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After a 7-day passage from Fiji we arrived in Opua in the Bay of Islands. Once cleared in, we got a few essentials and set off to find our first anchorage for the next few days. With southerly winds forecast we opted to spend the next week in the Bay of Islands before catching the northerly winds down the coast to Whangarei.
We thought that having orcas next to the quarantine berth the morning after arriving was such a cool welcoming gift but we were fortunate enough to spot them again on our way out of Opua. Needless to say we couldn’t believe our luck to have them visit our anchorage at Moturua island that same afternoon. Simply amazing and truly mesmerising watching a pod of orcas cruise around the bay and hunting for stingrays in the shallows. A very special welcome back to NZ and it made me almost forget about the drop in water temperature - ha ha, just kidding - I'm still getting used to the cold water ;-)
If the welcoming party of orcas wasn't enough to make us like the look of that anchorage, then a supply of fresh mussels just a short paddle away or the fact that the snappers were biting were sure to be enough to convince us we had found a pretty neat spot. There is a lovely little hike up the hill for some nice scenic views over the Bay of Islands and a stunning beach on the other side of the island.
We even got brave at one stage and dared to get wet going for a paddle on our kayaks to explore a close-by sandbank. Almost daily we had dolphins visiting the anchorage and the kids were both lucky enough to paddle around in the kayak when a pod of dolphins came up close to them. The experience of a lifetime really!!! Lucky for them I was already on the deck with a camera and could capture those special moments.
We departed Moturua a few days later, mostly for a quick shopping trip to Russel to stock up on some fresh supplies along with some more bait and fuel which is the easiest to obtain there. Russel was only a couple of hours away so we left in the morning, had a quick stroll around Russel while getting our supplies and left again to make our way to our new anchorage at Urupukapuka Island.
This was another picturesque anchorage with a number of fantastic walks and beautiful beaches to explore. It was nice to spend our last few days in the Bay of Islands here while waiting for the northerlies to arrive. There are so many stunning little anchorages in the Bay of Islands and most of them within a stone's throw of each other. We've been so lucky to witness and experience such an abundance of wildlife while we were there and certainly will be back to experience some more!
With the arrival of the northerlies we made our way down the coast to Whangarei. Light winds saw us leisurely cruising down the coast with the asymmetric up. It was an awesome sail - sun shining, asymmetric flying and calm seas. The magic was happening!!! Just as we rounded Bream Head and made our way towards the harbor entrance, we had a pod of dolphins race alongside the boat, welcoming us into Whangarei. If the sail down the coast wasn't already awesome, that just made it epic!
I've got heaps of video footage along with photos of our time in Fiji as well as in New Zealand and I will work on editing some of those and adding them to the website in the next few weeks. I also have a few very exciting news to share in the upcoming blog posts, so watch this space for some updates from us soon but here are a few pics to check out until then xx