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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Easy Rockin’ Lookout, Whangaroa, New Zealand


Even partway up, the view of the Whangaroa area’s
pretty terrific.  Northland New Zealand.
After we cruised to Whangaroa in December, we found out we missed one of the best short hike panoramic lookouts in Northland (not counting driving up to Mt. Parihaka, much preferable as an hour and a half hiking loop IMHO), St. Paul’s Rock, towering above Whangaroa.









“If it’s blue, sail on through.  If it’s brown,
run aground,” principle well illustrated
from the Whangaroa view on the way to
the top of St. Paul’s Rock, New Zealand.
Driving back from Ninety Mile Beach, Cape Reinga and Spirit Bay offered the perfect opportunity to access the 20-minute trailhead to St. Paul’s summit.  That saved us a substantial hike up the hill to get to the trailhead.

The trail was moderately steep, but overall well-cut into the grassy hillside.  At the final part, where the trails shifts to rock gets and steeper, considerately, there’s well-secured wire cable to grab. 













Wayne approaches the last part of the trail to St. Paul’s
Rock summit, where near where the trail shifts from
grassy to rock clambering.
We ambled up to the top, approaching the summit marker, only to notice a cloud of insects.  Sandflies!  We hadn’t encountered them like that before in North Island, but weren’t about to assume they were something less benign, like fruit flies or some other harmless gnat-like creature.  Later, the DoC trail maintenance guy told us there were wasps there.  Close enough, we decided.  What difference would another meter make?  We already got a full postcard-picture-perfect panoramic view. 





We got close to St. Paul’s Rock
summit marker, but were deterred
not by the height but by swarms
of biting sand flies.
Sometimes we’ve found the estimated times are for fitter folks than us; this time we were pleased that it really did take us only the estimated time.  Better still, that fall day when we took the St. Paul’s Rock hike offered far better than Whangaroa’s midsummer weather.  Serendipity!  

I guess the rock was just waiting for that day to be appreciated to its fullest.  

We did.




Wayne proudly takes in the pinnacle point panoramic view at Whangaroa’s St. Paul’s Rock.
Location Location

We're still in New Zealand, waiting for a better weather window to our first major cruising stop  this year, to Fiji., likely later this coming week. Currently we're anchored off Opua (S35.18.772 E174.07.485)  Bay of Islands,doing a bit more boat work and topping off our provisions, fuel and water again.   Once we clear New Zealand customs (probably May 14th, from Opua, Bay of Islands - where we first arrived in New Zealand in November) and set sail, it will take us nearly two weeks to get to Fiji,  at 1170 nm, our 2nd longest ever passage. 
Journey's prospective route for this year:  from New Zealand to Fiji,
Fiji to Vanuatu, Vanuatu to New Caledonia, New Caledonia to Australia.  Total: roughly 4.500 miles.

Sailing by the Numbers
Last year, between December 2014 and November 2015 we sailed from Florida USA to New Zealand, over 10,000 miles.  This year, from Fiji, we’ll go to Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Australia.  After we arrive in Australia in around November, completing another 4,500 or so miles this cruising season, we plan to sell our boat.  Then, it's back to work, somewhere.