Monday, 13 July 2020

Boating in the Bay of Islands

Catch-up (from way back when)

I bet that threw you. Bay of Islands? No we're still in the South Island (real time) but I decided the rest of the South Island catch-up blogs can wait. I'm now going to hopefully finish off the Far North & Northland blogs from, would you believe it, 18 months ago! I've had several requests from various people over the last few months asking when I was going to do them. I had afterall promised to finish them last winter! So here you are, lets see how the grey matter performs remembering it all.

Here's the link to the last blog from up north, we had stayed a few days before Christmas at the Wagener Holiday Park in Houhora and then returned to the NZMCA Tokerau Beach Park for Christmas & New Year (a very wet & damp holiday period). We then returned to Kerikeri in early January, 2019, left the rig on our friends Bruce & Barbaras' front lawn and headed to the Opua Marina to meet up with my sister, Gaelyn (Gae) & her husband David (yes another one) at their launch and spend three nights on the boat out in the bay. 

We're very familiar with Opua Marina, we sailed our boat up to the Bay of Islands from Tauranga and rented a berth at Opua for the summer a long time ago. While we spent most of our time out on the water we had a base to come back to when the weather packed up and/or we needed supplies.

Being the height of summer there were many luxury boats and super yachts anchored up between Paihia & Russell. I love the tender attached to this one, it's probably three times the size of our Takacat inflatable.

We rounded Tapeka Point...

...and met a steady stream of boats heading to and coming back from the islands, including the R. Tucker Thompson tall ship.

We motored into Honeymoon Bay (Hahangarua Bay) and headed towards a familiar launch, my sister's in-laws boat, we called out a hello and motored right on past, they were busy with other members of the family and, with what seemed, an awful lot of grandchildren. 

We carried on past several bays where many more boats were moored up. This one, Pipi Bay (Awaawaroa Bay), is a popular little cove & a favourite for New Years Eve parties.

We rafted up with friends in Indico Bay (Otiao Bay) and had a relaxing afternoon before we headed over to the mainland to pick Gae up from Parekura Bay on the Rawhiti to Russell Road.  She had driven up from Whangarei after finishing work late in the afternoon. 

As we passed the end of  Otehei Bay (Urupukapuka Island) I spied a very familiar boat; it was our old boat Quantum. After selling her in Tauranga, the last time we saw her was at Waikawa Marina in Picton and now here she was in the Bay of Islands. 

We had some fun times (and a few scary ones) exploring the coastline from the Bay of Plenty, in and around the Coromandel, through the Hauraki Gulf and right up to Whangaroa Harbour in the Far North. As much as we loved it on the water we wanted to explore the interior too, hence the reason (well one of the reasons) we moved from a boat to a 5th-wheeler. The transition was easy, we were used to living in a small space.

We collected Gae from the boat ramp at Parekura Bay and then made our way around into Assassination Cove, where they have a mooring, for the night. 

Unfortunately my David had missed out on most of the afternoon and much of the evening, he hadn't been feeling the best since leaving Opua and was downstairs on one of the beds.  

It was a glorious sunset as more boats motored in behind us and settled down for the night... the golden hour turned into the blue hour and then the inky blackness of night fell across the quiet and calm bay. I say quiet, that was until friends rafted up and the food & drink started to flow. 

Poor David was still unwell and stayed in our cabin during the evening. He had a very restless night but felt a little better in the morning. The next morning my brother-in-law received a call from his parents boat, his mother was not well and his brother thought she needed to be taken to the medical centre. 

With all the grandkids and visitors on board their boat it was going to be easier for us to collect her and take her back to Russell to see the doctor.

We motored across to them, tied up and transferred a very pale and unsteady mother-in-law onto our boat and headed the 20 odd kilometres back into Russell. 

David had crashed again so we now had two patients on board, thankfully there was also nurse at hand if needed; Gae. And if things got desperate we could call on the local police Naiad RHIB boat which was moving about checking on the many holiday makers on the water.

