The weather was grey but the maritime landscape off Hardinge Rd in Ahuriri yesterday was even greyer as one of the Royal New Zealand Navy's inshore patrol vessels paid a visit.
The HMNZS Taupo, skippered by Commanding Officer Damian Gibbs, took time out in the calmer waters of Hawke Bay just after mid-day before returning to the open seas.
It stood to within a kilometre of the shoreline, causing passing motorists to stop and take a second look.
The vessel has been on a fisheries patrol down the eastern coastline this week and is due to arrive in Wellington on Saturday.
It did not enter or tie up at Napier Port.
The 340-tonne vessels, which carry a crew of 20 and up to 12 additional personnel, work in with several agencies - New Zealand Customs Service, the Department of Conservation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry of Fisheries, Maritime New Zealand, and New Zealand Police.