New Zealand Mercury Island – Gary Dawson

I do not have access to the internet on the boat anymore so my internet access will be sporadic. When ever I get to a city. So if you do not hear from me you will know why.

Since the last email we stopped at a couple of more bays on the Great Barrier Island. Whangaparapara (how’s that for a name) and Tryphena, which is the main village on the Island. The Island is about 20miles long and 7 miles wide with a population of 600.

We left there on Thursday for Mercury Island about 10 miles off the coast of NZ. I do not think anybody lives on the Island just a whole bunch of sheep and cows. Maybe a Sheppard or two. The bays are absolutely beautiful. Sand beaches (white sand) at the head and rock cliff’s all around. I decided to go for a hike so I went ashore on the beach where we were anchored. There was a terrible smell which at first I thought were the sheep. But upon closer inspection I saw 20 dead rotting whales on shore. Looks like they beached themselves about 2 months ago. They were little whales maybe Pilot whales ( about 20’ long). I understand that 60 beached themselves and people saved 40 of them one of which gave birth after being saved. While the precise cause of the mass beaching of these whales is unknown, experts suspect the shallow, sloping sandy shores may have confused the whales’ sonar system.

On my Hike I found the most awesome tree I have never seen. It was 10’ in diameter and only 50’ high with many many low hanging big limbs 1’ or more in diameter. Some of them went from the tree back into the ground out again and then made a 90 degree turn towards the sky. I stayed there for an hour sharing energy with it. Further on during the hike I found another wonderful beach that I had all to my self and the sun was shinning. It was a great day.

We left there on Saturday for Tauranga about 65 miles , 10 hours away. For the first 6 hours of the trip we had variable winds sometimes just sailing and sometimes with the engine on and sailing. Then when I got off watch and went down to read Mike got 30 knot winds and hit speeds of 11 knots for a couple of hours. Tauranga is on the mainland and a pretty big city. We will stay here for 3 or 4 days and move down the coast further south.

The adventure continues

Love Gary

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