One of the dozens of cruise ships that visit New Zealand over summer was berthed in the harbour between Russell & Paihia. Passengers were being transferred from the ship in tenders/liferafts to both towns.

Gae had called ahead to the medical centre and with no transport available an ambulance was sent to collect David's mother. It was waiting on the wharf when we arrived.

We also had to get permission to tie up (and stay) at the Russell wharf for an hour or so because security had it blocked off for the cruise ship tenders to offload passengers.

David & I stayed with the boat. And in fact David went back to bed, he still wasn't well and we should have made the decision then to call it a day and head back to Opua once the family were back on board. But he rallied a little and didn't want to put a damper on an already stressful day.

Once the others arrived back at the boat, David's mother re-hydrated and with the all clear from the Doctor, we headed back out to the islands once again.

Russell Waterfront

We dropped our patient back at her boat and spent the rest of the afternoon chilling on the boat in another bay.

There was another spectacular sunset which David missed as he was below deck once again. A nasty rash had also broken out on his lower back and he once again had a terrible night. Uh-oh...

The next morning the decision was made to head back into Opua, David was now very unwell and hadn't eaten for two days. It was time to get him to a doctor.

So much for a relaxing few days on the water....we headed off once again.

When we rounded Tapeka Point the small cruise ship from yesterday had been replaced with a monster one. 

We were dwarfed by the ship as we passed behind it.

The marina was very busy but we managed to offload at the casual berth. We sent Gae & David on their way, the third time in three days that the boat headed back out to the islands. 

David, looking deathly white, waited patiently with the gear while I walked to the carpark to get the ute. I loaded it up and we drove off back to Kerikeri and straight to the medical centre. And that was how we found ourselves staying on our friends front lawn for the next three weeks; David had shingles. And had a very bad reaction to them, we even had to make a trip to the Kawakawa Hospital at one stage because they thought he might have had meningitis.

And I might add here too that he had been to his doctor back in Tauranga to get the shingles vaccine and they had run out, he next went to a chemist at one of our stops and they too had run out so it wasn't for lack of trying that he missed out on it. All I can say (having had shingles too, 9 years ago) you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy and I would highly recommend you get the vaccine if you're entitled to it.

We are forever grateful to Bruce & Barbara who gave us the space we needed but looked out for us each day too. And we would have been lost without a power supply on what turned out to be three weeks of glorious summer sun with temperatures in the late thirties every day. The air conditioning in the fifth-wheeler certainly earnt its keep that summer.

Leaving David to rest, I took myself on a few tiki-tours around the local area and enjoyed stalking several Californian Quail families and their bumble-bee sized chicks who passed through the garden each day.


  1. An awesome read thank you and interesting travels, I was in lockdown in Kerikeri so explored most of those places but not on water, love all the BOI... we have to be philosophical when health issues intervene with our trips.... its all part of travelling away and you guys are seasoned ones so take it all in your stride...I take my hat off to your resilience and facing adversity when it comes along, I will get that vaccination, thanks for tip...I have had a few teething issues in mh (mainly with nutting out controls on Trumo control panel) since travelling on my own for a month or so ...but like you I find the best way is to quietly go about learning how to do things myself...using mrs google, the nzmca forum or just asking someone...i've realised the only person that can affect what happens and what works in mh is myself ... so its a great test of character and do it your self mentality that i ride out any ups & downs and enjoy all of the great sites & highlights of NZ.

    1. Hi helen, thanks for you message & I'm pleased you enjoyed the BOI blog, it is a lovely area to explore and would have been a great place to spend lockdown; nice & summery. I hope all your teething issues on the MH are now sorted especially as we're now into the middle of winter when we need heaters & hot water. Safe travels.

  2. fabulous read thank you Glad David recovered from shingles its one of the most painful coomplaints I`ve had

    1. Pleased you enjoyed the blog, and yes I concur with you, I wouldn't wish shingles on my worst enemy :)


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