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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Monday, 28 November 2022

Off to find the Dolphins

 Wonderful night's sleep was had even with the noise of that waterfall so close by. Woke to blue skies, it was set to be a good day.

We managed to free park at Paihia, although there is a parking area for motorhomes at the public car park a little way up the road. I think the fee was $2 an hour., still pretty good we would have had to pay 12 dollars for the 6 hours. Anyway we decided the walk would do us good, and we got to the 50ft catamaran 'Carino' in plenty of time. Sailing was for 9.15 am.

Only 12 on board, it will get busier later in the year. A nice number to have, not crowded and two couples were Brits, so we got to chat about the UK news. Was that wise? Do we really want to know?. Anyway once underway it was all pile onto the sprung netting at the bow to listen to today's itinerary.

Sail would be hosted as soon as there was enough wind and not 10 minutes into the cruise the cry went up to raise the mainsail.  As only the skipper (Vanessa) and deck hand (Nicky) the only crew members on Carino, help was needed in raising the sail. Quite a few scrambled up grabbing hold of the rope, I noticed Ian wasn't one of them, he managed to be conveniently out of the way as the shout, 'heave too' was heard. I spied him peaking through the doorway! 


 And if you are wondering why I didn't help, I was beaten too it by the younger generation. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking with it! Anyway Ian didn't get out of helping after all, he was grabbed to set the jib by hauling the rope (sheet) at the back.

The hope was to see little Blue Penguins, Gannets and Dolphins. Blue Penguins and Gannets were seen but of the Dolphin? Not a sign. We sailed toward the Bay of Islands landing at Army Bay on Motorua Island.

The landing was to the left of those 2 dingies

No jetty to get us off, It was either swim for it or the dry option, taken by inflatable dingy. We both chose the dry option! Quite a few swam, I felt it too far from shore for me to attempt, plus I have this fear of not knowing what is beneath me. Usually the water is crystal clear but all the wind and rain had stirred up the sandy bottom. Visibility was poor. Clambering into the dinghy was the most ungainly thing I have done in a good while. In fact, I landed heavy and nearly had the dingy over! A good laugh was had by all!

Well it was a long way to step into that dingy as Ian demonstrates.

Ian had the task of holding all the bags of the swimmers.

Once on the island a track of sorts took us to a viewing point right by a gunnery observation post.

Fabulous views of the Bay of Islands, phones swapped by one and all and photos taken of each couple. We all went away happy.

The return to Carino was slightly better, no mishaps, and I managed to clamber back on deck with the help of ladders. Lunch was on the go, a BBQ of sausage and fried onion in a roll with a coleslaw salad, the tastiest I have had since making my own ๐Ÿ˜€  Ian bought me a glass of wine, had one for himself and then immediately regretted it. Two small glasses.....$20!!!!๐Ÿ˜’


 Leaving the island once again the sails went up. This time Ian did get involved as the video shows.

6 hours we were out on the water and not a single Dolphin turned up. Great excitement at one point when a shape was seen breaking surface. Turned out to be a Hammerhead Shark! 


Thoroughly enjoyed the day, came away windswept and sun kissed (slightly burnt in spite of the sunscreen). Another good recommendation from us both.

We are now heading south toward Auckland. Our stop overnight was at a recreation park at Kaikohe. Not that nice a place but free campsites are few and far between. One takes what one can get!


Tomorrow off to see the Kauri Trees. They are among the world's mightiest trees, growing to over 50 m tall, with trunk girths up to 16 m, and living for over 2,000 years. Looking forward to that.

And wildlife



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