From Serenity To Chaos

We wake up in the beautiful and peaceful bay here at Kahuwera Pa this morning and it’s just amazing. It’s calm on the water and the sun is shining with very few clouds hanging about. I don’t know. It seems each day here just gets better and better. It’s easy to see why this is considered one of the top cruising destinations in the world.

We ease into the morning with a bit of coffee and internet time.  Around 1000 we decide we need to get going so we weigh anchor and make our way around the corner into Opua. We ordered a cruising guide for Marlborough Sound and it’s waiting for us at Burnsco Marine

It’s another very busy day on the water here. Seems this place is always teeming with boats scattered from shore to shore. But, it is the summertime mate and this beautiful weather won’t last long so I guess I can understand the need to take full advantage of it.

The leg from Kahuwera Point to Tapeka Point is a short 3.5 NM. We take the corner wide as there are lots of rocks jutting out from the shore. And, quite frankly, there are boats cutting in and out and around so we just take it slow and steady. From the point to Opua is another 5.5 NM or so. It’s a gorgeous trip down the waterway here even if it is a bit chaotic with boats everywhere you look. On the western side of the bay we see the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the distance and then the small town of Pahia. On the eastern side is the adorable seaside town of Russell. We’ve been there by car but this is the first time we’re seeing it from the water.

Tapeka Point

Boats Are Everywhere!

As we get nearer to Russell and Opua traffic picks up with ferries going in every which direction. There’s the car ferry that runs from Russell to Opua which takes just about five minutes but saves forty-five if you have to go around in your car. And, there are ferries running from Opua to Pahia and Pahia to Russell. Every little cove is packed full of boats at anchor or on moorings. If we thought Paradise Bay was a carnival like atmosphere then this truly is the Ringling Brothers & Barnum Bailey Big Top Circus! 

We make our way through the hustle and bustle of the boats and finally arrive at the entrance to the Bay of Islands Marina in Opua. We’re only planning to stay a few hours so we start looking for a place to anchor just outside of the marina. Well, this turns out to be an adventure all on its own. There are literally a couple hundred boats out here and the vast majority of them are on moorings so we can’t just drop the hook anywhere. We spend about a half an hour winding our way through the moorings looking for a spot. Finally we find an area near a small island. It puts us about .6 NM away from the dinghy dock, a little further away than we hoped, but it’s all good.

We tip a couple of anchor down beers then Dan puts the motor on Sparkle and off we go to shore. On shore we pick up the cruising guide we had ordered at Burnsco and then check out Cater Marine for anything else we might need. Next we stop at the little grocery store. It’s more like a fancy convenience store than a grocery store. I guess if you are here in Opua and have no other option then this place could be of assistance. But the things we were looking for like meats and veggies were slim pickings. We will wait until we get to Russell to do our shopping.

We are only on shore for about an hour and a half but in that time the winds picked up and the anchorage became pretty darn choppy. We decide it’s time to get back to Dazzler before we get soaked. The ride back is definitely a bit wetter than the ride in. Dan’s stellar dinghy driving skills keep us from being doused! No swamp ass today. Thanks Dear!

Moving On!

Back on Dazzler we decide we definitely are not going to stay here for the night. It’s just far too much hullabaloo for us. So, we weigh anchor and make our way the 2.25 NM back to Russell. Yes, there are quite a few boats here as well but it’s a lot quieter than Opua and there are a few restaurants on shore so we’re happy yachties.

As we arrive in the anchorage we see a fabulous yacht. Her name is Odyssey and she’s truly spectacular. She’s 190’ of pure luxury. Just off her bow is her “mini me” called Odyssey II. She’s 45’ and looks like a miniature version of the mother ship. Of course I have to go online to do a little checking on this yacht. If I don’t I’m certain they will strip me of my Mrs. Kravitz title. It turns out that Odyssey was originally owned by Graeme Hart. He’s New Zealand’s richest man. He started out in life as a tow truck driver and a mechanic and he’s a high school dropout. Somewhere along the line he obviously did something right. He owned the Odyssey pair until 2020 when a mystery buyer purchased them. 

