious pasta with tomato and capsicum.  It was very cold and windy during my early am shift, but as with the arvo watch, I just exercised and read, in between checking on things.  We made great progress during the night and were cruising at over 8 knots, the wind stayed strong and I almost had to take a reef. (yep, I’m using sailing lingo already!)
Living with these people is starting to get harder though, the night before sailing Jean-Paul and My had quite a heated argument, hopefully not a sign of things to come, she was starting to get a little bossy and irritable, I told Jean-Paul ‘there is only room for 1 skipper on the boat’.  She isn’t with us now though and will fly to Tonga to meet us there, after living on this yacht for 5 years she still gets seasick?!  It’s nice to have a bit of peace and calm on the boat!    Almost….
The mighty Mt Manaia
Almost jungle like trail on the way up
View from the top
Marsden Marina