Gorgeous Whale Bay

Morning has arrived and we are moving about early on Dazzler. We are ready to find a a beautiful anchorage and reclaim nirvana. But, since it turns out the Countdown supermarket in Paihia isn’t as fully stocked as we hoped, before we get underway again we have must head to shore to the Four Square here in Russell to do a bit of provisioning. While I get ready to go ashore Dan drops Sparkle from her hoisted position on the starboard side of Dazzler and puts the motor on.

We head to shore to take care of our errands. This crew is ready to get back to the more remote anchorages where boats and people aren’t crowding us. 

The Beach At Russell

On shore we go to the larger of the two Four Square stores and quickly realize we never needed to leave this place yesterday. This store is much better stocked than the Countdown is in Paihia. So, cruisers coming this way….tuck that little tidbit under your hat. You can save $13 NZD per person on a ferry ride and find everything you’ll likely need or want right here.

As we’re checking out we start chatting with the cashier as usual. Somehow our conversation turned to us being on a boat and then about the fact that we had three guys who appeared to be preparing to nick our dink or our fuel tank the other day. The cashier is adamant that we need to walk down the street to the police station and speak with Michael. She said there have been a rash of these types of crimes lately and the fact that I had a photograph of the men could be helpful to the police. She further said we’d be doing a lot to help their little community.

We’ve have enjoyed our stay here and we do hate criminals so after paying for our groceries we make the short walk down to the police station located beside the Duke of Marlborough Hotel. Ironically enough the officer inside is, in fact, Michael. Not certain but we’re guessing since the population of this little seaside community is just 762 he’s probably the only officer assigned to this station. Of course when the store clerk said, “Oh yes, please go see Michael. If he’s not there leave a message and he’ll get right back to you”, that might have been our first clue. Sort of reminds us of Andy Griffith only without Barney Fife.

Michael turns out to be a really fine mate. We tell him why we came and show him the photograph I took of the men in question. He asks me to email it to him but says they don’t ring any bells with him. Of course we certainly don’t expect him to tell us if they do. He and Dan have a nice little chat about crime, policing etc… Dan always enjoys the opportunity to talk with his fellow brothers & sisters of law enforcement even though it’s been years since he was on the force himself.

Our civic duty complete we make our way back to Dazzler and prepare to move on. Dan fires up the engine as I get our headsets ready to go. Before we know it we are on the move again. This time we are heading north but not certain which bay we will end up in. Dan has a couple picked out and it will just depend on what we find.

The Navy Ship, HMNZS Otago

The trip north is stunning. We pass a series of islands that are nothing but black rock rising from the ocean floor. One of the larger ones is called “Battleship Rock” by the locals. It does sort of look like a battleship sitting on the ocean.

Just as we’re passing Battleship Rock we look out in the distance and a military ship is headed our way. It’s the New Zealand Navy Ship, HMNZS Otago. She’s a P148 protector class offshore patrol vessel. She was built in Australia and launched in 2006 but due to issues with her construction she wasn’t commissioned until 2010.

It turns out she is in the area to help celebrate Waitangi Day here in New Zealand. Waitangi Day is the national day of New Zealand and it marks the anniversary of the initial signing of the Treaty of Waitangi which is regarded as the founding document of the nation. We always love to see the Navy ships when we’re underway and this is no exception. To add to our joy there are dolphin surfing off of her bow and jumping very high into the air. We do love the wildlife!

We Found Nirvana At Whale Bay

Just seven miles north of Russell we find nirvana in a small cove on Whale Bay. It’s simply superb! There’s a small beach on the northwest shore and a big house sits high upon the cliff. From one side to the other it boasts huge plate glass windows that overlook the ocean below. Next to it are some smaller huts that we believe to be part of a resort. Today, however, there isn’t a soul around as everything seems to be closed up. Once again we are the only boat in the anchorage and finally all of the chaos and confusion of Russell/Opua is behind us. We are in our happy place once again.

Route from Russell to Whale Bay
Whale Bay Anchorage

The water here is clearer than anywhere else we’ve been in New Zealand. No, it’s not Fiji clear but it’s very nice with a gorgeous turquoise hue. The mountains around us are filled with deciduous trees and the smell, oh the smell. It’s a combination of forest and sea breeze. It’s sweet and pungent with the slightest hint of brininess. It’s something so wonderful and unique it’s almost impossible to explain but trust me…it’s AMAZING!

After a couple of anchor down beers and a little rest we put the motor on the dinghy and decide to take a little cruise around the bay with a fishing pole to see if we can catch anything. I’m in awe of our surroundings. The crashing surf sends white foam high into the air as it lands upon the sharp rocks lining the shoreline. Dotting the mountainous shore are caves that penetrate into the stone walls that tower above the sea.

Above the rocky shore a forest of deep green trees begins. The trees are large and strong and deeply rooted in the island soil. The ground here is brown and dry as it’s summertime and as is the case most years, there is a lack of rain. Upon the hillside we see sheep eating their way across the land. Yes, it’s a magnificent place to be and we’re so happy to have found this small piece of paradise.

We fish and tour this spectacular area for an hour or so and with nothing…not even a bite, we decide to give up and try again tomorrow. We know the fish are here and we won’t give up. In the meantime we will just enjoy this incredible place we are so blessed to call home for the next few days.

Until Next Time,

Jilly & Dan

Author: Dan & Jilly

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