We’ve spent the last three weeks sailing around the Hauraki Gulf, just off the coast from Auckland. We visited several islands, doing day hikes and enjoying the diverse birdlife (from little blue penguins to songbirds). One of the islands, Tiritiri, was reverted to its natural state through years of volunteer effort eradicating non-native species and replanting over 280,000 indigenous trees.
We also visited with a few of Doug’s friends who live on the islands. We were fortunate to get invited to a birthday party on Kawau – it was huge fun to partake in the small community celebration. We spent a few days on Waiheke, a resort island with a warm micro-climate and several award-winning vineyards. John and I took a winery tour and did our best to support the local economy!
The weather has definitely changed as we’ve progressed into the New Zealand autumn. We’ve waited out a few storms in protected bays and have had our share of cold, wet weather. Whenever we get sun, the life lines on the boat become clotheslines.
We had a few excellent days of sailing, getting the Illusion up to 13.5 knots in a downwind run (our maximum speed for the trip so far). We were flying along at one point and had a pod of dolphins playing in the bow wake. We’re now waiting for the right weather window to leave – a low pressure front to ride towards French Polynesia. Very excited to get on the open ocean!