Monday, February 3, 2014

Sailing in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand

We were given the option on our second day to have a free day in the Bay of Islands or to join the coach tour to some historical preservation sites of Kauri. I decided to find some water sports since I don’t have the opportunity to play on the ocean very often. Looking through brochures at the hotel, I found the “She’s a Lady” cruise which was the name of a sail boat that would take you on a two hour sail out to a fairly secluded island on the outer fringes of the Bay of Islands and give you the opportunity to kayak, snorkel, and provided a lunch. I joined that trip with eight other people and the skipper of the boat.
We were given the opportunity to sail the boat if we wanted and four of us took up the offer. It was a busy day in the bay as there was a regatta with multiple sailing competitions going on, so we weaved our way out to open water avoiding the other ships.
We saw a pod of dolphins that were some distance away, but where jumping into the air. Our skipper said that they were probably working to drive fish so that they could round them up. Our skipper also saw a penguin in the water and about half the people on the boat were able to spot it (I was not so lucky).
There was an amazing array of different ships out on the water. I would estimate that we were close to at least 100 different vessels. One of which was a three masted wooden ship that was skippered by a woman that apparently would have pirate themed cruises. We also saw the Lion of New Zealand which had won the America’s Cup in the past but was now retired from competition.  
We set anchor in a quiet little bay that was within sight of the open ocean. I took out a kayak and found some places to snorkel. The water was a bit rough which stirred up a lot of sediment. I was able to see a lot of sea weed and a few brownish fish (one was more than a foot long), but not much else.
I kayaked across the bay and the channel to the open ocean to try my luck in a more protected cove. This area was thick with sea weed, but I did not see any fish there. That particular beach must have been pretty rough because it was completely covered with rounded shell fragments.
After some more snorkeling on my own, I kayaked back to the group in the bay for a picnic lunch under a tree, then we sailed back home for about two hours. It was a very pleasant day and I got to enjoy some water sports that I don’t usually have the opportunity to do.



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