Exploring Historic Russell – the (ex) Hell Hole of the Pacific…

After ordering the engine parts we decided to sail over to nearby Russell. We only had one engine which made leaving the dock an exciting experience. The wind and current were conspiring against us but with Alyssa in the dinghy pushing the port stern we made it off without incident. We motor-sailed into Pomare Bay and dropped the hook at the entrance to Oronga Bay in nine feet of water. The view was beautiful with green hills surrounded by tall pines with homes tucked away in the trees. The bay was not crowded and we enojyed some peace and quiet for the first time since leaving Fiji – quite refreshing. The next day we took the dinghy into Russell and moored at the Russell Boat Club. Russell has quite the history. It was once known as the “Hell Hole of the Pacific.” Thanks in large part to the drunken American whalers who frequented the bay to re-provision and enjoy the local Maori “talent.” It was also the first European settlement in New Zealand. We enjoyed walking the museum and learning all about the colorful past of this beautiful little seaside town. After taking in some history we strolled the waterfront and enjoyed a delicious seafood lunch at the Duke of Marlborough Hotel. We like Russell – perhaps we can make it a home base for the summer.

While enjoying lunch Alyssa got a call about a job at the marine chandlery in Opua. So we made our way back to the boat, raised sail, pulled anchor and slowly (one engine) made our way back up the river to Opua to drop hook behind a gorgeous little island adorned with pine trees. Legend has it that a local farmer planted one pine for each of his children; I count five. It’s a great view from our ‘backyard.’ 

We are looking forward to receiving our engine parts later this week. We should have two working engines by the weekend. Just in time; our friends Brian and Liz arrive this weekend. We plan to head out and explore the Bay of Islands with them – it should be a blast!

Here are some pictures of the recent explorations. Hiking near Opua; Q anchored in Orongo Bay; the cool town of Russell; and our current anchorage in Opua. Cheers

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Thank You

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