Saturday, January 31, 2009

When We All Work Together We All Win Together


This a cheap framed photograph that I bought years ago and have hanging in my classroom. It makes a statement about teamwork which is one of the dynamics of a classroom.

Many years ago when I was quite young I remember seeing a variety TV programme. One of the acts was a man who spun plates on the top of tall thin poles. He would spin one plate and then start another. By the time he got to about the 8th plate he was having to run back to the first plate which was getting a bit wobbly and threatening to crash to the floor. By the time he got to number 12 it seemed almost an impossibility - he was running about like a blue arsed fly as the saying goes, trying as hard as he could to keep the whole show on the road. As a young child in a large family of about 6 children (soon to be 8) I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the man just didn't ask someone to help him spin the plates - that would be a good idea I thought, and make it so much easier. Of course the variety show is about skill not about logic.

In a few days time I will have a new class of children. They will be bright eyed and bushy tailed as the saying goes and ready to learn. It is a good school where I work with relatively few social problems and the children generally bring good will and a desire to learn to school each day in their schoolbags.

So - We will talk about this photograph of the sky divers and I will explain to them all about the plates (leaving out the bit about the blue arsed fly) and talk about teamwork, and helping and monitors and helpers and volunteering etc. I will try and ice this cake of strategies during the year with positive reinforcement, reward systems, stamps and stickers and certificates and all the other systems and ideas that teachers use to make things run smoothly. Of course moi is not a perfect human being and neither are children so from time to time every thing will break down and there will be problems but generally the target is teamwork and the creation of a learning environment within the classroom.

Classrooms are microcosms of the larger world and contain within them what is known as the hidden curriculum. Many parents think that schools are or should be solely about the delivery of the official curriculum but the reality is that a huge amount of social and interpersonal learning goes on as well. The variables in this learning are egos, personal needs, individual behavioural expectations, personal spaces, personal boundaries, rights and responsibilities etc, etc, etc, etc... It is the interpersonal relationship of two writ large in a class of 25 or more. Sometimes everything works like a a well oiled machine, sometimes it explodes like a can of paint that has been hit with a sledge hammer, but most of the time it is somewhere in between these two extremes.

And as for myself as the teacher and leader in the room who will be struggling from time to time with my own set of 25 to 30 plates whirling endlessly on the tops of tall thin poles - I will remember that it is not a one dimensional act of skill like the old variety show on the black and white TV. My work is necessarily about skill just like the plate spinner. But it is bigger than that. It is also about logic, knowledge, humanity, behavioural management, inspiration, creativity, social work and much more. In fact it is a real balancing act - a year long variety show in four one term acts.


Friday, January 30, 2009

What's In A Name?

If you take a look on my birth certificate, passport, drivers license or any other of my documentation you will see my name - Alden Smith. But I have another name that I am called and it is 'Pal' Smith - and here is the story behind my names.

When I was very little my father called me Al - Pal, the sort of endearment or nick name that parents inflict on their children, and my father inflicted it on some of his children but not on all of them. Over time, well before I was two years of age I believe the 'Al' part was dropped and I was called 'Pal' - I grew up with that name. I knew nothing else and to this day there are people who call me nothing else. This can cause some confusion if for instance there are two people who are on opposite sides of the name 'date line' as it were. Let me explain.

As I grew older and especially when I went to high school, the name Pal at the beginning of every year became an embarrassment to me. Teachers would make a fuss of it, want me to explain it (usually in front of the class) and of course adolescence is a time when one wants to fit in with peers not a time when you want to stick out like a sore thumb.

So when I went to teachers training college after a couple of years of travelling and various jobs I made the conscious decision to change my name, or rather to resort back to the Christian name on my birth certificate. It improved things slightly I think although I am always being asked to spell it and it invariably gets mispronounced as All - den, or spelt as Eldon or some other interesting variation. But I guess I should be thankful for small mercies because in the last few years a brand of dog food has come on the market with the name PAL Dog Food - which I think is a real bloody big hoot I can tell you! - If I had persevered with Pal, I can just hear some of my helpful friends now, "Well Pal if you had persevered with that line of argument I think you would be dog tucker by now, ho, ho, ho."

So - people who know me are on one side or the other of the name change Date Line circa 1971.

Now here is something interesting - of late I am quite liking being called Pal again, especially by old friends that I once knew long ago, really really liking it a lot and considering a huge number of people I know already call me Pal I have been thinking...........

