Te Maika – 15… days of dinghies…

Because Te Maika is obviously a sea-side destination boats of many descriptions “live” or visit there  – in fact, as I’ve mentioned, one arrives by boat – the only means unless one is able or wants to travel several kilometres over the hills and sand on a quad bike.

I have written about the launches which conveyed us there, my father’s boats, JulieAnn and Dolphin, and kayaks that have arrived in recent years.  But going back to my childhood times we also owned a series of dinghies – most of them big and bulky as was the norm 50 years ago. Paddling round in the dinghy was an enjoyable way to pass an hour or so in the calm of the bay. Naturally, my brothers and I learned how to row at an early age.

I have also written about the tidal flow in the harbour. In the “bach bay” it is a gentle flow over six or so hours which covers a large area.  However, in “our” bay (Cable Bay) one of the main currents flows about 40 metres from the high tide mark which lends to a much swifter race for the water in our bay to escape.

Te Maika
Our bay on a calm day at high tide.

One sunny day, the whole family was enjoying swimming and rowing about – it must have been a warm and sunny as there were day visitors also in the bay, with their motor boats. My brothers and I were mucking about in our current dinghy and, no doubt “showing off” to some extent. We didn’t take any notice of the tidal flow – parents were watching so all was fine! One of we three had the wonderful suggestion that we should try to “spin” the boat, or create a whirlpool. I don’t remember who manned the oars but one of us rowed forward as the other rowed backwards… until… “Oops, I’ve dropped the oar!” “Quick grab it!” “I can’t reach it!” “Paddle with that one!”

It was probably at about this point that we realised we were floating toward the harbour mouth in the out-going current. Our parents were, no doubt, standing on the shore shouting instructions while I was wondering if I could swim with the anchor to the rocks as we drifted past. (I’m pleased I didn’t get a chance to consider that seriously!)

Next thing we knew there was a motor boat pulling alongside us, “Here grab this rope…” “I’ve got your oar…” Two handsome young men (they must have been, mustn’t they?) had saved us from an unknown fate heading out to the big open sea in a tiny pea green boat… (hang on, that’s the owl and the pussycat…) … our boat was yellow!

I remember being so embarrassed at 12 or 13 years of age as I walked up the beach and overheard one of them comment … “Nice legs” then being led by my father to thank them …

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