Saturday, November 17, 2018

Opua (Bay of Islands)

[Kyle]We splashed out and stayed at the Bay of Islands Marina in Opua for four nights after our arrival. I LOVE Opua! The marina is nice and modern, the staff are all super nice and everything you could possibly need or want for a boat is right there. There are canvas shops, electricians, diesel mechanics, outboard mechanics, riggers, sail makers and chandleries all within walking distance from the docks. {Maryanne: And laundry facilities, and a shuttle to the nearby supermarket}. In addition, they have pubs, restaurants, fish & chip shops and a respectable-sized grocery store, all of it with the hilly, tree-covered backdrop of the Bay of Islands.

It was so nice to be able to blast through our pent-up shopping list of boat supplies after months in the islands. Here’s an example of one of Maryanne’s experiences:

Maryanne (at an electrical shop), “Hello, I’m looking for some tiny little electrical spade connectors for the sensor wires on Raymarine instruments, would you have something like that?”

After looking in the back, the guy returns and says, “Nope, we don’t have any. Try the guy two doors down.”

Two Doors {Maryanne: Kyle has become enamoured with the punctuation mark 'Interrobang' - a combination of the exclamation mark and a question mark... Sigh!}

She goes two doors down, repeats her request to the new guy. He does the same thing; goes to the back and returns to say he doesn’t have any, BUT he can have some in by tomorrow morning at 8:00. Eight o’clock…the NEXT morning! Not, “Maybe on the next freighter in three months, except that you would have needed to order them a week ago. They’re $100 each. In the meantime, try aluminum foil.” Brilliant!

Each day, when we got done with our day’s boat jobs, we made a point of going out to attend the BOI Cruiser’s Festival event of the evening. Our favorite was a high speed tour boat ride through the islands (where the captain pointed out interesting anchorages for future exploration) and out to a dinner at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island. The scenery along the way was amazing. We had a nice meal with interesting people and even had enough daylight to hike to a viewpoint atop the island for views of the bay at sunset.

Evening Cruise through the Bay to Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island

We finished our time off at Opua with a long coastal walk from the nearby town of Paihia and Quiz Night at the Boat Club. Even though our group of two had the smallest number of brains to call upon, we shot WAY ahead on the first round: Science, getting every question right, plus the double score bonus. We peaked too early. After that, we slid back further and further through the pop music round, one on New Zealand Political minutiae, one on Obscure New Zealand historical events and an incomprehensible one about acronyms used by various New Zealand government departments. The Kiwis thought that one was easy. What the hell is the NMTPRQ? By the end we had slipped to dead middle, which was at least not dead last.

Visit to Paihai (local tourist hub)

.. and views from the trail back to Opua

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