The Bay of Islands is a slightly unimaginative name for a bay of islands on the east coast, 250km north of Auckland, a bay made famous by Captain Cook who, earlier in 1769, stepped foot on Aotearoa promptly claiming it for the Crown. The whole area is outstandingly beautiful and gets incredibly busy during the summer months, hence our reason for taking a slight gamble and chartering a boat early in the season – so early that we were the boat charter company’s first clients, and judging by the downpour that greeted us when we arrived at Opua Bay, early enough for summer to have not yet begun.

We had flown from a chilly Christchurch earlier that day, and after a brief transit at Auckland Airport and an even briefer 50-minute connecting flight, we arrived at a very damp Kerikeri. We gathered our bags and jumped into one of the waiting taxis for the 30-minute drive to Opua. As we were going to be sailing for several days, we detoured via Kerikeri town centre to stock up on supplies for our voyage, as shopping options at Opua would be limited.

The view from the top of Motuarohia Island The view from the top of Urupukpuka Island

There are several companies located in and around the Bay of Islands that charter boats. We had gone with Fair Wind Charters run by the friendly couple Kim and Greta. During a break in the rain, Kim acquainted us with our floating home for the next five days, named Alibi.

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