Thursday, January 03, 2019

Waiheke – Man O’ War Bay

[Kyle]After only half a night’s proper sleep following the New Year's Eve festivities, we arose for an early departure. Not our favorite, but time and tide and all that… We had a long way to go and needed the currents to be in our favor.

We got a little more wind than we expected and had a nice, fast sail to Man O’ War Bay on the eastern side of Waiheke Island amidst very little traffic as I reckon the rest of the boaters were still sensibly sleeping in.

We arrived to a madhouse. The bay was absolutely filled with boats who had spent their New Year’s here. Waiheke has several vineyards, but only the one at Man O’ War is supposed to be easily accessible by boat. It’s way on the far side of the island from Auckland and is billed a bit as a secret treasure unknown to most - except the boaters, which is 95% of New Zealand’s population.

We went ashore the next morning looking for a hiking trail before hitting the winery. There aren’t any, but we got to see the road, which has some nice views.

Man o' War bay - looking not too busy at all!

We gave up on that and headed to the winery for lunch and a tasting. The tasting is free, which is nice, but we were getting a bit hungry, so we ordered a couple glasses of the wine we liked along with some lunch.

The setting is pleasant. It was a lovely sunny day and families were sitting around the dozens of picnic tables enjoying their day. The place had a bit of a Disneyland at lunch feel, though, and the noise was getting a bit too loud for easy conversation. It was not the bucolic hideaway we had been expecting. As we were eating, we noticed that there was no actual winery infrastructure in evidence – no vines, no vats, no warehouses full of aging barrels. The “winery” seemed to be just an outdoor restaurant that sold its own brand of wines. That’s how they get ya!

A couple of interesting things happened though. THREE different helicopters landed and discharged their occupants for lunch. Also, two giant yachts brought their passengers ashore in amphibious tenders. As they approached the beach, they lowered the gear and drove up the sand to the gate before kneeling like a camel and lowering their charges to the ground, untraumatized by the need to walk in the sand.

Eww, sand.

We couldn’t decide whether to be impressed by or offended by such contraptions. They were pretty cool. We thought about it for a while and eventually decided we would be more likely to be embarrassed than proud to be delivered in such a way. We’ll row and drag our dinghy up on the beach and suffer sand in our sandals, thank you very much, while secretly (only a little) admiring such inventiveness.

There are many different ways (it seems) to arrive the winery

Also, just before dark, the guy in the powerboat ahead of us (no, not that one, the other one.) caught three fish. I know, Big Deal. No, I mean he caught three fish at once. He pulled one line out of the water that had been in all of a minute and it had three fish on it. I promptly named them Timmy, Steve and Jimbo. Timmy was under the limit, (Tiny Tim?). He went free, so the guy only really got two fish at once. Slacker!

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