Friday, 12 March 2010

Toroa takes us on a real journey.

Last Sunday the tide and wind were perfect for a trip up harbour to Kohukohu. We had intended on making the trip on Saturday however the wind and rain came in with too much force so we postponed.
I had wanted to attend the opening of the Ukulele Exhibition at the Village Arts Gallery.
The Exhibition was organised by the Kohukohu arts group who regularly put on art exhibitions of a particularly high standard.
The Ukulele Exhibition comprised of a collection of ukuleles which had been given a makeover by well known, established NZ artists. We were blown away ( by the exhibition).

We had a very calm start so we started the outboard and set off with the incoming tide from the Rawene township and were soon navigating the treacherous "Narrows." After 40 minutes at full throttle we made the Kohukohu Wharf where we tied up to the floating pontoon where four young Maori children were diving from the roof of the wharf shelter.

The village of Kohukohu is the second oldest in NZ and is particularly pretty when viewed from the Water. The majority of the houses date back to the 19th Century with most having been carefully restored. The trees, the bird life, the fish all make for a beautiful outing on the harbour on a sunny Autumn day.
We left Toroa tethered to the pontoon after which Julie and I went to the nearby Waterline Cafe and ordered coffee and a chocolate brownie.
After an enjoyable relax on the veranda we walked over to the Gallery where we met Kohukohu residents, John, Marg and Jim,  colleague, curator/gallery owner, and boat enthusiast respectively.

After enjoying and discussing the brilliant show (Julie wanted to buy all the ukuleles on show) we made ready to leave. John, Marg and Jim came out to see us depart as they were particularly interested to see Toroa. With our friends in attendance on the wharf we cast off, raised our sail and set off on starboard tack across the harbour in 10-12 knots of breeze.

All went very smoothly and we sailed, on the wind, up to the Narrows where the decision was taken to drop sail and start the motor.

Under power we finished the trip to Rawene where we picked up our dinghy and paddled Toroa into the stream and anchored him ready for our next outing.

Toroa provided us with everything I have been wanting from him and I am very happy.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Sunday 28th Feb

I decided to take Toroa out to test the newly repaired outboard motor.

After the Chilean Tsunami alert was downgraded to an advisory I thought it would be safe to enter the water to retrieve Toroa from anchor in the tidal stream at Rawene.
I had not counted on the king tide (the highest in 7 years) and the force of the outgoing tidal flow.

I was immediately impressed and mildly fearful that I had not judged my swim trajectory to Toroa across the current.

I just made it.

Once on board I lifted the anchor in a dying south easterly. The breeze was completely gone by the time I raised my mainsail.

Toroa would not respond to any force I could exert without a paddle or out board motor (still on shore) me in my speedos waiting for the wind and heading off toward Australia at a respectable 4-5 knots.

No paddle, no PFD, no clothes, no sun block, no water and no wind.

Poor Julie was dwindling into the distance, a lonely anxious figure on the wharf. Mercifully a light breeze came up and I was able to regain control.

One hour and several shunts later I was fitting the outboard motor at the beach, 20 meters from where I first set out.
Julie took the opportunity to berate me for leaving myself (and her) so vulnerable.

"Just honing my skills mate"was my glib (though somewhat sheepish reply).

The motor started first pull of the starter cord!
We climbed on board with all our gear and provisions  and set off up the Waima River against the tide with the idea in mind that should the motor fail we would still have the current to bear us homeward.

Toroa runs better than expected under power. The Dierking foil works a treat and the new prop, 7 1/4"x 5" is just the right pitch for my set up. I estimate we made around 7 knots of boat speed with 2.5 Hp. with the mast stepped. That will do me.

I received an informal complaint later made by Mrs Fish from the Hokianga Takeaway shop (Mrs Fish and Mr Chip have a commanding view of the area where our little drama was playing itself out) that a man of my age in speedos was pushing the boundaries of respectability.  I remarked later that had I been a buffed, bronzed athlete the speedos could not have been brief enough.

Harmen & Julie at Rawene 
Photo by Rose Dierking 

Toroa by Harmen Hielkema & Mike Toy.

Header Photo: Toroa at Rawene by Julie Holton.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my father Roelof Hielkema who instilled in me the willingness to learn.
These pages are intended to inform and add to the growing body of knowledge concerning the Canoe Culture of the Pacific, past, present & future, from the Tupuna, the Ancestors of the Pacific cultures to the people of the world.

These pages contain Images and text relating to our two proas, Toroa & Takapu, some history relating to our experiments & experiences.

The dissertation that I posted on this blog in April 2008 "Takapu The Proa" was written by me in 1997 in response to an assignment that I was set whilst studying for my design degree. The dissertation covers many issues that a proa enthusiast may benefit from reading about.

Waka define culture as culture defines waka

Waka reflect the individuality and uniqueness of a society which in turn is governed by the geography, geology, topography, climate, location, resources, isolation, origin, flora, fauna, flotsam, jetsam, etc.

Waka are our link to the past, they have shaped our present and define our future.

Waka are the vessels of knowledge, physical and mental development, freedom of bondage to the land, key to our inquisitiveness, expressions of our ingenuity and courage, our love of shape and form, the seat of our power.

Waka are the source of our material culture, from which all processes are derived.

Waka are who and what we are.