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