The Great BOI Shuffle

We love exploring BOI! (Bay of Islands). But, after a few fabulous days of fishing in Wairoa & Rangihoua Bays we had to head into Kerikeri so I could have my now famous “bites” analyzed by a skin specialist. They were getting substantially worse and Dan refused to continue the circumnavigation until we had them under control.

So, we stopped in at the Kerikeri Cruising Club for a few days. They have a nice little marina with clean showers. The only issue is that it’s a bit remote. There’s nothing in the area there. There’s no shops until you get to town and the one restaurant there is only open on Fridays and Sundays. We arrived on Monday and left on Wednesday.

Dan's Birthday Pic

It was Dan’s birthday on the day we awoke to head to Kerikeri so I had decorated the salon while he was sleeping and had his gifts waiting for him on the table when he came out in the morning. Nothing too cool….just a new shirt, some lollies and a DVD. He was a bit surprised that I was able to pull it off though. As a bonus I even made him a cheesecake with black cherries for dessert that night.

We headed out from the anchorage around 1000. It was a bit rainy and wet out but fortunately we didn’t have far to go…just a few miles. It was the Waitangi holiday so when we arrived the marina office was closed. We docked Dazzler in the assigned slip, took garbage in and had a nice warm shower. The rest of the afternoon we just chilled on Dazzler.

Kerikeri Cruising Club
Kerikeri Cruising Club Marina and Anchorage as see from the restaurant up the hill.

The following day we had arranged to have Kerikeri Taxis pick us up and drive us to the very small airport there to pick up a rental car. Getting from the marina into the airport was a $60 NZD cab ride. OUCH! But, the driver, Cameron, was a nice enough mate. He’d just recently started driving a cab. Before that he was a farmer. We enjoyed our chats with him and to be fair it is a pretty good distance from the marina to the airport so the price was reasonable.

The BOI Airport is so small that when we returned our rental car there was literally no one other than us inside! Apparently the workers only show up when planes are arriving or departing.

Rental car in hand we headed out to do some provisioning and then visit the doctor. Turns out that these are not bites at all….they are definitely some sort of skin infection. She called them Granuloma Lesions but honestly there are a million reasons you could get them so we will likely never know how or why they came to be.

Dr. Dowd said she thought I just had not taken the antibiotics long enough so she gave me more Trisul and put me on a month long course. I’m happy to report that two weeks later they are all healed!!! HOORAY! Of course I’m going to have the beautiful reddish purple scars on my arms and legs moving forward but I’ll just consider them permanent souvenirs from Kiwiland. What else can I do? It’s not like I thought I was going to win any beauty pageants anytime soon anyway.

From Kerikeri we headed back to Rangihoua Bay where Marsden Cross is located. We stayed there a day then were off to Patunui Bay. There was weather coming in and this little bay would offer some excellent protection. There’s absolutely nothing there to speak of and quite honestly it wasn’t even very scenic but sometimes you just have to take shelter.

From there it was back to Marsden Cross to wait out more weather. When you live on the water you have to move depending upon where the wind and swell is coming from. Sometimes this can be a daily event. It’s okay though. We enjoyed a couple of rainy days. Even broke out our set of Dazzler custom dominoes so I could kick Dan’s butt!!! I’m sure he will dispute that but you know, whatever. LOL  When the weather cleared we headed on to Waitata and finally into Russell. In two weeks we crisscrossed our way around BOI enjoying little anchorages and interesting scenery along the way.

Sharks, Sharks Everywhere In BOI!

Dazzler Waves

On our way into Marsden Cross the second time it was pretty nasty out with rain and rough seas. As we turned into the bay Dan said, “Look! A Shark!” There was a Bronze Whaler shark about a meter or so long swimming right beside the boat. A minute or two later we saw another then another and before we knew it we had a school of eight or ten of them swimming on either side of Dazzler. None of them were really big but there were enough that I knew I wasn’t going to be swimming in this bay.

Then on our way to Waitata a couple of days later I was on the bow filming and taking pics when I looked off the starboard side and low and behold I see a Hammerhead shark come swimming along. He was well over a meter long. What the??? If I ever even thought that I would want to swim in the cold waters of New Zealand this has certainly set that notion aside.

