Back to the Bay of Islands

by Drew on January 18, 2010

We are back in the Bay of Islands, home of the most awkward morning VHF net in the world.  Last time we were here, we found Opua boring and expensive (up to $40NZ for a round trip cab to Paihia, less than 5 miles down the road).  The only positive things I could find were the giant burgers at the Marina Cafe and the friendly guys at Cater Marine.  I now know that it was our own damn fault for sitting in Opua the whole time and not getting out to see the rest of the Bay.  Come to think of it, other than checking in, giving the boat a quick washdown, and fixing whatever you broke on the passage south, I can see NO REASON for sitting ANY amount of time in Opua.   Seeing as how the marina is full due to Bay Islands Race Week, we’ve been relegated to the outer anchorages.  When I started this post, for instance, we were sitting just off the main dock of Paihia tucked behind a little island called Motumaire.  Last night we moved over to Russell, and right now Dosia is anchored in a bay just outside the channel leading into Kerikeri.

For the Kiwis, the Bay of Islands is the next best thing to Tonga and Fiji.  As the name implies, it’s a large bay with lots of islands and anchorages, some of which have semi-clear water.  I keep reading blog posts and articles about people enjoying the “clear waters” of this area and I have no idea what they are talking about.  I guess if I were comparing the waters here to Auckland harbor or say, the Mississippi delta, I would consider them clear.  But coming from the islands of the South Pacific, no chance.  I do have to say I’m more impressed with the Bay on this trip around.  When we were last here in November it was early in the season.  There weren’t a lot of boats and without the Kiwis on holidays, the towns were filled with European backpackers.  Now it’s quite different.  The beaches are packed, the towns are filled, and the anchorages are almost overflowing.  Although many cruisers would disagree, I find this a much more enjoyable time to be here.  We did a little Sunday morning hike on Urupukapuka Island with Betsy and Richard from s/v Qayak.  Here’s a couple of shots.  We’ve decided this place is a lot more beautiful from above than it is at eye level.

Looking out on the Bay of Islands Marge on Urupukapuka

We’re steadily watching the weather waiting on our chance to pounce the Tasman Sea.  Meanwhile we’re taking care of small projects on Dosia and setting her up for her new owners.  We’re also maintaining Marge and making sure she’s prepped for the passage.  Yesterday we had one of her wisdom teeth removed!  We put some new photos up so make sure you check them out and as always, thanks for reading!

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