26 September, 2020

Our “Island Crawl” continues  with the Poor Knights Islands yesterday and Hen and Chicken Islands today.   We started our journey south towards the Marlborough Sounds from Bay of Islands early yesterday and detoured a few miles to visit the Poor Knights Islands.  They are an iconic dive site with regular dive trips leaving from Tutukaka on the mainland some 14 miles to the west. We weren’t there to dive we wanted to see the Buller’s Shearwaters.  Poor Knights is their only known breeding ground and they have only just returned from the central Pacific where they spend the austral winter.  We weren’t disappointed, there were large flocks on the water just a few miles south of Islands. 

We enjoyed a great night anchored at Smugglers Cove and outside of Whangarei Heads. It was both calm and quiet. There was a great sunrise as we steamed east to the Hen and Chickens. These islands are obviously very popular with recreational fisherman. They are only 7 miles from Whangarei Harbour entrance. There were already at least 10 boats fishing when we arrived.  The Islands are Nature Reserves. I was interested to see Taranga or Hen Island as this was, until birds were transferred to other Islands, the only place that North Island Saddleback survived.  Great to hear and see Parakeets flying overhead Araara Island. 

With strong to gale force winds forecast tonight  we are heading south to find a comfortable anchorage to sit this one out.