Exploring the Hauraki Gulf – post by Deb

WildlifeWe’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.

IMG_6334We 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!


In the Galley
Janice’s first catch!



5 thoughts on “Exploring the Hauraki Gulf – post by Deb”

  1. Hi guys,

    I stumbled across your website after a suggestion through twitter. I have bookmarked your website so that maybe we can catch up sometime. I will be interested to see how your mid Pacific turns out. Hope you find that great weather window soon and start your trip.


    1. Thanks – yes, apart from keeping in touch with friends, one of the reasons for doing this site (and particularly Twitter) is to make connections with other sailors 🙂 So many people doing cool boat stuff out there! They haven’t got a whole load of internet access right now on Illusion so this is Sara (currently in England, though hoping to join Illusion before too long!). All the best 🙂

  2. Hi – I found your blog through WWS. Love reading about your time in NZ. We used to live in Auckland and had our first boat there, so it’s like a little trip down memory lane looking at your photos 🙂

    I’ve added your blog to our list of sailing blogs on our site. Looking forward to following along with your adventures.

    Cheers – Ellen

    1. Yay! Thanks! I am loving all the Women Who Sail love 🙂 Our ‘adventures’ have been a little slower than we hoped with our engine repairs and various other delays (seriously injured shoulder for Doug, baby, that kind of thing!), but we’re sooooo hopeful that we can get moving again SOON! Enjoying checking out your facebook page & website – will add you to our ‘Inspiration’ list! Cheers xx

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