Which of course does not bring me to making an announcement about a name change. Why? well just think about it. You are at work and someone you know called Steven takes you aside and says, "Look in a past life I was called Womble and I would like it very much if you would start calling me Womble starting from right now" --- Well what would you do??? Well I will tell you what you would do. You would get Security to escort Steven from the building, then you would emigrate to Reykjavik in Iceland and get an unlisted telephone number, that is what you would do! ---- so I won't be doing any of that.

So what WILL I do? - I will do absolutely nothing - and people can choose to call me by whichever name they want to - that's what a good Pal would do.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What Time Would You Like To Dine ?

Reva's Restaurant - Town Basin Whangarei

Reva is a Californian immigrant. She and her husband immigrated to New Zealand in the late 1970s and are now naturalised New Zealanders. This is Reva's restaurant on the wharf right in the centre of the Whangarei yacht harbour about 5 minutes from where I live. When you dine out on the veranda, you are usually looking out to a warm evening full of yacht masts. ( A big sigh here for the aficionados).

There are a number of things I like about this restaurant in general and one thing in particular. In general I like the food, the location, the inside outside dining arrangements, the various artists that play there from time to time and the very large clinker longboat that is roped up and hangs from the ceiling inside - this adds to the general nautical theme of the place.

But what I like in particular is this: If you are seated inside Reva's and look up you will see a shelf that runs right around the perimeter of the dining room. On that shelf are a large number of very accurate models of various yachts. These models were crafted by a now deceased yachting character called Buster who lived on a yacht in the harbour and worked locally in various boatyards. What Buster and I had in common was that we had both built our yachts with our own hands and often we would stop and talk. He made each of these immaculate scale models from the actual building plans of yachts. If you were to compare Busters work with the touristy yacht models sold in various shops nearby you would see in an instant the level of detail, the quality and indeed the love in his beautiful models. None of Busters work is for sale. Like the various dinghies, the paintings and the big longboat it is all part of the decor.

One little model in particular is special to me and when I am there I always take a look at it.

The particular yacht I am talking about is a scale model of the famous 30 foot 'Tahiti Ketch' which was designed by the American yacht designer John Hanna. This yacht is special to me because my grandfather built his yacht to this design in Christchurch NZ in the 1960s. I have inherited this set of plans and looking at them for this post I got a warm and nostalgic feeling viewing its sturdy and salty little shape.

So if you are ever in Whangarei and you have the time - have a meal at Reva's - they do a mean pizza and the surrounding environment is enticing and captivating - especially if you are of a nautical bent.

Listening To The River (2)


The sun's shameless on the river
which is ruckled, bright, noisy.
I like it here, and forever.
The wildflowers spank. A posy
here, another there. And here comes
the water, and there it goes
round the bend downstream.
Best not, friend, do our sums
on blessed days like this. Woes
we suppress. Look, your eyes gleam.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Solo Day Sail On The Harbour

Sharing the channel with the bulk cement carrier 'Golden Bay' as we leave the narrow confines of the upper channel.

Full mainsail and number 3 'working jib'. The south westerly wind begins to fill in nicely. I am heading for those hills in the far distance.

I wink at my trusty dinghy and give her the thumbs up. She puts up with a lot you know, gets towed around and has to put up with all that diesel exhaust when I am motoring. When I go outside into the ocean I leave this rigid dinghy on the mooring and take on board an inflatable. It is too dangerous to tow a rigid dinghy in really bad weather - it can surf right up and into the cockpit - when this happens its not like the dinghy wants to hug you or anything, its more like it wants to head butt you for taking it out in bad weather.

Heading back up the harbour and looking for a place to drop the anchor and have some lunch. I feel good because the wind is increasing just as the weather forcast said it would and we are starting to really fly.

Anchored in a favourite anchoring spot just below the big Pohutakawa tree. We are sheltered here from the Southwesterly which is now blowing at over 20 knots - yippee! its going to be a great ride home.

As we start the journey home 'Mariner' starts to build up hull speed. When this happens she starts to generate this 'quarter wave' that you can see on her starboard quarter - the faster she goes, the bigger the wave. While this happens the dinghy dances and weaves generating her own little wake behind us.

A lull in the wind and I take a photo of my old friend Mr Right Foot resplendent in his best jandal (his only jandal in fact) - "This is a good sail," I say " How do you think we are going to handle sailing up through the channel where the wind funnels strongly out between Onerahi and Limestone Island" - "Real easy", he replies, "Its just a case of taking it one step at a time."

