'Outer Limits' - Auckland to Three Kings by Mark Kitteridge

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I have to admit to feeling a little trepidation when told that 'Outer Limits' had been replaced. It was great being aboard that 'Ferrari' of the seas. But, on the other hand, I knew that owner Tony Morris wouldn’t replace her without good reason, and in this case it was for increased comfort — pure and simple.

It makes sense, too. The combination of Dean, his service and the boat, has quickly attracted customers who appreciate fishing in comfort and style. While I thought that Outer Limits (Mark I) was pretty darned good, it seems likely that in the Mark II version, Tony and Dean(o) have produced the most sophisticated and luxurious charter vessel on the water today.

Although the new Outer Limits is very much a game fishing boat, Deano is no slouch when it comes to finding big snapper. I joined him and Tony on Outer Limit’s maiden Great Barrier expedition, accompanied by Mark Willis, long time boating buddy of Tony’s, who made up the numbers.

First stop was Little Barrier. Although there was 20 knots of wind and some unpleasant chop, Outer Limits barely noticed the conditions and it was a pleasant trip over. There was a slight hiccough when an overheating alarm went off on one of the big engines. Teething problems of this type often occur on new and recently refurbished boats, but I still worried that this might signal a premature end to our jaunt. But I hadn’t figured on Deano. This lad is a real whiz when it comes to things electrical and mechanical, so the problem was isolated and rectified within the hour. It’s really comforting to know that you have someone like him on board.

Arriving around midday, conditions were better for diving than snapper fishing, so Tony and Mark went off on a cray expedition while I concentrated on kicking back, my line in the water, beer in hand.

My ‘efforts’, in this instance, went largely unrewarded. A kahawai and two trevally helped keep up my enthusiasm, but mostly the only interest shown in my bait was by small, undersized snapper.

'Don’t worry, Mark', said Dean, 'we’ll get into the bigger ones when the tide turns later on.' When I confidently say that sort of thing, the Fishing Gods usually band together to make success impossible; not so with Deano. After dealing with the crays brought back on board by Tony and Mark, we frittered away an hour or so in the lee of the island before biting the bullet and heading out into the fray.

Two hundred metres out we lost our shelter and found ourselves in a metre of white-flecked lift, puffed up by twenty knots of wind. With opposing wind and tide, it took considerable skill on Deano’s part to place the anchor so that we hung correctly for his spot. Although we ended up very slightly wayward of where he normally likes to sit, Deano still believed we were close enough to take advantage of the rocky shelf below: 'They come out of that shelter and up the berley trail', he explained.

Fortunately, for the fishing’s sake, we ended up side on — and from the comfort point of view it wasn't too bad, either. Despite the swells, the big Riviera rolled around surprisingly little, encouraging those on board to whack on some monster baits and then allow them to drift enticingly down.

Nor did we have to be patient. Only five or six minutes elapsed before the snapper began to emerge from their weedy homes to take our baits. Some were big enough to cause us problems, ripping out heaps of line as they made the most of the strong current. As is often the case, a couple of really good ones became sorry tales of the 'Ones That Got Away', but there were still a few in the 5-6kg class, as well as a beauty caught by Deano that knocked on the 20lb mark door. The lad had brought home the bacon!

With Great Barrier beckoning us for the night, we stopped fishing just before total darkness fell and made our way over. Once there and anchored up, we were treated to a meal of fresh snapper and crayfish, all washed down with some excellent wine. Aaahhh! Happiness filled! We slept well that night.

The following morning was largely spent catering for the divers, but we still managed to get a couple of reasonable trevally, some snapper to 4.5kg, a large john dory and some solid kahawai — along with the almost inevitable barracouta. (Is there a form of myxamitosis that we can use to slow the population explosion down a bit?).

For lunch, we had scallop sandwiches: scallops crumbed, scallops lightly battered — and would we like some more? Good on ya, Deano!

