50 months ago we left Paradise Way in St. Petersburg, Florida. Today we are anchored in Paradise Bay on Urupukapuka Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand,. That's a lot of sea miles under the keel.
Paradise Bay is a really lovely bay deserving of its name. There is a long sandy beach, rocky ledges, lots of trees and hillsides and a beautiful clear bay with a sandy/muddy bottom providing good holding. It is protected from any easterly component winds, though we've had pretty sunny, mild days since we've dropped the hook here.
We continue to tackle our interior varnishing project and see an end in sight. We will have completed the main salon/chart table area / galley and entryway by week's end. We still have a few more coats of gloss on a few areas that gets lots of wear and then we'll call it done for now. We'll tackle other areas after we leave New Zealand. The next project is getting the boat ready and checked out for the passage to Fiji. We have started to do a lot more "homework" on Fiji – reading cruising guides and getting paperwork in order for entry into the country. It sounds like a fascinating culture and we're looking forward to seeing it. Plus we can't wait to get back in the water to snorkel again!
But for now we are enjoying cruising the Bay of Islands. Today, after a morning of sanding and varnishing, we rowed to shore and took a hike on Urupukapuka Island. It was nice to get off the boat and move around and we were rewarded with lots of incredible views and musical entertainment from the birds. It seems the Tui (a black bird known as the Parson Bird) is a karaoke machine – filled with a variety of musical scores – all quite different and interesting. We kept thinking it was a bunch of different birds – but to our surprise – all the sounds were coming from the few Tuis we were watching.
It is getting chillier here as the days turn to autumn in the southern hemisphere. More cruising boats are heading back to the BOI area and Opua to prepare, like us, for the next leg of their journeys. It's been fun to start reconnecting with old friends. We enjoyed time with our Dutch friends JanBart and Monique from the sailboat "Victory." They provided a lovely snapper dinner one night – fish that JanBart had caught. This was followed by a good game of Mexican Train dominoes and a Barbara apple pie. Another great night.
50 months – still enjoying the adventure – well maybe not all the boat projects and varnishing.
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