I’ve done a bit of research and they say the bays here in BOI are full of these Bronze Whaler sharks. They can grow up to 3 meters!!! No more bleeding the fish over the side of Sparkle either. Just what I want is some shark to come chomping down on a fish and end up taking out an inflatable tube. No, we will bleed them in the bucket moving forward.

And I just read where a little further south on the North Island some guys were out fishing on their tinny. That’s what they call the aluminum fishing boats here. These things are everywhere. Anyway, they hooked onto a Mako Shark and the thing leaped out of the water so far that it landed on the top of their boat smashing the windscreen and bending the bow rail before bouncing back off into the water. These guys, who are seasoned fishermen, said it was easily the biggest shark they’ve ever seen in these waters. One of the men estimated it to be about 4 meters long!!! Yes, I think I’ll just enjoy the water from above! Thank you. Besides…it’s too cold for this cold puss anyway. (To read about their experience here…click here)

Tsunami Warming

Tsunami Warning Sign
This sign was posted at the entrance to the Kerikeri Cruising Club that morning.

One other interesting item of note….One morning in Kerikeri I found myself wide awake at around 0300. Not wanting to keep Dan awake I crawled out of the bunk and sat in the salon playing on my iPad. We were tied to the inside of an end tie at the marina and all of the sudden I started feeling something odd happening with the boat.

I stepped out in the cockpit to try to access it. We were moving quite a bit side to side but there was no wind. There was just enough light from the docks reflecting on the black water for me to see lots of swirls and quite a bit of current. It was odd, but nothing so odd that I thought I should wake Dan. It was only our second day here so maybe this was normal. Maybe I had slept through it the prior morning. I decided I’d just keep an eye on it for the moment.

I went back below and continued reading the news and checking out what the friends and family were doing back home on Facebook. At about twenty till six I came across a post on one of the cruiser forums stating that there had been a 7.7 magnitude earthquake in New Caledonia which had resulted in a tsunami warning for much of the South Pacific….New Zealand’s north island included. Okay….this may be something I should wake Dan up to discuss.

Mind you this was a full hour and a half after I had noticed the strong currents. I’m not sure he was really happy to be woken up but the fact is…he’s the Captain and it’s his job to assess these things. I made him coffee while he read up on the events of the morning. Turns out we were just to expect some higher than normal tides and strong currents…. AHA! That’s what I witnessed earlier that morning. My first tsunami effects! In the end that’s about all we noticed. THANK YOU LORD!

Back to Russell

After a week or so of island hopping we headed back to Russell to work on provisioning and prepare for the next leg of our journey which is to head over the top of New Zealand and down the west side to Marlborough Sound. You have to really watch the weather closely and plan accordingly as the west side can be wild and woolly. And, there’s really no place to pull into if you get into bad weather. They say this trip is not for the faint at heart. But, it’s just a four day jaunt so why not? The reward will definitely be worth it.

While in Russell we visited a couple of museums. The Russell Museum and the Pompallier Museum (New Zealand’s oldest printery) where we took in a little of the area’s history. Russell was the original capitol of New Zealand in 1840. It has quite a history of missionaries, shipping, whaling and even some cannibalism. Of course the museums don’t talk much about that. I guess it’s not PC to talk about how the Māori used to eat their enemies.

If you ever make it to Russell we highly recommend the Bayside Restaurant & Bar. It’s a great little place located right on the water. We ate there five times in a week and tried something different each time. We were never disappointed. The owners are wonderful too. And, the views of the wharf and the bay are simply gorgeous. Make sure you tell them we sent you!

Dan Loading Sparkle on Deck

It seems our time in BOI has come to an end for now. We’re all provisioned up…Sparkle is on deck and our window of opportunity has arrived. Tomorrow we’ll be leaving the Bay of Islands and heading north. We may make a stop or two along the way or we may just continue on. Only the weather can determine that for us.

We will keep you posted along the way. 

Until next time,

Jilly & Dan

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Author: Dan & Jilly

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