Travel.P #17 – EastCape

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.

Anthony J. D’Angelo

After one to two hours the rest of the group, that went on the hike with me arrived with big smiles on their faces and, told me about their hike experience and together we drove back to the free Urchin Campground (DOC), the campsite where we stayed the night before. There we had a BBQ after shopping some food in town. Two other friends joined us for the night, but left really early so couldn’t make it on our ‘family’ picture:

My little ‘travel gang’

After a beautiful night with my friends we parted and everyone continued with their own travel plans, that meant for Flo, Ced and me back to Odin, and continue sailing. Everyone was sad to leave, because we had a great time together and we all became good friends. We drove past Lake Taupo, did some kite surfing and left towards Mount Mangnui, where we arrived at dawn into a colorful sunset. The moment we came back the shore Merv rowed us to the boat. There we found out that the bikes got stolen, the batteries were flat and the boat smelled like petrol. Well we solved the problems the next day, repaired what was necessary and were ready to hit the East Cape of the North Island of New Zealand. We had a last fun night in the Mount and than left, through the small channel next to Mount Manganui and continued towards south. The trip to the next bay was planned to take five days. We spoke to a lot of sailors and people at the harbor and got different opinions and ideas about the east cape trip. The most people told us around this time, it is a stupid idea and dangerous, but we didn’t care too much, because the weather looked good.

Accompanied by dolphins

The wind was strong and we sailed with good speed, up to 7 knots. I have to say though, that I didn’t see a lot on my first 24 hours on the trip, because I was somewhere else. Sleeping, close to puking and going through my nauseousness. I felt like I am trapped in the worst hungover in my life. When I woke up I thought I am hallucinating and I just have a few memories of the first day. It was windy and the sea ruff, but for sailing good conditions, except for me because I was seasick. Twice I tried to puke but it didn’t work. I also was scared to fall over the railing of the boat, there were so many new things penetrating my brain, that all I could do was trying to sleep. I felt sorry for my friends, because I couldn’t take a shift. After 14 hours sleep, I woke up and felt better. I was cured. I could eat and slowly improved my feeling for the sea. And had nearly no memories. It felt all like a dream.

Vocabulary upgrade on sailing boats.

Ced and Flo started teaching me a lot, and I gave my best to do what I can. There was a lot of new vocabulary of a sailing boat that I had to learn fast to be able to support the crew. Just at the corner of the east cape we reached nearly ten knots, till today our top speed with Odin. One side of the boat in the water, and a couple stronger gusts and every time a gust hit us, I thought the boat will tip over and we gonna sink and die. It took me at least a week of sailing to fully trust the boat and experience its physical boundaries. While we sailed on nearly ten knots, you had to push your feet and pull with all your force the rudder behind your right shoulder if the boat is tipped towards starboard (right). All day while we were sailing, we just put our fishing rods out and at some point of the day, usually a fish was caught.

Sunset time.

I was happy that I had the morning shift and could see one of the earliest sunrises of the world, just when we passed the east cape. We ran on engine, because there was no wind, but even with the engine going it was a beautiful moment and very peaceful. The day was not as windy as the day before, but we still managed to make a couple miles. My nauseousness was getting better and better. We hung out and watched the sea life from our boat. Sometimes we were accompanied by a group of dolphins. The empty coasts of New Zealand look beautiful from the Ocean, and like I mention empty that means that we saw one or two houses per day. While I was learning how to sail a boat, I also tried to get some skills with fishing, because I put myself into the position of the fisher of the boat. The day ended with a nice sunset over the land and an amazing night. Three hour night shift, sailing under the stars and watching the stars disappearing behind the sails and the mast. Sailing at night is awesome, it was calm, but enough to sail, there was nothing to see except dark black and the stars and the milky way. Usually when I sailed at night I checked our course every fife to ten minutes and than continued looking up at the stars. Amazing. Unbelievable many stars are out there. After my shift I woke up Ced and went to sleep, like Flo and Merv. For me, I learned the most at night where I could manage the boat by myself, judge the wind, tag and even change sails on my own later on.

Ced who lived a couples years on a boat before, was usually the only guy that could cook, because he wasn’t seasick under deck. Merv was quite good at it as well. Under deck the nauseousness appears ten times stronger than on deck. A solution is to lay flat and look at the horizon or have something to do, or go for a cold dip in the ocean. Reading was possible on my last month of my trip. Every day I tried a bit, to get used to it.

Traveling by boat is nice, no traffic, not a lot of rules and freedom. Ruled by the forces of nature. Some days were spend just laying around, swimming, fixing the boat, fishing, sleeping…

Ordinary order in the boat.

After five days on the sea we had to find shelter behind Whangara Island, because the weather surprised us and became a bit ruff. We still had a day to go so we spend the rest of the day and the night there. In this small sheltered spot, where there is apparently a big Maori culture, that we sadly didn’t explore. The weather calmed down after an hour, but we stayed. We only stayed on the boat and went for a short dip in the water. Later we tried to catch a shark with the head of a beautiful, and tasty tuna that we caught and ate before. Whangara looked beautiful, small and very peaceful. After we saw a shark around the boat, we stopped swimming and just went for a really short swim the next morning. The night was calm and I slept outside on the benches on deck. A couple times I woke up, because I was about to fall from the thin benches, but than fell back into a content deep sleep, surrounded by the sounds of the waves and a gentle rocking of the boat.

The next day we continued our journey to Gisborne. We arrived at mid day and took a free spot in the port, that we had to move later. In Gisborne we only stayed two nights, no one really liked it, I would describe it as a nice shit hole. The grounds were covered in glass and the town was dead. Flo, Ced and Marie, who joined us in Gisborne for a night found a pub where there was some action, but I wouldn’t recommend this place to anyone.

Chines Flo and the six counts,one for each person puking on one single trip.

So yeah, arriving in the bay of Gisborne was a magic moment for us anyway. We managed to sail the east cape. We were really proud and happy to move our feet on the land again.

Sunrise East Cape

The next time I will tell you about our trip to Napier, where nearly our engine exploded and I fell back into a day and one night of seasickness. The close lost of a fishing rod and a swarm of fishes that we found until we had to stop fishing, because we were catching to many fish. I will tell you about our horror moments in Napier, Flo in a horrible fever and coffin blood and Ced and me working on a blueberry arm, while earning money for the engine parts. I will tell you about a lot of new awesome people that we met and a great time in Napier.

Today I am writing straight out of the outback of Australia. It is 4 degrees colder than yesterday, but it is still 41 degrees hot. My hammock broke in a horror night, that I fixed up with tape and use it to sleep on table in that hammock protected by my mosquito net. I am traveling by hitchhiking an at the moment I am helping out a host, living of grid and building stuff with cop, it is like a clay house. My last week was spend helping two very nice human beings out on a Zen Retreat in Maleny. That was beautiful over there. Here we are waiting on the rain, because there is a strong drought in Australia. I thing there was no proper rain for nearly seven month. We are running out of drink water, and the dams are the lowest they have ever been. Farmers doesn’t have to spray the weeds, because they die in the heat. And just a couple hundred km north the land is covered in water and flooding.

Why don’t sit down today and have a lovely cup of tea while talking about your day with a friend.

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