Hmmmm, I think he's right.

Approaching Limestone Island and the wind begins to die away as evening approaches. A beautiful rainbow appears through the misty rain. Quite appropriate really, because it's been a bit of a multicoloured day. Sun, rain, calms, roaring wind - some days are just like that, multicoloured just like the weather.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An Imperative In The Solar Plexus

I went for a solo sail today and thought that a good way of getting rid of irksome imperatives is to give them a well directed kick in THEIR solar plexus. I even took a photograph of my right foot to nail to my mast as a warning - but like all imperatives nothing ever really frightens them. They usually have their own internal logic which in the end determines the outcome - do read on:

Today I woke with a start. It was a little like being hit in the solar plexus.
It was Mr Imperative again - he comes knocking from time to time.
He always makes demands. Sometimes it's wise to listen, sometimes it's very wise not to.

"This is not just improbable, but impossible he said.
This is too much trouble he said.
You don't know what you are doing.
You are taking a great risk.
You always were naive and stupid.
Its a huge thing to have to build.
Have you thought of the cost?
What do you really know?
Are you an expert?
How can you manage this?
Why would you want to?
The outcome is uncertain.
You are reading the navigation chart upside down in the dark with your sunglasses on again.
For Gods sake have a beer and just forget about it."

I listened, I always listen. I am a reasonable chap, usually like to please, will give things a try, I take advice.
"Ok" I said - "I'll do what you say. I will give it a go we will see what happens."

I won't give you the exact details of my imperative because I can do better than that. I can give you the intimate details of how hard it was to acquiesce to the demands of this imperative in the manner of a metaphor- I found that even if I had wanted to do what the imperative demanded it was impossible.

Here are the intimate details of dealing with this - it comes in the form of a metaphorical scientific experiment. - That's good, because we must always do the experiment and collect the data. Data is good, data is empirical science, data doesn't lie. I'm a big big starter for collecting plenty of data. Try this yourself and see how you go.

Go to the end of a wind blown peninsula and wave your hands around and try and stop the wind. Watch to see if all the yachts stop dead in the water.
Now reach up higher with you hands and grab the sun, take it and throw it into the ocean.
Its dark now - look up. See those stars, those gorgeous high, high sailing stars that are twinkling and smiling, well snuff them out right now.
It should now be still and dark - so now I want you to will yourself to stop breathing and because you are doing so well - try and will your heart to stop beating to.

Easy isn't it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Listening To The River

The Rakaia River in the South Island of New Zealand - The most beautiful braided river on our planet.


Last night the moon rose early
orange and round. This morning
winter's first frost on a bristly lawn,
the red iron walls of the barn
like pin - stripes in the slanting sun.

I would like to be able to say
no one I know has lost out
or failed to find whatever it is
they are looking for. Not so easy.
So I think of so and so, a friend
who is drawn to water
and finds rivers speak to her
in languages she lives to translate
over and over. Their syllables
roll like stones consonants catch
and tip like slivers of rock
flickering in the deeps. They hold
what life and light is theirs but cannot
stop the whittling and the wearing.
There is nothing unusual in this
and when they lie still we know
they are not asleep or dormant
but huddle awaiting what will be
rather than storing memories of things past.

A river is never silent. Even its
deepest pools thrive with dark
or dreamy utterances. They shelter
more than we can say we know.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Cygnet Project - Part 2

The skipper contemplates the job ahead. Like most things in life all the complexities are dealt with by just putting one foot in front of the other and quietly and confidently taking one one step at a time.

Dark colours are not a good idea for wooden boats in Northland. It attracts the heat and this is the result if the boat is laid up outside for any period of time. White is a much better colour.

Thumbs up to a good sanding job. I then filled up as many cracks in the plywood that I could see, then sanded again. The bottom of the hull is now ready for the first coat of undercoat paint.

I didn't machine sand the deck and cockpit. The varnish on the decks was in reasonably good condition so I just gave it a good sand by hand. The blue paint in the cockpit will be changed to a soft grey.

This is the first of a number of undercoats the hull will need. The paint shows up cracks in the plywood that I have missed, so I will fill, sand lightly and repaint a couple more times until there is a nice smooth undercoated surface.

