Riding storm’s fury in Pilot Bay

Will Gardner on board the Kittywake II. Supplied photos.

Click the image above to watch the video

Will Gardner decided he wasn't going to see his yacht, the Kittywake II, go down in the storm on Thursday night.

Moored in Pilot Bay, Will, with friend Tina Van Duijn paddled out to it in his kayak to make sure it stayed secure.

When the worst of Cyclone Cook hit, he uploaded video footage to Facebook.

“It is definitely the worst conditions I have had (in) Pilot Bay!” he posted. “Also kayak snapped off its rope and headed to the boat ramp without us! Big up to Tina Van Duijn for bearing the storm with me...”

Some concerned friends offered beds for the night, safely ashore. Others wished they were sharing the adventure.

“Glad you managed to get back to the boat in time!” posted friend Jonathan Danks. “Looks like a sick time!! Jealous.”

“Hope your mooring's secure mate,” posted another.

“That's why I'm staying out here - in case it goes!” responded Will on Facebook. “Captain stays with the ship mate.”

The next morning, over coffee at Luca, he described the previous night's adventure.

“She was pretty crazy.   Speeds of up to about 60 knots I think. Dinghies flying about past us. Kittywake was all good though. Kicking around a bit but it only lasted for three or four hours.”

The kayak washed up on to the beach in Pilot Bay, and a friend went down to pick it up.

Tina found the conditions a little nauseating.

“I couldn't eat between 5 and 7pm,” says Tina, “but by 8.30pm we could eat.”

“It was all over by 8.30pm,” says Will. “Pretty intense for a few hours, but all good.”

Will Gardner and Tina Van Duijn on board the Kittywake II, in better weather.



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Monarch butterflies enjoying the sun. Photo: Glenice McDonald. Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty. photos@thesun.co.nz