Maunie and a schooner anchored in Army Bay, Moturua Island
After the (relatively) busy environment of Opua, it's lovely to be out in the Bay of Islands, exploring this beautiful area. We had some pretty heavy rain showers over the past couple of days but have been able to inflate the kayak and paddle ashore for some short walks between the showers.
After the often-too-deep anchorages of the Pacific islands, we're getting used to depths of around 3-4m in the bays and watching the depth sounder as we navigate around the islands. Not quite carefully enough, yesterday, as we gently scraped over a sandbank as we nosed in towards one bay – no damage except to pride as we were doing less than one knot.
Some of the islands are privately-owned, with some exceptionally smart houses, but most are managed by the Department of Conservation with well-marked walking trails so it's great to be able to stretch our legs and get some exercise. The weather looks set to improve over the weekend so the mostly empty anchorages will no doubt become a bit busier but it definitely seems that this is very early-season for the local yachts. The wildlife is out in force though, with Gannets and the quaintly-named Variable Oystercatchers swooping around and the cheeky Red Billed Gulls perching on our rails. Dianne is particularly delighted to have seen two Blue Penguins swimming alongside Maunie and on a walk yesterday we were entertained by native birds called Tuis (after which the beer that Graham drinks occasionally is named) collecting flower nectar only a few feet from us.
Our fellow blue water cruisers are beginning to arrive in serious numbers now so we'll look forward to catching up with friends when we go back to Opua on the 15th. Until then we'll be back to relying on Sat phone email with no internet.