The first uncoat is completed, but there is much more work to do. The final finishing coat will be white or 'Polar White' as it says on the can of paint. Polar White with varnished decks - If my memory serves me well that was the paint scheme of this little ships namesake - the original gallant little 'Cygnet'. All this restoration is going smoothly at this stage and is a real pleasure to be involved in - where to next? - I'll keep you posted. :-)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Year Resolutions

I bet I know what you are thinking - you are thinking that this book is full of nifty, pertinent, quotable, pithy sayings - a book from which one might choose new year resolutions - come on, admit it! you do think that don't you. So what is inside this book? Well I will tell you later on in this posting, but first you need to bear with me a bit - Ok?

No, no, no, don't do that, stop it! don't scroll to the end of the post for a quick read to find out what's in the book! stay here with me, yes stay here, that's good, now settle down there and read on.

New Years Resolution (1) - My son Nikolai said to me last year, "Dad, you have nearly 3 thousand books in this house, and not enough of them are fiction - too many are non fiction, meaning of life, staring at your bloody navel stuff - there are other ways of finding out about this stuff you know! what you need to do is read more fiction" - He's a great reader of fiction and he is right you know - why? because, well, the meaning OF life, the meaning TO life, can indeed be expressed and encapsulated in fictional form - just as the forms of metaphor, or poetry or myth, can reveal the truth and the heart of the matter, so too can the literary form of fiction. Fiction often deals with the universal themes of human nature and our struggles - it enlarges our perception of who and what we are by allowing us to experience in a vicarious way the lives of others. One lifetime is not enough to experience everything, but through reading we can catch a ride on the coat tails of other peoples minds, their experiences, their struggle to make sense of our shared humanity. When I counted the number of fictional books I had read compared to a number of 'Best 100 books' lists on the Internet, I had not read any more than about 15 to 20 on any one list - so I have a lot of work to do - So! - New Years Resolution number 1 is to bone up on the truth laid bare in fictional form.

New Years Resolution (2) - My brother Chris said to me as we sailed down the coast a couple of weeks ago - " I saw this really neat movie in which this guy decided that he would spurn the knee jerk reaction to saying "No" to new experiences. He decided that he would say "Yes" to everything that came his way and see where it led him" - "This guy (Chris continued) said "yes" and went all over the world having incredible experiences. One experience led to another - a whole set of experiences driven by the engine room of his answer "Yes" whenever he was asked if he wanted to go somewhere or do something" - "It was an amazing film, you should see it" - "What's it called ?" I asked, "Can't remember" he replied, but just start bloody well saying "Yes" man and you will have the time of your life" - Hmmmm, So! - New Years Resolution number 2 is to say "Yes" as far as my courage will allow - ye gods! bring on the roller coaster.

New Years Resolution (3) - Circumstances are such that I am doing a lot more cooking. It started with my usual cooking on the good ship Mariner when I was away sailing and has continued in fits and starts (that's fits of laughter from myself, sometimes others) ever since. The book in the blog photograph is full of lined blank pages. To date I have written four good recipes in it. My food is simple and wholesome stuff of the comfort food variety. I hope to fill the book as much as I can over the year. So - New Years Resolution number 3 is to cook more meals, and try to be as creative as I can - shouldn't be too hard, I quite like cooking.

New Years Resolution (4) - This resolution came to me like white light on a black sky when I bought the book of blank pages - it is printed on the cover of my recipe book - "Shoot For The Moon. Even If You Miss, You'll Land Among The Stars" - This is going to be easy because I often miss, but I absolutely, simply adore stars, especially sailing stars.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mariner Heads South ( A Reminder About Seamanship) (3 of 3)

Mariners crew for voyage south. L to R - My redoubtable brother Chris, superb craftsman - he fabricated all the stainless steel on Mariner all those years ago - and nothing has broken in all the intervening years. I appreciated all his crew work, his banter, laughter and camaraderie - its great when brothers can have experiences together. ---- The Skipper, thinking how he is going to break the news about the southerly head winds. ----- Friend Martin, an Irishman with an endless sense of humour who regaled us with story after story of his experiences working all over the world, especially in Africa. He had almost zero experience on yachts but proved to be the only one not to succumb to the dreaded 'mal de mer' on the first days rough passage - these two guys were a great crew.

These are a couple of many examples of my brother Christophers stainless steel fabrications on Mariner. The workmanship in this compass gimbal and lifeline attachment point is faultless.

Christopher and Martin go ashore at Omakiwi Bay the day before we start south - the inflatable dinghy is only 2 metres long and it would be a squeeze with three - next year I plan to have one almost twice the size with an outboard motor.

