En route to Auckland via Great Barrier Island

Good morning and Merry Xmas

  It’s early here, the sun is just up over the surrounding hills and  I can feel its warmth. I’m in the cockpit with my tea, fresh local oranges and strawberries. This is my third Xmas in a row on the ocean in West Wind II, but this one is very special as I am not in the middle of an ocean alone; Claire’s here with me.  

We left Opua yesterday about 2:00 in the afternoon and set out through the beautiful Bay of Islands past Cape Brett and around Hole in the Rock, then down the coast about twenty miles. There was a very large swell running up from the southeast and the big rollers made a spectacular scene and sound as they crashed on the steep rugged black cliffs along the coastline. There was little wind, so we motor sailed most of the way. We’re now anchored in Whangaroa Bay.

Waking up in a new anchorage after anchoring at sunset is always exciting, and the bay we’re in this morning is no exception. It is about twice as big as Cadboro Bay surrounded by low, thickly forested hills interspersed with low grassy sections. We can see a number of small ‘batches’ and larger homes. We’re not the only boat in the bay. There’s a very large motor cruiser, 100 ft+ is just off our bow,  and another sailboat  is anchored half way across the bay.

There has been fish jumping around the boat and Boobys dropping from the sky and plunging into the water. There’s the sound of small birds at their morning choir practice echoing over the mirror calm water. In the background we can hear the pounding of the surf at the entrance to this wonderfully sheltered bay.


Cape Brett and Hole in the Rock


Our plan today is to set out for the Great Barrier Islands, and anchor there for the night before heading out for Auckland. A another great day cruising and exploring is ahead of us and we’re excited at the prospects of seeing new places.

Great Barrier Island

Great Barrier Island


Claire and I wish everyone a very Merry Xmas. We’re thinking about our family, and our friends around the world on this special day.


  1. Looks absolutely beautiful.
    We wish you both a wonderful day ( which will now be tomorrow ), and by the sound of things a bigger gathering in the short days to come.
    Love, James and Louise

  2. Merry Christmas Glenn! But I guess you are now closer to Boxing Day! :) It was a balmy 15 degrees in Montreal yesterday. A green Christmas! We had 25 people for dinner last night, more celebrating tonight then we are going to Lake Como, Italy on Sunday to do some cycling, then to Vielha, Spain to do some skiing!
    Glad you have some family with you today.
    Have a happy, safe and healthy 2016.
    All the best, Jody Banister

  3. Joseph Longo says

    Merry Christmas to all the Wakefields!! We woke up in Stouffville Ontario with not a stitch of snow and temps around 6…so unusual for us. Hope Santa has been good to you.

  4. Sally and Geoff Dolman says

    Glen, We forgot to mention the Boxing Day cricket test between Australia and The West Indies commences tomorrow. Hope you can tune in on the radio waves. Let Geoff know if you need any more information on the game etc. Hopefully it will go for 5 days.

  5. Sally and Geoff Dolman says

    Merry Christmas guys. You are sailing through places we are somewhat familiar with. Relax and enjoy the moment. Do you have plans after Auckland?
    We have just spent a wonderful day with the family here in Sydney. Lots of tucker and lots of presents left by Santa.
    Cheers Sally and Geoff

  6. Merry Christmas Glenn
    ….. Go man go!

  7. Will Nesling says

    Hi Glenn….did i miss something ? I thought you had keel leakage.Must be the Christmas blur,i will re read your last message. Thanks for sharing your adventures…I would enjoy hearing a detailed analysis of the keel issue if you could Merry Christmas from Will {i used to work at Trotac when you were preparing WWII }

  8. Robin Shipway says

    Merry Christmas Glenn and Claire!!

    Love from the Shipways.

  9. Claire, your travelogues are really informative. Thank you! Good luck wherever your voyage takes you.
    Alan Campbell

  10. Jean and Mike says

    Thanks so much, Glenn, for the beautiful word picture you have painted. We can feel the warmth and the sounds as well. Merry Christmas to you and Claire, and to Marylou and Nicola here in Victoria.
    Love from Jean and Mike

  11. Hey all you Wakefields. May you have a very Merry Christmas wherever you are!

  12. Donna Schaddelee says

    Have a very Merry Christmas to you all. The very best on your return to Victoria.
    I worry about you but know all seems good. I love getting your posts
    Take care

  13. Steve Merriman says

    Merry Christmas Glenn & Claire
    Good to hear you are on your way again.
    Love Ann & Steve

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