Journal of a visit to New Zealand, via Singapore

The Land of the Long White Cloud
New Zealand and Singapore Links
Photographs by Gerald England
Alphabetical indicies of Photographs

Gerald England's home page
Photographic Links
Web design by Gerald England
This page last updated: 4th April 2008.
Day 28: Bay of Islands Map

Day 28 We have breakfast on the deck outside our room. The sun is shining. Today we are going sailing on the tall-ship R. Tucker Thompson. I arrange with Colwyn to park the car behind the Police Station, which is itself a very historic building.

I drop Christine off by Fullers' office, where she collects our boarding-cards, while I park the car. I then join Christine on the wharf. The R Tucker Thompson is a traditional gaff-ricked schooner that was launched in 1985. Our skipper, Roger, welcomes us aboard and introduces us to his crew of three charming ladies and Biko the dog.

We sail off into the beautiful blue waters of the Bay of Islands. Some of the passengers help with the hoisting of the sails, but it is Roger himself who climbs to the top of the rigging. Out in the bay we meet a school of pilot whales and watch them rising and diving. We chat with the crew and some of the other passengers. They include a Canadian couple who've been in New Zealand for around three months, two twenty-year old girls from Yorkshire and an American woman who is doing travel research. Mid-morning the crew serve tea and coffee and fresh scones with jam and cream.

Around mid-day we anchor off Roberton Island. Some of the passengers go off in the dinghy to the island either to explore its hinterland or enjoy the beach. Meanwhile the crew prepare lunch — barbecued steak in muffins with an extensive mixed salad. When his owner comes back with the dinghy, Biko has a swim. Back on board he drowns everyone shaking himself dry. When she goes back to collect people from the island, I take a ride in the dinghy too.

After lunch we set sail again. There is plenty of room to lie on the deck, soaking up the sun. The more daring put on harnesses and go sitting on the yardarm. This is an extremely pleasant way to enjoy the sea. Eventually we put back into the wharf at Russell.

Those who are staying in Paihia, wait there for the ferry. We head off to the Waterfront Caf— for some delicious pancakes and ice-cream. We are joined there by the two Yorkshire lasses.

Christine waits by the wharf, while I fetch the car. At the Police Station I make some final arrangements with Colwyn, about the surprise we've planned for Christine. She wonders why I've taken so long to get the car. She is glad to get back to the lodge as she's suffering a little from too much sun.

Colwyn, as well as being the local policeman, is also a Maori marriage celebrant. I have made arrangements with him to perform a renewal of marriage-vows ceremony for us. At 6 p.m. I tell Christine that we've been invited into the lounge for drinks with Colwyn, Kay and other guests. She is a little reluctant to come and I have to cajole her a little. We are introduced to the other guests, a couple from Canada who are on their third visit to New Zealand and a young couple from the South of England. Colwyn's brother, Kelvin, a policeman in Taupo, also turns up.

Christine is very much surprised to learn the real reason for this little get-together. I am also surprised to discover that Kay has actually baked a cake, especially for the occasion. Kay gives Christine a posy of flowers and we go out on to the deck for the actual ceremony itself. It is just a simple but very moving ceremony which Colwyn conducts with dignity. After 27 years of marriage, to renew our vows about as far away from home as it is possible to get in this world, near the end of our holiday and in this so romantic of places, is truly tremendous.

Journal - Day 29 Photographs - Day 28