On our final full day in the
Bay of Islands, we went across to Russell, the oldest European town in and former capital. Back in the day, it was known as “the hellhole of the Pacific” as it was full of drunken sailors, whalers, prostitutes, gambling dens and the like. Not much has changed since then…no, wait, nowadays it’s a genteel town with a few houses, some hotels and shops, and a couple of bars. None of which seemed to be called The Hellhole Of The Pacific, which we found a bit disappointing. New Zealand
We walked around, took pictures of the historic church, historic fig tree, historic policeman’s house…then had lunch and sat around for a while on the beach, whilst we waited for our final excursion – an evening trip on the sailing ship R. Tucker Thompson. This ship is run by a charitable trust that takes disadvantaged children and, quite literally, shows them the ropes of sailing. In the summer it takes tourists out on cruises to pay for this activity.
|Historic police station|
The staff were all very cheerful and friendly, drinks were available and food passed around, and we chatted to some of the other passengers. Some bravely ascended the ratlines to help with the rigging, but we kept our feet firmly on deck. Whilst I have been on large yachts before, this one does everything by hand – none of your winches for hauling in the sheets here! I helped out a bit with the steering and tacking, but as we had at best a Force 2 wind, it wasn’t exactly demanding sailing! Eventually, the breeze dropped so far that we had to resort to the diesel engine, otherwise we’d have been out there till midnight.
|Me driving the boat|
We landed at the yacht’s night mooring and were bussed back to Paihia, where we went for a final dinner at the Café Over The Bay.
So that’s it for our
adventure. We will undoubtedly be back at some time in the future, but for now we’re heading back to Bay of Islands Wellington, and a new year in . New Zealand