February 2018

Tuesday 6th

Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Today is Waitangi Day and we went to the Treaty Grounds of the same name just outside Pahia to join in some of the celebrations.  Waitangi is where the treaty between the Maori People and the British was signed in 1840.  This treaty is generally regarded as the founding document for modern New Zealand.  We were lucky enough to be staying in the area that was originally settled by Europeans.  Indeed, Russell, which is just across the bay from Waitangi was the original Capital of NZ,

We had a lovely day out, the sun shone and there was a large crowd of people enjoying the various diversions.  The most spectacular of these was the demonstration of the Maori war canoes…

However, it was one of the locals that really got Sheryl and Katie’s attention…

Earlier in the day we watched a display that included a band of the Royal New Zealand Navy.  The performed around noon when HMNZS CANTERBURY, anchored in the Bay of Islands, fired a 21 gun salute. All very smart with their Royal Navy heritage shining through!

Monday 12th

Its time for us to be moving on.  We have spent the last few days in the Bay of Islands marina.  We only went in for one night last Wednesday but on the way in I noticed that the engine was running cold and we didn’t get any heat to the domestic hot water tank (its heated by engine cooling water).  This obviously needed investigating and fixing.  The advice from the local Volvo Penta agent was that the thermostat was most likely stuck open.  Whilst this didn’t explain the lack of heat to the hot water tank I replaced them (there are actually two on our engine) and also repaired a couple of small leaks from the tap offs to the hot water tank.  Once I’d managed to get all of the air out of the system everything worked properly again.

The weather has been pretty awful with both wind an rain so whilst we were ready to go on Saturday we tarried until today which is much nicer.  We have said our farewells to Jeff and Katie and aren’t sure when we’ll see them again.  They are planning to leave NZ mid year and continue west in MEZZALUNA.

Monday 19th

Waiheke island

We are now in the Hauraki Gulf.  This is the area of water to the east of Auckland and must be one of the best cruising grounds in the world.  Its taken us a week to travel 140Nm,  a distance we have done in 24 hours in the past!  We anchored every night and spent a couple of nights in three different places. Departing from the Bay of Islands to head south you round Cape Brett off which is the Hole in the Rock…

There are some lovely and very sheltered anchorages on the east coast of New Zealand.  This is a view in Whangaruru Harbour…

Urquharts Bay at the mouth of the river that leads up to Whangarei is another good place to stop…

And now we are anchored in Huruhi Bay on the south coast of Waiheke Island.  The settlement here is Blackpool but they don’t have a tower.

Thursday 22nd


We moved around here this morning.  The last anchorage had a beach that dried out for about 500m or so. Having left the dinghy at high tide yesterday morning we had quite a drag over a muddy flat to get it back into the  water four hours later.   The beach here is lovely white sand and shelves more steeply.

Friday 23rd


Yesterday afternoon we visited a couple of the dozen or so vineyards that this wonderful small island boasts.  Both were within easy walking distance of Oneroa, the main town on the island.  This is the cellar door at Mudbrick…

After the wine tastings we caught an early evening showing of Darkest Hour (Gary Oldman plays Churchill in May 1940, brilliant!).  The local community cinema is an absolute delight…

After the film our first Indian meal in New Zealand, very much like the food you expect in the UK.

When we anchored here yesterday there were maybe a total of ten boats in the bay.  This afternoon there has been a steady stream of new arrivals.  It seems that Auckland and his mother come to Waiheke for the weekend.  There are now over 100 boats here!  We can’t remember being in such a busy small anchorage since the Caribbean…

Sunday 25th


THE END OF SUMMER? – There is a definite last day of summer feel about today.  Since mid morning boats have been leaving and, presumably, heading back to Auckland and work tomorrow after an idyllic weekend.  The nights are cooler and whilst the days aren’t yet that short high summer is now a fading memory.  Hopefully Autumn will be kind to us as we head further south.

I must also mention a wonderful micro brewery we visited yesterday, well you can’t drink wine all the time, can you?  Boogie Van has a brew plant which has a capacity of 300 ltr per batch, very small.  Its on an industrial estate pretty much in the middle of the island and right on a public bus route so very easy to get to and from.  Unfortunately they don’t have an on sales licence so you have to taste for free and then buy some to take away.  We spent a fantastic hour in the company of the American proprietor, Rick.  He offered us tastes of each of his six current brews and there wasn’t a single poor one amongst them.  I don’t think I’ve ever been to a brewery where all the beers were so good!

My favourite was the L’il Evil Session Ale, Sheryl went for the Best Coast American Pale Ale at 6.0% ABV!

The journey continues in March.