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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Bay of Islands, NZ

We escaped Opua on Saturday and headed out to explore the Bay of Islands. We had a Thanksgiving reunion party with our friends from Ahti, Ruby Slippers and Julie and Dave on their catamaran Razzzle. Also along for the day on their sport fisher boat were the friends who supplied the snapper for our Thanksgiving feast so there were 15 people and 4 boats in our little group. When Marcy arrived at the first anchorage a party had already headed out to dive for crayfish (what the Kiwi's call lobsters
without claws), the kids were climbing the hill to see the gun abutments and there were a couple of people bottom fishing from the cat. We anchored with the group in the beautiful bay and enjoyed the afternoon relaxing while we waited for everyone to return to the anchorage. The dive party only got 1 crayfish but had a good dive, the kids finally returned and we were off to the next spot. Meanwhile, Patty from Ahti went with Karen and family on their small sport fisher to try for some snapper.
An hour later, by the time we caught up with the sport fisher to pick Patty up, they had hauled in 11 snapper and were trying to keep all the fish from tangling the lines as they hauled them in. We anchored off Urupukapuka Island where we collected green lip mussels off tidal rocks and feasted on snapper and mussels for dinner.
At 9AM Sunday were were under way in the dinghy and suited up for blue eyed scallop hunting. The limit is 20 scallops per person in the water and 20 for up to 2 safety people in the boat so with 5 swimmers and 4 safety people in dinghys we were ready for a scallop feast. The water is a bit chillier here than in Fiji so Ginger's time endurance here in her shorty wet suit was only about 40 minutes but she was able to find about a dozen legal sized scallops. It was worth the cold swim for the fun
of finding the scallops. We were looking in about 14 feet of water and though there were many scallops it had been picked over for big legal sized ones which made it a real search. What a great feeling to find dinner on the bottom! Those with scuba gear headed off to deeper water where they found the mother lode but the snorkelers got to return to the boats. Ginger was fortunate to get a hot shower aboard Ahti as Marcy has no hot water heater....
We went ashore with Ahti for a walk on the island and had great views from the ridge. Too soon it was time for us to haul anchor and head back to Opua. On the way we met our friends from Mufasa and got a personal tour of the Russell Boating Club.
We anchored back in front of Opua with a greater appreciation for why people rave about the Bay of Islands. It was a fantastic weekend and the scenery is spectacular. Elaine Carter, a friend and former Casey co-worker, is here in NZ and she's traveling around the North Island right now. We hope she'll have time to come visit us in the BOI before we head south as seeing the islands from a boat is a great experience.
Monday morning we signed up for a bus day trip to Whangarei. The business association sponsored the bus to bring people to Whangarei where we got an opportunity to see the boat yards and marinas. As we had decided to find space for Marcy there one of the marina managers suggested that we should take the bus down to see it in person and reserve our spot. It's a working city with a reputation as a handy place to work on boats. We're excited a marina there has space for us and will be heading that
way on Thursday. It should be a good place to work on the long list of boat jobs and it will be nice to have a home base to leave the boat tied up while Lisa visits.

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