Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Bay of Islands Cruise (Dolphins, Sharks and more) - Part 2 of 2 of Liz's Letter Home

[Here is part 2 of 2 of Liz's recent letter home]

The view from Kawau Island during our fun trip with Jamie and Caroline in their super nice launch.
Yippee, Jake and Abby are here !

With Victoria and Johnathan giving us a daily sitrep of the countdown, it wasn't very many days at all before we were preparing our boat for company: Max's sister Sarah and her family are doing a year-long round-the-world trip, and they have fitted us into their programme.  Back in August, Victoria created a chart with all the days so she could cross them off as the months went by.  Max and the big kids went to Auckland (where they had the chance to spend a day on Max & Sarah's cousin's new power boat).  It turns out that you can cover ground a lot more quickly at 18 kts than at 6 kts.  Who knew?! Everyone had a lovely visit, and they came back to Opua the following day.  Meanwhile, while the cat was a way, the mice (Benjamin and I) invited some of the ladies in the marina over to play.  My able helper and I had a busy day finding all the bunks, benches, and floors, but it was lovely to look around our company-ready boat at 7pm and have room for seven mamas in our saloon.  As ever this evening was bittersweet because we have dear friends who have gone on to other ports, but it was also nice to meet some new kindred spirits for the first time.  It was a good reminder that every close friend was at one time a stranger, and that it is worth the effort to get to know new people ...

Jake heading back from the kids' secret fort.
We found Sarah & Chris a place to stay in Paihia for a couple of days while we re-grouped and re-provisioned, then we headed out to explore the Bay of Islands for almost a week.  On our first day out of Opua, we pretty much saw all the highlights that folks come here to see: we had dolphins visit us and show off all around the boat, we caught a kingfish, we spotted little penguins playing in the waves, and we were visited by a big shark when we were filleting the fish.  Oh, and we were anchored alone in a picturesque location.  It really doesn't get much better than this!  Each of the subsequent days offered its own adventures, with a trip to the "Hole in the Rock" (with calm seas and beautiful sunshine included), camping ashore (two nights, four kids), and lovely beaches to play on and hills to hike up.  We have had mostly sunny weather, with the odd bit of chilly breeze to keep our wind generator happy and to make us appreciate the warm sunshine that much more.

The dolphins arrive on cue as requested by Abby
The girls pulled in this 30" Kingfish.

Jake getting a chance to fillet the fish for supper.
Some kingfish head for the sharky.  Fun timing as I had just finished working under the hull.
The bronze whaler shark also liked the kingfish.  Before anyone asks, there is no hook in the fishhead.  The head is just tied with string that the shark has no problem biting through.

The R Tucker Thompson sails by.
Off to "Hole in the Rock"
Never miss a chance to fish ...

You can see us in the RHIB in the "hole in the rock"

Coming back to Fluenta

Liz sailing Fluenta back and forth waiting for us as we check out the "hole in the rock"
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Sarah sailing us back to an anchorage.

The kids set up camp at Urapukapuka
Fluenta anchored at Urapukapuka
Who needs playgrounds ... we have trees ...

Trees and lines ... obviously we need to set up a zipline ...

Cousins !

Benjamin is, of course, not wanting to be left behind ...
We only have a couple more days with Sarah and her family, so the kids are making the most of every moment with their cousins, and are already planning ahead for our visit the Granny & Grandpa's farm in the summertime :)

That pretty much brings you up to date on the movements of Fluenta and her crew.  We'll be back on the dock on Monday, in time for Max to drive everyone back to Auckland to meet their flight to Fiji, and we will do a few more maintenance-related jobs in Opua before we head back out to anchor for the Christmas holidays (hopefully with the several other kid-boats that are in the area).

Fluenta is anchored near the "bug" south of the "Bay" in Lagoon Bay on this chart.

Fluenta anchored near where Capt Cook anchored HMS ENDEAVOUR 

Love to you and yours,

Update: we spent a few days on the dock in Opua, and now we are heading out to the Bay of Islands again for the Christmas/New Year's period.  We are a fleet of four kid boats, and everyone is looking forward to relaxing and visiting. We wish you every blessing of this holiday season.

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