Matiu Somes Island Easter Monday – 18 April 2022

Crew: Geoff, Graciela, Jenny, Jono, Isabelle and Max.

Forecast: Variable 5 knots. Fine.

We cast off from Chaffers at 1100 hrs. A beautiful day with almost no wind as we motored north up to Somes Island.

We put the fishing line out with the spinner. Great excitement, we caught a fish! It looked like a good sized kahawai. Jono was doing a great job reeling it in but just as we were hoisting it on board he got away. We probably need to use a net next time.

After rounding the fittingly named Mokopuna Island we tied up at the Somes mooring on the north side of the island at 1200 hrs.

After lunch we launched the dinghy. We then waited for a a gap in the arrivals of the East-West ferries then motored Halo over to the wharf and dropped off Jenny and Graciela and kids and then returned to the mooring. Jono and Geoff then rowed ashore in the dinghy.

After clearing the DOC inspection to make sure we are pest-free we walked up the track to the visitor centre at the top. We learned some of the history of the island which was used as quarantine for humans in the early colonial days and later for animals. The island is now a nature reserve.

We walked to the southern end of the island and visited the lighthouse which is still used to this day by ships entering Wellington Harbour. On Shag rock we saw a number of Spotted Shags, a species of cormorant endemic to New Zealand.

The return walk was round the west side of the island. The track reminded us of the Mt Maunganui round the mountain track. The kids had fun checking out the weta motels and looking for tuatara.

As we returned to the north side we saw the brand new all-electric ferry, Ika Rere, docked on the wharf.

Geoff and Jono then rowed over to the mooring and brought Halo back to the wharf to pick up the others. We then cast off at 1500 hrs to complete our circumnavigation of the island. By this time the southerly had come up to a nice 10 kts and we hoisted the mainsail and No. 2 jib and had a great sail back to Wellington with Jono on helm.

Geoff was keen to try using the new Simrad auto pilot now that he has the NMEA data connected up. Jono was relieved of helm duty while our new ‘Ernesto’ did the hard work, steering effortlessly to the wind or to a waypoint on the chart plotter.

We arrived back in the Chaffers berth at 1600 hrs.

Total distance sailed 10.5 nautical miles.

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