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