Day 6 - The R. Tucker Thompson
Today our first planned activity was due and we were both nervously excited for what lay ahead. We had an early start and our planned 7:00 wake up for a HIIT workout was a massive boo boo...we both slept to 7:30 so our allotted 30 slot for exercise was well and truly missed...such a shame! We rustled up two cuppa's and shared a mushroom omelette for breakfast, packed our bag for the day ahead, donned our bikinis and hit the road.
Our first stop was to grab a caffeine hit for Clarkey and a kiwi cookie for Holly, both scrum-diddily-umptious! We crossed the esplanade and waiting before us was the grandest sight, a beautiful wooden Schooner boat, ready to set sail.
We were met by our Captain, Tim. Clad in ripped off trousers, a worn suede coat and cap, plus the scruffy white beard of a stereotypical way-finder. We signed ourselves in for the day and were asked to stow our bags away under deck.
We left the bay by the ships motor in order to get out to the islands but were promised the use of the sails on the return. As we emerged into the main waterway we were joined by a pack of dolphins. They carelessly swam and played as we sailed past, clearly not in the slightest bit bothered by us, in fact they could well have been showing off as one launched itself out of the sea, pirouetted and dived back in. Leaving the dolphins behind, we enjoyed a cream tea courtesy of the ships crew and continued to our first island stop.
Moturua Island lay ahead, a beautiful island that had been turned into a wildlife sanctuary, returning native wildlife back to their natural habitat, including various species of bird. The whole island was bathed in sun and the sea was azure blue and shallow enough to wade out a few meters. Our first task was to head up the nature trail and spot the birds, some even sounding like car motors turning over; these were loud but evasive but we did spot a few others including the wag tail, plucking bugs out of the air. Trail done, we headed back to the beach to make the most of our hour stopover. The beach was both sand and shingle, so sandals on we headed for the water, keeping our eyes peeled for stingrays. We waded and frolicked in the water and then headed for the rocks to do some crag hopping. We were merrily making our way across to the other bay via the rocks when I turned and found a rock fish sunbathing on our path, a few snaps later we rounded the fella and let him be. The speedboat returned to collect the weary explorers and we returned to the ship ready for lunch, BBQ chicken, pot salad and greens, yummy!
Lunch done, we the set sail, quite literally. The deckhands were instructed to drop the sails, it was fascinating watching them untie and retie the various ropes around the ship, even climbing the rigging to set the top sails, held on to the mast by nothing but experience! With the wind in our sails we drifted across the bay to the furthest point, taking in the volcanic rock formations including Bay of Island's highest natural diving board. Clarkey was brave and climbed the rigging for a better view, Holly stood safely at the front of the ship, like the scene from Titanic. We drifted for another hour before turning back towards the dock and walking the plank to dry land. A wonderful trip and beautiful experience.
Exhausted from the sea breeze we decided in our wisdom not to waste an evening snoozing and to hit the road, to get ahead of schedule. With Hamilton as our destination, and +200km between us, Holly took the first 3 hours stint getting to just outside Auckland, from here Clarkey took the helm and bombed it down to a freedom camping site just outside Hamilton, with nothing but Crisps and Pineapple as our dinner. We parked up at the local public park, locked the doors from vagabonds and got our heads down for the night.
Emma Sounds like you're having a fab time! We're on the way to Berlin - not quite so glamorous!