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Published: January 22nd 2020
Today’s adventure is in Waitangi, better known as Bay of Islands. There are supposed to be 2,600 Islands in this seven square mile bay but I suspect many are no more than a large rock sticking out above the water line. Whatever, our group tenders to the town and immediately boards a shallow draft launch like vessel for a water tour around the bay. We stop at Russell, once the capital of New Zealand.
Back in the day, Russell was known as the Drunken Hell Hole of the South Pacific. Whalers and explorers stopped here to visit the brothels and the forty-six grog shops that lined the waterfront. When the British arrived they cleaned up the town and named it the capital but that was soon moved to Auckland.
Today Russell is a charming village.. I walked up and down the Main Street along the waterfront, admiring the charming cottages and the Duke of Marlborough Hotel. Since it was a beautiful day I chose to have a cappuccino by the water in the sun. The seagulls here are small, pigeon size, with bright orange feet and bill. Like all of their species, they were just waiting for a crumb to drop to the ground.
A local couple joined me and we chatted as one does. They were originally from Holland but have lived around the world, mainly in the Far East, Mayasia, Singapor, Hong Kong and now Auckland. The fellow once worked in Stamford, yes Stamford Ct. It really is a small world.
Back on board we were treated to a lovely brunch. The selections were rump of lamb, venison and a local whitefish. I opted for the fish, served with potatoes and salad. Yum.
On my last visit here to Waitangi I visited the Treaty House where in 1840 the Maori chiefs ceded the islands to the British, an act that is still contentious today.
Back on the Maasdam I relaxed on my deck chair, read a bit and went to the Crow’s Nest for Happy Hour. Was asked to join a group of Australian women to play trivia and they were so much fun. We may do a pub crawl together later in the cruise. It should be a hoot. Stay tuned.
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