Friday 22 April 2016

Opua to Great Barrier - Big Kingfish, Bigger Orcas and a Nice Spinnaker Passage.

Fluenta waited patiently for on her mooring in Russel while we went off on our road trip.  On our return we moved to Opua for a few days to do a bit of maintenance (new alternators and regulator plus our long awaited rain enclosure - very nice).

We had a nice day sail into the Bay of Islands where we anchored in the same spot as over Christmas. This time however we mostly had it to ourselves.  There was some sort of photo shoot with two models on boards (which was pretty funny as they were not very comfortable on the boards) and then we had the place to ourselves.

The next day we had a nice light air sail mostly under spinnaker to meet up with Nirvana and Vareke on Great Barrier Island.  Not only did we have a nice overnight sail but on setting the anchor a pod of orcas came over to welcome us.  Despite being a bit foggy headed from the overnight trip, Gary, Nigel and I headed out soon after the anchor was down to go spearfishing.  A successful trip as all three of us shot fish - two nice kingfish for Gary and I and Nigel got a fish even though it was his first ever spearfishing trip.

The trip was also a great trial for our new rain enclosure especially sailing from Great Barrier to Auckland with the wind in the mid-20kts and rain.

Anchor chain markings ready for another season

Models doing a photo shoot.  I suspected they did not want me paddling over on my board. They had multiple video and still cameras plus the obligatory drone.

The anchorage to ourselves.  A bit different than at Christmas

A lovely spinnaker sail to Great Barrier Island

Dinner on Nirvana at Great Barrier.

My first kingfish. Gary estimated it weighed about 60 pounds.  We ate very well ...  

Orcas welcoming us into the anchorage as I set the snubber.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

The Big NZ Road Trip Photos - Pt 10 - North on North Island - One Legged Kiwis, Moreporks and Sand Surfing

The last set of photos from our six week road trip.  After Auckland we dashed to Cape Reinga on the northwest tip  of North Island.

But we had one important stop on the way - a return trip to the amazing Whangerei Native Bird Recovery Centre that Liz and the kids visited last year.  Robert and Robyn do an amazing job there and it was really nice to have Robert give us a personal tour.

Less coffee for the morepork.

This little penguin was brought in while we were there.

Baby Blue Penguin

Spark, the one legged Kiwi.

Benjamin is not so sure about Sparky but about a month later he started talking about how Sparky digs for worms. 

Sparky digs for worm.

The view to the west from Cape Reinga

Mandatory Family Photo

Cape Reinga

A lot of New Zealand to see from here to Bluff.


Hard to capture the height in the photos but look at the people below.

Brave mum.

More adventures in extreme nursing

Of course, anyone could do it lying down ...

Tasty sand.

Surfing ...

Never too young to start.

Of course, standing might be too easy too ... 

90 Mile beach and our great little van than has done us so well over two seasons and the length of New Zealand

How does it all fit ...

Saturday 9 April 2016

The Big NZ Road Trip Photo - Pt 9 - Back to North Island - Kaitoke, Rotorua and Auckland.

Liz with one of the primary authors of Yoyaging With Kids.  We finally got to see a copy of the book and the sidebar that Liz wrote.

We had the great fortune to camp with the nice folks formerly of SV Wondertime.  They are now travelling NZ by RV.  The kids playing with the kids at Kaitoke.

After the tent collapsed again we moved into the lee of these trees and added a few more lines ...

"Rivendell" from the Lord of the Rings

Burp ! Boiling mud in Rotarua

Free hot pool in Rotura

Heading north.  Stormy Point

Fishing lessons from Uncle Jamie in Auckland

Wednesday 6 April 2016

The Big NZ Road Trip Photos - Pt 7 - Sasquatch photos of Penguins, Hector Dolphins, Petrified Forest and South to Slope Point

The view from Bluff
The view from Bluff.

It gets a bit windy down here.  Slope Point - the southern tip of South Island

Slope Point: the southern tip of South Island.  Our Equator crossing seems a long time ago

Matching tents !

An oyster dredger at the the Bluff Maritime Museum

Again, not my photo but rather from Wikipedia.  After several years of cruising I finally got to swim with dolphins.  I spent over an hour in the rather chilly South Island waters with a large pod of Hector dolphins.

The petrified forest at Curio Bay.  Amazing.  One of the least disturbed is the world

The petrified forest at Curio Bay.  Amazing.

The kids and I waited for several hours in the rain to watch for one of the rarest types of penguin: yellow-eyed penguin return to the chicks.  Just before dark one of them returned.

Rather a Sasquatch photo but yes it is the rare, yellow-eyed penguin.

This is what they really look like.  Alas not my photo but from Wikipedia.

Exploring the Catlins

Exploring the Catlins

Reflections in the Catlins.

The beach on the way to the Cathedral Caves

Cathedral Caves

Cathedral Caves

Finding internet to do some school