We left the Bay of Islands through Albert Channel. We passed between this reef (Orerewainui Rock) and the mainland to make our escape.

This is the flag of my deceased fathers old yacht club, the Banks Peninsula Yacht Club in Christchurch. I always try and fly it in his honour and memory on the longer trips. It is from his influence that I have inherited a love of the sea and sailing.
Back in familiar waters, Bream Head and Mauitaha Island looming up - turn to starboard and you are nearly at the entrance to Whangarei Harbour.

Still tacking into the wind all the way south - Whangarei Heads greets us.
Happy faces - We made it - two days of fierce head winds and hard sailing.
The trip south was pretty rugged to say the least and taught me a valuable lesson i.e. Remember the valuable lessons!! - I know that onshore winds and a lee shore are dangerous and this voyage back down the coast reminded me of that fact again.
On the first day we left Omakiwi Bay early and sailed down the coast. By the time we were abreast of Whangaruru we had been tacking into strong headwinds for 7 hours so I decided to put into Whangaruru to have some lunch and reassess the situation. It was about 4 pm when we left with the intention of going out as far as Rimariki Island to see what the conditions were like. As we left the bay the wind had freshened somewhat and very large swells were rolling in from the sea. We took a bit of solid water over the bows as we clawed our way seaward. It occured to me at the time that if the wind was in the region of 40 to 50 knots then these big swells would be breaking making entering or leaving Whangaruru impossible - something to keep in mind if I ever have to seek shelter there in a real blow.
At Rimariki Island it was decision time, point of no return - we were handling the conditions reasonably well, only being really overpowered by the wind occaisonally - my only anxiety was that it was by this stage after 5pm and I didn't want to be caught out on a lee shore at night time.
I made the decision to continue knowing that our destination (Tutukaka) had a lighthouse as a guide to the entrance to the harbour.
Many hours were spent tacking first one way then the other to claw our way down the coast.
With light fading we just made Tutukaka before nightfall and here I got a big surprise. A huge swell from the onshore wind was almost breaking across the entrance - as at Whangaruru if the wind had been much stronger we would have been in trouble negotiating the entrance - and in fact the decision I would have made if that situation had arisen would have been to go offshore for the night.
In the gloom, with Tutukaka light flashing above us, and the huge scend of the pacific breaking in slow motion on Tutukaka heads we surfed in on the swell through the entrance. By the time we made the Tutukaka marina it was dark - My lessons about visibility, daylight hours remaining, onshore winds, harbour entrances etc had been revisited with a vengence.
The next day we left to sail the relatively shorter distance to Whangarei in the continuing southerly headwinds except that by now the wind strength had moderated considerably which made it an easier sail.
Overall the trip south was a bit rugged, but with a good crew we made it and safely delivered the boat back to her mooring in the Hatea River.

So here is a big toast to all my crews with a bottle of the worlds best sailing beer - thank you for all your help, companionship, camaraderie, humour and your great support - I know that I had a wonderful time, a very best of times doing something that I love - I hope you had an enjoyable time as well - cheers!

Interlude - Bay Of Islands ( A Realisation) (2 of 3)

The new crew contemplates a week in the Bay of Islands with a Viking Pirate. She did well subduing the skipper by letting him do all the cooking etc, etc - "This is my week off" she declared, to which I agreed, and I think that all things considered is only fair - She marked me out of ten for every meal, but the scores are a trade secret and cannot be revealed.

Idyllic sailing in the Bay of Islands. Christine steers the boat and holds onto her hat. Most of the sailing in this little sailing oasis was like this - flat water, gentle breezes and safe anchorages; a respite from the rigours of the coastal passage.

The 'R. Tucker Thompson' a square rigger at the Russell wharf picking up tourist passengers. Russell is an absolute hive of activity over the summer months. I went ashore here for ice and water and a few other supplies. The township of Russell features prominently in the early history of New Zealand colonisation.

Happy campers. Some of the land on the islands is owned by the Department of Conservation and there are some camping sites available for the public - many of these are in beautiful idyllic places - some with boat access only.

I did find it disturbing the way in which more and more land in the B.O.Is is now privately owned with 'Riparian Rights' ( owning land down to the high water mark). Bays I once rowed ashore to and climbed to the brow of a hill to take in the vista now have many 'No Access' signs along the fenced foreshore denying public access - this is more than just a shame in my opinion, it is a denial of access to this region of national importance and beauty to all New Zealanders.

