Twister is now anchored off Russell in the picturesque Bay Of Islands in the northern part of the North Island. I spent close to two weeks (rough estimate) at Great Barrier Island. Very nice place, lots of cozy little anchorages, and well sheltered (the bays and coves of Port Fitzroy, that is) in a blow. I don't know what it was like out in the Hauraki Gulf since I was tucked in to a little cove in Kaiarara Bay, but there was a gale warning for the first several days I was at Great Barrier. The little cove I initially had to myself became quite crowded as other boats also decided this was a good place to seek shelter from the southerly gale. I was not happy when a 40 ft catamaran anchored quite close to me (the cove was crowded by this time). We came to almost touching distance a few times when gusts blew over the cove (cats tend to swing at anchor differently from monohulls). Once the winds calmed, the cove was down to Twister and one other boat. I enjoyed some land time and hiked up Mount Hobson which apparently affords a great view of the Hauraki Gulf. On this particular day, I could see perhaps 10 meters/33 feet as the top was socked in by clouds.
I puttered around Port Fitzroy and nearby and checked out several anchorages, including Smokehouse Bay and Nagle Cove where I enjoyed some nice snorkeling (didn't find any scallops but did see some nice looking Kingfish which by the way some nice Kiwis gave me some of from their catch. I continue to get more fish from others taking pity on my lack of fishing abilities rather than actually catching them myself). From Nagle Cove I sailed to Tutukaka (I was aiming for Whangamumu but since I didn't get started at first light and was averaging around 5 rather than 6 knots, I pulled into Tutukaka while it was still light). Yesterday I sailed from Tutukaka (past Whangamumu) into the Bay of Islands and anchored in front of the Town of Russell--not far from Opua where most yachts coming down from the tropics at the beginning of cyclone season, check in to New Zealand (as it's the northernmost port of entry). Today I plan to walk to Opua and see if I can find any of my cruising friends I have met across the South Pacific.
Pics from the last couple of weeks coming soon.