Category Archives: Marine

Wind for Everyone

The last few weeks has found us at Takapuna Holiday Park a few days a week while Fiona is at work. We’re right next to the Boat Ramp where there is never a dull moment. It has been hot with very little wind… until now 🙂 And its really nice.

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Ringside seat

Looking out of the front windows towards Rangitoto Island, you see Windsurfers and Kite Boarders mostly now on foils taking advantage of the wind, and its great to watch. Some of them doing tricks too, like leaping out of the water and doing complete turns. A couple of them were sailing backwards and forwards for about half an hour without even getting wet.. amazing.

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Its really entertaining and most nights you can see a small regular bunch of people just coming down to the ramp to watch.

As the sun goes down

Foiling has really changed the nature of sailing everywhere and it is magic being able to watch it from our ringside seat in Rafe.

Takapuna Beach

Everyone has a Jetty

Over our boating years, both Alan and I have had some amazing moments in both Bon Accord harbour at Kawau and around Kawau so being  driven around on the ferry so we could have a good look with a commentary was a real treat.

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Lidgards and Kawau Yacht club

Alan does one of the biggest, if not the biggest Wooden Boating Blogs around called and was on the Classic Yacht Association committee with me for several years.  We have been known to sneak away in Rafe for the odd boys trip which are always fun!

We left Rafe about 9:30 from the Sandspit Holiday Park and wandered along the road to the wharf to get our tickets and check in.  So after having a cuppa at the café on the wharf we set off about 10:30 for Kawau.

Mansion House

Being an Island and only accessible by boat, Kawau Island has only a handful of roads and a handful of vehicles.

His and Hers

Almost all the houses only have water only access and the way they’ve been built either on top of a hill with their own chairlifts (think electric Wheely Bin on a rail 🙂 ) with a jetty at the bottom or on the water. Some of them are amazing but I suspect most would be either baches, occupied by retired folk or who don’t have to commute.

Kawau Yacht Club

We were on the Royal Mail boat which started at Vivian Bay in the north and worked its way around to Bon Accord Harbour and Mansion House Bay and then down to South Cove where there was mail to be dropped off. On the way back to Mansion House Bay for lunch, we passed the Old Copper Mine.

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Kawau was huge source of copper in the mid 1800’s with a community of around 300 related to the Mine and its output at its peak. By the 1800’s it all fizzled out and most of the miners moved on to the Gold Fields.

The remains of the Copper Mine

After a walk around the Mansion House and the coffee shop, we eventually made our way back to the ferry. It was nice barrelling along at 15 knots in the sun with a glass of Pinot Gris in hand.

Alan getting off the Ferry
Friendly Peacocks on the lawn

We walked back to Rafe in the Sandspit Holiday Park and prepared ourselves for a meal at Sandspit Yacht Club.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Busy with the Boats

Tim and Annette, my younger Aussie based brother and his wife had been over for the weekend but they were busy doing their own thing so we thought we’d escape from the house and head off to an Auckland City Park. We were headed for Shakespear Park at the end of the Whangaparoa Peninsula, North of Auckland city.

Rafe in the trees

We had the last park left available as they had restricted the CSC parking to 10 Motorhomes due to the amount of water from the recent heavy rain. It was busier than I’ve ever seen it and most had opted to park on the gravel parks where they could. One of the more obvious vehicles there was Roy and Bernice Vannini who were camp hosts.

The city doesn’t seem far away

While the weather was good, I went for my customary walks around to see what was happening. There was action everywhere as there were more tan 300 odd sea scouts in boats at the main camp at the other end of the beach. They were having a great time in their boats with plenty of people around in rescue craft keeping an eye on them. Others were just enjoying the beach and the park.

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Its a lovely spot and its the first time I’ve seen it this busy.

Looking great

Bernice and Roy came over to catch up which was fantastic as I’ve been following their blog over the last year or so. They’re fulltimers and have been for years in their 10m American Bus. Tons of room and they’ve done a lovely job of making it work for them. They’ve recently done a 3 month Motorhome trip around Europe so Fiona and I were keen to hear how they went and mistakes not to make 🙂 We’re heading over there in June and really looking forward to it.  It sounds like they had a great trip and they gave us heaps of ideas and tips, books to read and so on. Very helpful !

Shakespear is a funny place where the Internet is concerned as the first time we came here was without aerials and we got a very slow connection, useable but just ! The second time was later last year and we couldn’t get anything.. with aerials but without the patch for the aerials so I suspect they weren’t working. This time, it was pretty good for a known problem area,  but we’ve got the aerials working well now  but it was slow but usable and it seemed reliable. A tricky wee spot!

With Tim and Annette coming in for tea for their last night in NZ and after having a cup of tea in the morning with Roy and Bernice, we headed back to town.

Checking it all out

Its always nice coming to Shakespear and its so close too.

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The image from Rafes Tracker.

Rafes Track .. the red dots showing where I went faster than 90k!

A Classic trip to the Riverhead Pub

With the All Blacks losing to Ireland and the weather forecast looking miserable, you could have easily flagged the day as one for the slippers and the fireplace but when the call goes out for the Classic Launches Riverhead trip, it is one not to be missed!

Trinidad under way with the Bridge and City behind
Trinidad under way with the Bridge and City behind

Fiona and I have done this for years, usually twice a year and it never disappoints.  See a previous trip here.

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riverheadClassic boat owners Paula and Stephen Pepperill sold their Classic Yacht to renovate their newly purchased Riverhead Hotel and have done a stunning job in rescuing it after years of being run down and neglected. These days, ferry loads of passengers make the day trip from Auckland to have a great lunch with a few drinks and to enjoy the river trip. It has also become one of the more popular trips for the Classic Yacht Launches too.