Everywhere we went the Pohutukawas were in flower - the Pohutukawa is known locally as the New Zealand Christmas tree. In this bay you could only walk on the beach - the grass in this photo is the beginning of private property and there is no public access to the bay at all except by boat.

The B.O.Is was filled with a number of super yachts and super motor yachts. The photograph does not do justice to the size of the thing - it is a small ship really. One big motor yacht from a distance looked like a cruise liner, when we got closer I could see that it was a private motor yacht almost the size of a cruise liner.
The 'R. Tucker Thompson' plys her trade taking day trippers for a sail around the Bay - its always a thrill to see a square rigger sailing.

Mariner anchored in Opunga Bay. We were very thankful for the old tent shade that my father had given me when he sold his yacht many years ago. The temperatures during the week were in the 30s and we heard on the radio that the tar on the Desert Road in the central North Island was melting and causing huge problems to holiday motorists.

During our time in the B.O.Is Christine read her book 'Under African Skies' by Gareth and Jo Morgan about their travels through Africa by motorbike - she read me long excerpts of the interesting aspects of the political and social life there - I must read the book - but my own reading? - I went armed with some books and the very best of intentions but apart from the local navigation charts and guides I didn't read anything! never mind - I relaxed, reflected, meditated and tended to the needs of the boat and pottered about doing all the cooking and cleaning which I enjoyed as a contrast to all the Viking behaviour on the way up the coast.

Which brings me to my realisation, or rather a reminder of a realisation that we all know and have experienced. After about a week of the perfect, undemanding, easy, safe and lotus eating life in the B.O.Is I felt that I had had enough - I realised that if this went on for another couple of weeks I would soon be a bit bored - This perfect interlude was heightened by its contrast with the excitement and dangers of coming up the coast, the two complementry halves placed together forming a sort of perfect whole - and likewise, the anticipation of the trip back was within the context of the present perfect week - I started to look forward to the trip back and some more sailing excitement, BUT little did I know! - as George Bernard Shaw once said, (not that I am young) "Be careful what you set your heart on young man, for surely you will achieve it" - there is surely a subtlety and depth in that statement for those who understand! --- little did I know that the excitement of the trip back would exceed any ideas I might have had in my head.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mariner Heads North (1 of 3)

The trip up to the Bay of Islands was completed in two days mainly because of what you see in the above photograph - continuous head winds of 25 knots. Here we are lugging the big Genoa jib to windward and are getting overpowered so I changed down to the working jib. Mariner then picked up her skirts like the fair lady that she is and romped over the scintillating sea, "she fair won our hearts" as that old sailor William Garden said all those years ago on another voyage.
The first stage of the journey was Whangarei to Tutukaka.

The north going crew L to R --- Mike, aka Wilhelm the helm, competent and the voice of quiet confidence and assurance -- The skipper, smiling, his normal visage when sailing, and Glen, aka The Muzz, big and strong and reliable and very good at catching fish.

Mike encourages Glen to have a crack at trolling as we pass through huge patches of fish swarming on the surface with hundreds of birds diving on the school.

Within 10 minutes Glen had caught this Kawhai. We were doing about 7 knots to windward at the time, "Mate, when I hook a fish, I stop my boat! " shouts Glen. "Yeehaaaaaaa, wind it in" we yell back - When Glen hauls the fish on board it flies over the side and into the cockpit in a great silver arc - it was the highlight of the first day.

I swear to God I have never, but never, tasted fish as good as this and who says rough red wine and fish don't go together - what a meal that was!

The second stage was a much longer day - Tutukaka to Waipiro Bay in the Bay of Islands. It was another dead beat to windward. We spent most of the day getting wet from the continuous flying sea spray as we tacked northward. With evening coming on fast we passed Piercy Island off Cape Brett and headed on into the Bay.

Heading on into the Bay of Islands. It is a mistake to think that passing Cape Brett is the end of a voyage to the BOI. We still had about another 15 nautical miles to go.

Anchored in Waipiro Bay, Bay of Islands. On time, no great dramas despite high winds and two days of slogging northward. Its the contrasts in sailing that give the exhilaration - rough passage to a quiet anchorage - perfect.

In Opua on the morning of the third day. The Northward going crew take their leave. Thanks guys for your help, your camaraderie and friendship - it was a very, very good sail indeed.