I departed Auckland on the morning of January 2. Getting out of the pile moorings was not as bad as I had feared. The forecast was for 25 to 35 knots from the southeast. Since my destination was Whangateau Harbor , ~30 miles to the north, it was nice downwind sailing, using only the partially furled jib (no mainsail). Twister entered Whangateau Harbor under motor without problems. As I was looking for a place to anchor, I became nervous as the depth sounder gave readings of 7 then 6 feet. Before I could turn around, I was aground. I managed to motor off the first sandbar only to get thoroughly stuck on another nearby. With the tide dropping, Twister was soon leaning over to starboard and I would have to wait for the next rising tide to get her off (sandy bottom, no rocks thank goodness). I rowed out an anchor and rowed my dinghy ashore. Fortunately the wind was starting to abate. Ashore I met Brett (who I met in Tonga and who I was there to visit) and unexpectedly Beat and Beatrice who I had met in American Samoa and again in Tonga. Brett chauffeured us to his house where we had dinner. Around 2330 local time Brett and I went back to the harbor. He had talked to the harbor master and found a mooring for Twister. We rowed out together and found her still leaning and more worryingly, the automatic bilge pump squirting water out of the stern. When I opened the hatch to the cabin I found about 5 inches of water on the floor. I quickly realized I had stupidly neglected to close the valve to the sink drain (which is on the starboard side). Brett and I bailed out most of the water as the tide was rising and Twister was righting. When the tide was high enough we motored over to the mooring and tied up there. Brett rowed ashore and I spent the night on Twister. The next morning I found some food, spare oil filters and odd bits had been soaked. It could have been much worse. The morning was spent cleaning up the mess. Now I'm sitting in Brett's living room writing this and Twister is happily bobbing on her mooring.
I will stay here for a few days then sail out to Great Barrier Island (ca 30 miles east of here) probably on Saturday when favorable winds are expected. From there the plan is to make my way northward (possibly stopping in Whangarei then The Bay Of Islands) and if I still feel adventurous, sail down the west coast of the North Island to Nelson on the northern part of the South Island.
I doubt there is internet on Great Barrier Island, but there is probably cell phone coverage.