We thought maybe we’d put in an offer to buy the $115 million USD yacht but then we decided the upkeep and staff would become a bit of a hassle so we’ve elected to keep Dazzler and continue our journeys in a more simple and economical way. After all, sailing as we do we leave a very small carbon footprint. I’m just guessing but I’d bet that just firing up Odyssey’s engines puts off more pollution than we do in a year! Ahhhh…but she sure is pretty to look at out here!

Back to reality now. We’ve dropped our anchor and decide to head to shore to grab a bite to eat. The weather is perfect and there’s a few nice little restaurants along the shore. We arrive at the dinghy dock and tie up. Dan decides not to put the chain and lock on Sparkle because it looks to be pretty safe and the dock is right next to the shore so we can see her from the little cafe we are headed to for lunch.

We head up to the Bayside Restaurant and order a couple of beers before sitting at a picnic table along the wharf to wait for our food. It’s a picture perfect day and we’re just happy to be alive. The food here is very tasty, the staff pleasant and the beer is cold!!! 

Saving Sparkle

As we watch the comings and going of people and ferries we note three men arrive at the dinghy dock. One immediately heads to shore and walks over to the Four Square grocery store on the corner. The other two are sitting on the dock with their feet in the water. The “runner” went into the store and came back to the dock with a bag full of beer. 

At first it all seems very innocent but then they start eyeballing and touching Sparkle. At one point one of the guys pulls her over close to him and begins looking inside.  He seems to be taking a very serious interest in her. We hate to sound like we don’t trust people but sometimes you just get a vibe and you know something isn’t right. We were going to go over to the grocery store but we decide it’s probably better to pay up and get Sparkle away from these guys. We can shop tomorrow.

Dan goes in to pay and I see the guy who now has his hands all over Sparkle reach into the dinghy near the anchor locker. Right where his hand goes is where our fuel tank is located. I stand up from the table and I’m dogging them. I have a neon pink shirt on so every time they look up they see me. I want them to know I’m watching!

When Dan finishes paying I tell him what I saw and we head to the dock. This is when I see Dan put on his “police” face. I don’t see it often but I know what’s coming next. His shoulders go back, his chest puffs up a bit and his voice lowers. His speech is very stern and strong and the air about him is one that says… “don’t mess with me today boys!” 

He excuses himself as he reaches around the touchy guy to get our line. These guys surely realize we have seen their ill intent because their laughter and joking came to an abrupt halt as we walked onto the dock. Dan frees the line and we get into the dinghy to leave. We both look down to see the flap on the fuel tank cover has been tampered with so our suspicions do not appear to be unfounded.  I hear one of the men say, “That’s her“…. and then he mumbled something else. Something tells me they saw me watching them from the shore. Whatever the case at least we know that today they did not get the chance to nick anything from the Dazzler crew.

When we return to Dazzler we take a little extra precaution and hoist Sparkle up along the side of the boat. We always take the motor off and secure it to the rail and that’s likely what they would really want anyway but hoisting her above the water just insures we’d know if someone tries to take her during the night.

As for me, I grab our alarm fobs and test one to make sure they are still in working order. I love our 130 decibel alarm. I’m quite sure if we light it up in the middle of the night whoever is trying to board us or steal something will make a rapid retreat.

Anyway, the rest of our evening is rather uneventful and we’ve decided that we will not be staying in this area any longer than necessary. We will get our provisions and move along.

Until next time,


P.S. Guess I just need to get this off my chest. When we arrived at the dinghy dock in Opua my hockles went up and my frustration level rose. Why? Well, I’ll tell ya Shoutie. It seems every dinghy dock in every part of the world has the same issue….rude and inconsiderate yachties who tie their dingy to the dock using the shortest painter line they can find. They leave no room for others to come in behind them and it drives me absolutely crazy!!!! So, if you’re a yachtie and you have a dinghy you take to shore, PLEASE for the love of God, PLEASE use a longer painter so that others can get access to the dock as well.

OK! I’m all better now. Thanks for listening to me vent!

Author: Dan & Jilly

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