At anchor in Kaiarara Bay, Great Barrier Island

Dec 28 7:15 am.   Kettle’s on and we’re anchored off Port Fitzroy in Kaiarara Bay on Great Barrier Island. Beautiful anchorage with natural wild hills and trees down to the water’s edge.


The sounds of the birds breaking the silence across the mirror smooth bay as the sun comes up over mount Hobson through light morning cloud.


 The smell of the forest is sweet in the air. There are several sail and motor boats scattered in the bay all pointing in different directions with their anchor chains hanging directly down from their bows. Very peaceful and still.

Yesterday morning we left our lovely anchorage and went up into Whangarei harbour past the oil refinery and the commercial docks to the Florida canals style community call Marsden, where we topped up with fuel then headed back out and across Parry Channel through the Hen and Chicken Islands with 40 miles to Great Barrier Island. All the islands we pass have steep volcanic terrain and scrubby natural green coverage and are uninhabited.

There were many rocky outcroppings which all seemed to have the face of an angry or sleeping man carved in them.  The crossing was a straight line over a moderate sea with a very light headwind and clear sky with fluffy white sheep clouds. We motor sailed from noon till we made land fall around 6:30 pm. Along the way, Jurassic Park peaks of Little Barrier Island kept our eyes occupied on the starboard side most of the way. This island resembles the ones of French Polynesia with steep mountain ridges and valleys and foliage that looked like it had been draped over it in one big blanket.

This was one of Claire’s must see spots in New Zealand. Along with seeing a place for the very first time from a sailboat, it was very exciting for her and for me. Everyone we talked to said that the islands many sheltered anchorages would be packed with boaters at this time of year but so far that has not been the case. 

Last night we were treated to another magical entrance by the moon, its bright white face rose above Mount Hobson the highest peak on the island, through the trees that fringe the mountain top before breaking out above their canopy and filling the bay with bright moonlight. Half an hour before that, the sun filled the horizon on the other side of the bay with many shades of red silhouetting the jagged landscape and sending its fiery light reflecting across the water of the bay to West Wind II.

This is a magical place and we feel lucky to be here. Our plan for today after breakfast is to row ashore, climb Mount Hobson and explore this amazing island.   

Love and fond regards from Claire and Glenn


  1. Susan Bassett says

    Wonderful pictures! Thank you for my fantasy life! Happy New Year!

  2. Pat and Fred says

    Good Day,
    Minus 16 but feels like minus 28 here. We do have some snow. Just a skiff some would say. Great to hear from you. Best wishes to your family for 2016.
    Pat and Fred

  3. The Bacon Family says

    Hello to you both,

    Happy New Year!

  4. Hi Glenn & Claire

    Best Wishes to You Both for the holiday season.

    How is the boat fairing now that you’ve done the keelbolt repairs? I have thought I read your posts pretty thoroughly but have missed why you are heading Auckland way again. The obvious is New Zealand is a gorgeous place to cruise and this time of year is magical. A wonderful experience for Claire as well to experience life on board with you especially since it has been your home for such a considerable time.

    Glad you are both doing great and sharing these experiences.

    Cheers, Jan

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