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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Russell’s Nude Beach?!? Is It…

Waitata Beach as seen from our boat – mostly uninhabited.
A nude beach if it’s too cold to strip down?

While hardly a font of nautical information regarding anchorages, nakedplaces.net did reveal Waitata beach, near Russell is a designated nude beach, or “naturist area” in New Zealand parlance.  With negligible data on the anchorage fragility and holding, we snagged an open and quite stout mooring ball. We made a $10 NZ voluntary donation to the mooring ball’s owner and developer of the area and home stay proprietor, Anthony, at his gentle prompting.



Waitata Beach sign, “naturist” = “nude beach.”
Indeed, thanks to Anthony’s efforts, Waitata Beach is theoretically a clothing optional beach, adjacent to and screened from Russell’s popular and aptly named Long Beach. At Waitata, when the sun was shining, the winds were brisk and temperatures were cool. 










Thought the paddleboarder was headed to the catamaran
next to us; nope -- he was just paddling past.
With persistence, strawberry-skinned Wayne managed a slight all-over sunburn.  You’d expect after 10 months in the tropics, we’d develop more a of a base. Tonga and American Samoa’s cultural taboos kept us more covered than not; even when it was warm enough we didn’t get a whole lotta skin time.  When it’s windy enough for good sailing, the wind chill doesn’t usually invite sailing au naturale.

During our Waitata Beach stay, while hardly crowded, we were not alone in enjoying the beach’s status, though there were about as many “textiles” who visited the beach area for fishing, litter removal, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming and hang gliding.



This catamaran moored next to us remained vacant throughout
our four-day stay at Waitata.  It wins my prize to date
for ugliest catamaran.


We found the steep, rocky beach made dinghy access a bit challenging.  The beach was certainly swimmable from our boat, however we are far less hardy than the native Kiwi swimmers, who seem to consider the 60ish degree water temps here “warm.”



One of several hang gliders passing over Waitata Bay.
Did I mention the frequent too-cool-to-strip-down breeze?

Waitata’s a naturist area in other ways – a designated kiwi bird protection zone.  Additionally, Anthony cordoned off an area where one of the shore birds nested on the beach.  We’d noticed earlier the momma bird attempting to lure us away with a fake wing injury as we passed her nest on our walk up from the beach to the town of Russell.  It’s pleasant half hour or so amble to “downtown” Russell from Waitata beach.

For those not fortunate enough to anchor off Waitata, or wealthy enough for Anthony’s elegantly appointed home stay, he was just completing a snazzy "glamping" apartment, with a sweet little deck on a bluff overlooking the bay.  Not sure of the glamping rates, though am guessing they’re more modest.



Too cute!  Miniature dachshund safely strapped in his doggie
life preserver, along for his kayak ride, Waitata Bay New Zealand.
In warmer weather, we’d happily while away more time at Waitata.  Close enough to Russell for provisioning Waitata’s a pretty spot, especially if you have nothing to wear.  Meanwhile, we’re still amply bundled up for beautiful New Zealand’s almost-summer season.










Russell’s popular Long Beach, adjacent Waitata.  
Location Location
Written while anchored in Opua, New Zealand (S35.18.784 E174.07.471), we just arrived in Whangaroa, (S35.02.836 E173.44.514).  By mid-late January, we'll haul out in Whangarei for boat maintenance for a few weeks, then resume exploring New Zealand until cyclone season's past in May. 

Cruising by the Numbers
This year we've sailed over 10,000 miles, between December 2014 and November 2015, from Jacksonville Florida, to Opua, New Zealand.