New year, New friends, New sailing adventures!

You know, that old adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained” really has merit on so many levels! This year it has gained me a new friend and sailing buddy, and a wonderful time so far aboard SY Tohora.

It all started before Xmas when, while out walking and exploring my new home town, I rocked up to a couple of blokes talking on the wharf of Port Ohope, and introduced myself. We started chatting, swapping stories and generally making friends. As one should do in a new environment.

One of them, Brett, owned the yacht tied alongside the wharf, not only owned her but built this yacht himself. He’s a fitter/welder/boiler maker, and literally put her together completely himself. An amazing achievement. So I was delighted to be shown around her and have since seen the photographic record of her build. On top of that, the longer I am on board, the more impressed I am.

However, to back up the horse a little, we did the Facebook request /accept thing, and kept in touch. Whenever the boys and I went to the port to do manus off the wharf, I’d pop in and say hi. Long story short, Brett (possibly foolishly!) said one day “feel free to join me for part of my annual trip round the Coromandel if you want”. Of course I said “I might just take you up on that!”

And so it came about, not long after New Year, upon returning from the festive season with family down South, he reiterated the offer and we decided I’d join the yacht in Whangamata.

Having discovered that the bus from Whakatane to Waihi is $70 and from Tauranga to Waihi is $15, I drove to Tauranga and bussed from there. Then I hitched to Whangamata. It took 2 rides and only a few minutes with my thumb out each time. Even the rain cleared up for that part of my trip! So the gods of hitch hiking smiled upon me once again and I arrived at a very civilised hour. Brett picked me up in his tender, we got supplies (read wine, beer and rum) and settled in to plan our next move!

I joined Tohora on Monday 14th January and am still here! We’ve had a sterling time, cemented a great friendship, work really well together and I feel I’m basically living the dream! I’ve told Brett he’s stuck with this crew till I run out of money! He seems philosophical about that!

We left Whangamata for Slipper Island, then went to Cook’s Beach in Mercury Bay, did our laundry at Peach Grove Bay and anchored in Coralie Bay. The 19th saw us heading to Coromandel Harbour via Colville Channel, where we resupplied. We’ve been stooging round here ever since. Today, the 24th, we refuelled and took on water. Tomorrow we plan to get a few more supplies in the town and then wander our way towards Auckland. We’ve had amazing weather and been well fed on kai moana! One bay supplied us with Pipis, cockles, oysters and a mussel!

The boys, bless those wonderful sons of mine, seem adorably unperturbed that I’ve disappeared into the sunset sea again! Who knows when I’ll get home!

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