What We Did Last Summer – 2017/2018

During the summer of 2017/2018 we had the addition of some family members as they joined us for adventures on the high seas and touring New Zealand. Bo and Selina, Thomas’ nephew and niece from Germany arrived once we returned to New Zealand from Fiji.

It was lovely having the family on board

We picked them up in Auckland and they mainly slept the way up to Whangarei where we had the boat moored. We began with some land tours, as Selina was going off on her own and Bo was remaining with us for the summer. It was like we’d given birth to an instant teenager.

Selina pointing at Mt Mania and explaining how she nearly died reaching the summit


Our journey up to Cape Reinga was exciting as we decided to take the Cape Runner up along the beach. I highly recommend this tour. It’s extremely reasonably priced and they are a great family outfit. We even saw whales breaching off the coast as we stopped for a break.

Cape Reinga


Sand tobogganing wasn’t on my agenda so I was just the photographer. Everyone came back covered in sand and a bit exhausted.

Lots of work getting up the hill and then it was over so quickly


Haruru Falls near Paihia on the way up to the cape.

Cape Reinga never fails to impress. The blue and green waters of the Pacific Ocean and Tasman sea meet. On a rough day, it gets quite impressive. We had a beautiful calm day to view on our visit.

Swamp Kauri is an interesting phenomenon. These ancient trees have fallen into swamps and have been preserved. The patterns contained within display nature’s beauty. We visited a sales area. I’ve had a ‘treasure chest’ made for William out of it.

Visiting the Swamp Kauri cafe and showroom

We sailed in the Bay of Islands for a while, meeting up with our friends from Family Circus. We also got a visit from Jakob, our young friend who helped me in Fiji when I injured my hip flexor.  From there, we had an epic time in the Poor Knights, a marine reserve off the coast of New Zealand that gets remnants of the East Australian Current. This brings warmer waters and unusual species to the coastal islands. Bo and Jakob enjoyed a free diving lesson from Chris and Thomas was teaching Bo to dive. We had an awesome time out there. Jakob’s talents as a musician, were an added bonus. We had many nights of entertainment with Chris and Sayo on Family Circus.

Bo getting ready to dive

Four calm days at the Poor Knights was a bonus as we headed further out to Great Barrier Island. Great Barrier, affectionately known as ‘The Barrier’, is a beautiful volcanic island off the coast of Auckland. Here we found fish and wildlife in abundance.

Jakob during a hike on Great Barrier Island


The hikes offered a new view of another bay with every ascent. Kingfish was in abundance and Chris enjoyed using his freediving skills to hunt these huge fish. Sashimi was on the menu quite a few times.

Aya swinging on one of the swings near the bath house in Smokehouse Bay

Smokehouse Bay is a cruiser’s paradise. Fresh water, a bath house, a smokehouse and laundry facilities. Huge rope swings lined the trees and offered hours of entertainment for the thrill seekers.


Once we left Great Barrier, we went to Waiheke, where Thomas and I decided to have winter. We had to see out a few storm fronts and we found the bays difficult for anchoring. Especially when the wind moved around overnight. We also made the decision to leave the boat in Whangarei over winter instead of having it close by.


A favourite spot for both Family Circus and Qi is Urquarts Bay. The water isn’t overly impressive, but the surrounding hikes are magnificent and there are scallops in the bay by the dozen. Within 10 minutes, the guys had their legal catch. It took another hour or so to get them out of their shells.




It was wonderful having Bo on board and catching up with Selina over the Summer. We got to know our niece and nephew as young adults and share some wonderful moments. Hopefully memories that they will carry for a life time.


Ready for this?


Milking cows on the farm was another lesson. (Should have seen them run when three cows pooped simultaneously).

Contemplating life in the presence of the giant old Kauris.

Steering the boat

Learning to drive the four-wheeler at Aunty Mary’s dairy farm.

Bo suiting up to help with the bottom paint on Qi. Big lessons.

A bit of Spelunking to see some glowworms

Christmas was at Kenett and Erica’s place. More Germans than Kiwis and Aussies

Uncle and nephew – both survived the summer

We anchored off a reserve and attended the Splore festival

I took off for a while and taught William how to swim

Fishing lessons caught on…

Helping out with dinner was often done with the headphones on

Filling up with water whilst balancing on a dodgy floating water buoy – lesson done – tick

A flag sewn in one of the lessons

A picnic lunch on paddle boards after a big paddle up a river in Whangaroa

Sometimes, more often than not, teenagers turn into aliens.

Jammin on Family Circus was one of the fun activities over Summer. Cards were alternative nights.

What happens when teenagers misbehave on Qi

Qi in her beauty light

Driving Lessons were included on the agenda. Uncle beat him on every lap.

Selina made us a lovely dinner. Bo was extremely impressed


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