Where we went.. From Bayswater to Riverhead and back.
Where we went.. From Bayswater to Riverhead and back.

Its always a fun event and can be quite nerve racking for the novices as the channel is quite narrow in places and can be only a 1 metre or so deep in places so its a great event for confidence building and to join in with a new adventure.

At Lucas Creek .. half way. Dani, Grant, Robyn and Fiona with Trinidad behind.
At Lucas Creek .. half way.
Dani, Grant, Robyn and Fiona with Trinidad behind.

Fiona and I decided to take Rafe down to the marina carpark and stay two nights so we could get away early and stay the night after.

Juanita with Rangitoto behind
Juanita with Rangitoto behind

We were meeting Alan and his wife Robyn on their 28ft 1928 Lanes tramtop at the marina at 9.00am. Friends Dani and Grant were going to be there too.  Alan was Launch Captain of the CYA (Classic Yacht Association) for 4 years after my 2 years as LC, and Alan, Grant and I have done lots of boating together when I had Rorqual.

Launch captain, Angus Rogers Mahunui
Launch captain, Angus Rogers Mahunui

We met under the centre span of the Auckland Harbour Bridge and at 09:30, Alan led the way up to the first meeting point at Lucas creek, about half way where we were meeting several other boats and their crews.

On the way to Riverhead
On the way to Riverhead
Raindance at the wahrdf with others jostling for a park
Raindance at the wharf with others jostling for a park

In the well sheltered upper harbour, the water was calm and there was very little wind. About an hour later, everyone was jockeying for a parking spot, some rafting with friends and the Tino Rawa Trust tender Whistleblower was on hand to ferry people into the Pub’s jetty.

About 100 people turned up, some by car as well. There was a band playing, the sun made an appearance and it was a great few hours of catching up with old friends and meeting a few new people too.

About 2pm (1.5hrs after full tide), many started to leave before the creek ran out of water 🙂  We had a fun trip back with a couple of drinks, some Sausage Rolls and some chocolates and strawberries which Fiona had prepared.

Time to go, Grant stand and Fiona sitting waiting to go.
Time to go, Grant standing and Fiona sitting waiting to go.

We stepped off the boat to a hot shower and a cup of coffee after a neat day out. Thanks for a great day out on the water Robyn and Alan,  and its always fun to see Grant and Dani too.

There are more images on Alans blog

Waterfront Parking

Sandspit Holiday Park is one of those places I’ve wanted to try out for months so I was chuffed when I found a good reason to stay here and with reasonable weather too.

It is an easy walk to the wharf for ferrys to Kawau so its well placed if you want to do a day or two at the Island. Its also an easy walk to the Sandspit Yacht club and the brand new marina that has just opened there.

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Our spot near the water
Our spot near the water

We dropped in out of the blue after a few days of heavy rain so we were walked down to check the grass waterfront parks to see if they were up to handling Rafe’s weight. With plenty of gravel and sand about, I decided it felt pretty solid and we’d give it a go.

Neat Cottages that you can stay in all along the waterfront.
Neat Cottages that you can stay in all along the waterfront.

As it was off peak in winter, the cost for two of us was $32 with power for the night which I thought was great value.

After settling down Rafe, plugging in and opening hatches, I went for a walk with the camera.

They have some amazing quirky cottages and the buildings are great. There is even Horace the Morris parked in the grass.


The ablution block is almost brand new and the shower and toilets are amazing.

Bring the boat in
Bring the boat in

We went for a walk before the sun went down to the ferry jetty where boaties were coming in and a few were fishing.

A really interesting place.  We’re planning to go back with the Grandies as they could easily stay in one of the many cottages there.

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A Latte in a Small Town

On our way North, we stopped in at Warkworth.  It’s been a while since I’ve been to Warkworth as its one of those towns that you tend to drive through rather than stop at and it never disappoints. 

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The River
The River

We parked down by the river where there is one big Motohome park which Rafe fits in like a glove. It must be 7.6m long 🙂 

Our carpark by the river
Our carpark by the river

We went for a walk along the river side and then around to a French cafe in the town. I couldn’t believe how many Cafes and Real Estate agents there are in Warkworth. The Cafes are pretty much all next door to each other too. 

After a nice lunch, we went for a walk around the shops and then we headed back down to the river to Rafe. 

WarkworthIt’s all looking very nice. The council have done a great job with local business’s contributing to the costs. It seem to be enjoyed by many while we were there and is a really nice place for lunch or just a stopping off point.

Motorhome Parking
Motorhome Parking

There is also motorhome parking at the end of the main shopping road within walking distance to the river.

New at the Spit

We were very lucky to be invited along to the opening of the new Sandspit Marina, hosted by the Sandspit Yacht club. Rob and Helens friend, Bruce who is Commodore of the Yacht club and along with his wife Glenys and their team, they did a great job of hosting several hundred people for drinks and nibbles at the opening.

The scene
The scene

The Marina has taken a few years to come together so it must been pleasing to get it open for all those involved. It also provides 130 berths for those at nearby Kawau Island and Yacht club members for their boats.

While we were there, I bumped into my old Classic Yacht owner friend, Steve who had his boat pulled out on the hard stand at Sandspit.  It was really nice to catch up and good to hear the CYA Classic Register which I started with fellow launchie Alan, is in good hands as Steve has taken this on for this years edition.

The Marina
The Marina

A great do and a nice Marina and great asset for boaties in the region. Well done Bruce and team and thanks for having us at the opening.