Carolyn wakes up just as the sun is rising and goes out to watch a beautiful sunrise as we sail into the Bay of islands.....just beautiful!!
This is a tender port and you have to secure a tender ticket after 8:30AM. There are also four tours scheduled to start between 8 and 9. Bottom line if you are independent like us you have a wait before your turn will come up. So, we go to breakfast and then gather some water and our cameras. We are assigned a seat on tender trip #32 and they are just loading #19. We adjourn to the Golden Lion Pub area and Dick plays trivia awhile and then return to the waiting area where they call our tender number after about a 15 minute wait. Four tenders are traveling full and they pack it tight; about 90 people.
There is a choppy run into the Yacht Club dock area and then we are off and onto a shuttle bus into the little town of Paihia. We promptly catch the ferry over to Russell for $12NZ each, round trip. The bay area is busy with pleasure craft on this sunny Saturday. The ride takes about 15 minutes and we walk the shore-side street and peek in the shops and explore a craft market. There are some beautiful carvings and hand woven items for sale, but most are very expensive. Carolyn buys a small carving of a mouse to add to her collection. Dick tries the local hardware store for a replacement for his Leatherman Mini pocket tool which has disappeared. No luck!
Carolyn has found a table by the shore and is enjoying a Coke when he returns and we sit there enjoying the scene and take pictures of the activity, including some little boys playing in and at the edge of the water. With nothing else to do in Russell, we board the ferry and head back to Paihia but not before watching some older boys jumping the ten feet or so from the pier into the water.
We watch a 20 minute film about the treaty and the past and current state of relations between the Maori and other New Zealanders. It is interesting and well done. We then walk to the flagstaff that marks the spot where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed on February 6, 1840. Then on to The Carved Meeting House and the Treaty House. The Treaty House was the home of the British Residency from 1833 to 1840 and where James Busby conducted much of the British Government’s business during that time. This is all in a beautiful setting on a high point overlooking Waitangi Bay. We then make the steep, down hill walk to the building containing the worlds largest, ceremonial war canoe, HMS Ngatokimatawhaorua. It is 35-meters long and needs a minimum of 76 paddlers to handle it safely. It was built in the late 1930s from the trunks of three massive trees, the stump of one of which is there with the canoe.
Having walked our feet off, we head back up to catch the shuttle bus and back to the tender dock. It is a fairly short wait for the tender despite a large crowd and we are back on board about 3:45PM. Supposedly the last tender is to be at 4:30PM and maybe it is but it takes until 5:45PM before we get under way for Sydney. The sail away is just a nice as the sail in. We will be sailing along the coast most of the night.
We decide to eat early in the Lido. At shortly after 7PM it is loaded with people we have not seen before. This is the first time the Lido has had any crowd at all and reminds us of why we don’t like to eat in the Lido usually. They are grilling to order rib eye steaks and tuna. Carolyn has a steak and Dick has both the steak and tuna. The sides aren’t as appealing tonight but they do have a vegetable tempura that is good. Plus, they loaded fresh greens in Auckland so the salad looks good also. We top the meal off with ice cream cones and go back to the cabin and enjoy a very nice sunset. We have been told that some 600 people got on in Auckland for the short cruise to Sydney where the ship is to pick up a large contingent of Japanese. The flavor of the ship has changed. It is younger and less worldly. We are even seeing a number of small children. We are ready to get off and on our on and this change only reenforces this desire. We will be glad to pick up the Queen Mary in Capetown on April 18 but for now we are a little tired of ships, or more exactly the late dining time. Fortunately we will be in the Princess Grill on the Queen Mary and have open seating for dinner.
The clocks are to be set back and hour tonight so we are in bed by 8PM tomorrow time. Night people we are not. Especially after a day of walking and site seeing!