No breakfast appeared this morning & as we had to be in Auckland by 9.30 we hopped on a bus & ate at Brown's instead. We duly arrived at the pier for the cruise, only to be told that it was cancelled as the boat was stranded out in the harbour! Not a good start to the day! However, all was not lost as we were able to re-book for the 1.30pm sailing, and of course were given another set of free ferry tickets to Devonport! Well, we now had a few spare hours & being averse to looking around the shops we decided to jump on the ferry that was about to leave & explore the parts of Devonport that we didn't manage to see before. We were just admiring all the beautiful houses when a female voice said "you must be from England" How could she tell, I wondered, was it the guide books we were clutching? No, it seems that this lovely lady has a skirt from M&S just like the one I was wearing! She had moved to Devonport from Yorkshire three years ago to live near her son! After chatting for a while we stopped at a coffee shop overlooking the water, where we swapped travel experiences with a couple from Australia before catching the ferry back just in time to set off on our cruise around the harbour.
We left central Auckland & went across Waitemata ("sparkling waters") and under the Harbour bridge, passing Westhaven Marina & admiring all the boats there. We sailed on to Rangitoto Island, which only erupted from the sea about six hundred years ago but is, thankfully, now dormant! On we went, past North Head, Devonport, enjoying all the wonderful views from the boat. On the way back the skipper pointed out Bean Rock lighthouse, a tiny hexagonal cottage built in 1871 which is surrounded by water & which once housed a keeper, his wife & six children. Imagine keeping all those children occupied, let alone safe! A lovely way to spend an afternoon, and the weather stayed fine until we were back, when the heavens opened & it continued raining into the early hours of the morning.