All too soon, it was time to head home. As the gentle breeze caressed us back towards the mainland and the buildings began to materialise once more, I couldn’t help reflecting how much worse a place like Auckland seems after such a trip. Funny how two totally different worlds can coexist so close to one another...

Spectacular

The new Outer Limits is simply spectacular. She is seaworthy, spacious, luxurious, and quicker than one would imagine. She should quickly find ready acceptance with old customers — as well as attract many new ones from overseas and amongst local corporate circles. Powered by twin 600 MTUs, she has a top speed of 28 knots and cruises at 22. This gets her to where she wants to be without wasting time: an important factor when clients have little to spare and want to get away to places such as the Three Kings or Great Barrier. At 16 metres, she is currently the biggest model made by Riviera and it’s no surprise to learn that there is a long waiting list for new ones.

No expense has been spared in making sure that she has everything a boatie could want; angler or otherwise. Two large cabins are fitted with very comfortable double beds and each has its own bathroom, along with a couple of single berths. Both cabins are fitted with personal air conditioning units, and their own stereo and CD player. As for the on-board music selection: it caters to all tastes and, currently numbering well over a thousand discs, is fast becoming legendary.

The saloon area is large and designed to facilitate entertaining and socialising — especially the dining area: it has a huge table capable of seating twelve people! Then there’s the galley. The area is well set-up and there’s a stainless barbecue for those with the inclination.

Three fridges — one of massive size — keep everything fresh and the drinks cold. One of them is situated up on the fully-enclosed flybridge, providing quick and easy access for thirsty boaties enjoying high altitude scenery or lure watching.

The flybridge itself is also impressive. There are several long seats to sit or sprawl on and the layout is perfect for encouraging a little socialising, especially as it can be completely closed to all adverse weather elements. In addition, it also houses a mind-boggling array of the finest electrical equipment available at present, and just having it demonstrated by Deano is entertainment in itself — we’re definitely talking cutting-edge technology, here!

One would reasonably expect that a boat requiring so much power would require a generator thumping away for much of the time. This is not the case with Outer Limits — she is fitted with a genset inverter, making it unnecessary.

Water is certainly not a problem, either. Unlike most boats, you can shower all you want and the water does not have a bad taste when it’s made into tea or coffee. This is because, although Outer Limits only carries 1000 litres of water, there is a water-maker on board pumping out 80 litres every hour!

Fishing Machine

Outer Limits is not just about total comfort. She is also a serious fishing machine, possessing the best quality tackle available from 6 up to 37kg, with enough rod holders to cater for 22 outfits. There is an inside and outside livebait tank, and one is fitted with super-duper tuna tubes as well as underwater pool lights — all far too good for mere baitfish, surely?

Although Deano is very keen on stand-up type fishing, the boat is currently being fitted with a chair for those who prefer to fish this way — or if the fish hooked proves to be particularly large.

I was impressed by the bait rigging bench. It’s nice to have an area made for the purpose, and the long, narrow cupboard behind it is comprehensively set up with a wide variety of tackle and accessories, all neatly packed in their own, see-through containers.

In addition to the usual outriggers, Outer Limits boasts not one, but two downriggers. As far as I’m concerned, no boat should be without them, but surprisingly few do.

For the divers, there is a compressor on board for the refilling of tanks and a ladder. Both Deano and The Boss love to dive!

As for Deano, I didn’t get to see as much of the service he usually provides because it was very much a Boy’s Trip, but previous experiences have shown him to be a thoughtful fisher who uses the electronic wizardry on board to his and the charter’s fullest advantage. Already a very keen angler when he first took the job on, a few seasons of hard-out marlin fishing at the Three Kings has honed his skills further, endearing him to some very keen marlin fishers.

One of his regulars does an incredible 30-40 days a year! In addition, he’s friendly and affable, and a pleasure to be with. That’s important when you’re on a multi-day trip.

In summary, Outer Limits is a boat that’s hard to beat. She’s lavishly appointed, comfortable to be on and equipped with everything imaginable. If you want to fish or cruise in comfort on a ‘floating limousine’, this boat is for you.

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