Bay of Islands - See photo Gallery
Hi every-one , we have just arrived back in Opua having spent a few days sailing around the Bay of Islands and getting acquainted with what will be our "backyard " for the next few months in the company of John & Lyn (SV Windflower) of the ICA along with a couple of other cruising yachts that are ICA members. John & Lyn are the owners if the ICA (Island Cruising Association) who arranged the rally from the Pacific to NZ ,they are also Bay of Island residents when they are not offshore on rallies so we were very fortunate to have them show us their favourite spots. After being on the slip for 7 days working on Migaloo , painting , polishing , and repairing broken stuff it was good to be back out enjoying the islands again.
The Bay of Islands is all that the Kiwi's boast it to be , with literally dozens islands most of which have many bays that offer shelter from all the various wind angles and all of which are within a few miles of each other making for a very safe and relaxing place to sail around and take it easy. Many of the islands have walking tracks and if you make the effort (some a quite steep and rough) you will find yourself on the top of a hill or ridge looking out over the islands, the bay and back to the mainland.
As John & Lyn are locals they also know where the yummy stuff that lives in the ocean likes to hide and they were kind enough to show us where to find Scallops, Green Lip Mussels and the Snapper fishing grounds, we spent each of our four nights either on the beach or aboard Migaloo sharing treats such as Crumbed and Kebab scallops and Chilli Mussels with pasta and rice and lots of other yummy treats (not to mentions quite a few beers and wines as well)
Speaking of wines, as we left Opua with John & Lyn and headed out into the bay Colin and Marion (owners of the Omata Estate Winery that we visited soon after our arrival) who sail frequently with the ICA in their yacht "Avante Grande" called John and asked if we would like to stop by their home for lunch. Their home is what once an exclusive lodge was and is positioned in the centre of a horseshoe shaped bay at the base of the 70 acre Omata Estate Winery. It is some special place, we were treated to an afternoon of wine tasting, good company, and great views, and the wine was that good we bought a few bottles to have later.
As you will see in the photo gallery we enjoyed our beach BBQ`s , as well as eating and drinking we played a few games of a version of lawn bowls that you play on the beach and we also had some fun with a giant slingshot one of the other cruisers brought along.
Also in the photo gallery you will see a picture of what appears to be a carving of a wizard which we stumbled across in the middle of nowhere when we were driving the scenic route (we were lost) on our way back from Auckland as well as a couple of shots we took when we went to a cultural night and saw a play that gave a version of the Maori history and the Waitangi Treaty , it was a great show and an insight into the Maori experience during the European settlement of NZ .
We will probably head back out into the bay later this week as we count down the days until Matt arrives (23rd December) to spend Christmas with us , looking forward to that alot !
So I hope you enjoyed reading this and I hope you also like the photos we will update you all again before Christmas so until then its "Kia Ora" ( a Maori greeting meaning be well) , from us both.