22nd December 2010

December 22nd and it’s definitely summertime in New Zealand.


The national Christmas tree is the Pohutukawa that clings tenaciously to the cliff edges and outcrops along the coastline. Its crimson bloom radiates only for a short while at the height of summer before the needle like petals form a carpet of red on the ground. This one hangs comfortably over the edge of Whangarei harbour.

Pohutukawa Flower

There was a time when the Pohutukawa supplied natural grown bends and crooks for wooden boat builders to use as knees, breast hooks and floor timbers.

We still have some in our timber rack like the one below, along with other examples of native timbers, stored for over half a century and now well seasoned. One day it will go into a boat.

Fortunately the Pohutukawa is now a protected tree and the few wooden boat builders that are left glue laminate what bends they need.

Whangarei Town Basin

The Whangarei town basin has been filling up with cruising yachts from all over the globe. They arrive each year from Tahiti, Fiji or via the New Hebrides to escape the cyclone season, leaving again after Easter. For some it’s an annual pilgrimage.

As kids we used to swim here – 45 years ago. Then a foreign yacht was a rare sight and the local fishing fleet a lot larger. Today around 400 cruising yachts clear customs annually.


Often one or two of the big classics show up, such as this beautiful ketch, Nordwind, built in Germany in 1938. The crew is doing some “in water” refit work.


And kids still have a great time, like these three catching a breeze on their sailing a pontoon.

We close down from Christmas Eve until the 10th January. There will be new postings on the web site over the holiday so please revisit.

Wishing you all the best Christmas, 2011 is going to be a great year!


Last Updated (Wednesday, 22 December 2010 01:10)

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