At anchor off Russell - Wind SSW / 10 kts, Weather - partly cloudy, Swell - nil, Temp: 15 deg. C
Ahoy there shipmates,
As the sun rose we had turned into the entrance of the Bay of Islands and it was a glorious sight! A few early morning fishermen insistent on fishing in the centre of the entrance channel caused us to do a bit of slalom track to get in to Opua.
We eventually berthed aft of Spirit of NZ at 0945 to clear Customs, Quarantine and Immigration. Once that was completed we sent the returnees ashore for a couple of hours for a leg-stretch and the chance for a coffee.
We sailed at 1415 and proceeded to anchor off Russell, to make room for Lord Nelson and Europa to use the wharf. At 1515 we started transferring the crew ashore to attend the Powhiri, a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony. It featured the Captains of the visiting ships walking along the wharf and into the town and being individually challenged by local warriors to determine if we came in peace. We then entered the Marae and were seated opposite the community elders. Welcoming speeches were made by selected elders and then each Captain was invited to reply. Each speech was followed by a song and the YE crew sang ‘We are Australians’, accompanied by Dougie on the flute. We then were greeted by our hosts with the Hongi by pressing noses together, in the case of men, and kissing, in the case of women. Finally we attended an afternoon tea with a massive assortment of locally baked delights, fruit and sandwiches.
We returned onboard at 1830 to find Luke had prepared a BBQ dinner which we enjoyed whilst watching the sunset up on deck, whilst listening to some tunes on the Ship’s sound system. After dinner we screened ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ on the upper deck movie screen.
It is intended to remain at anchor overnight, during which the returnees will keep anchor watches. We will weigh anchor mid-morning and sail in company with Spirit of NZ to Great Barrier Island, where we expect to anchor pm on Mon 21 Oct.
Today\\'s Returnee blog: Ahoy there!
It was at dawn on the morning of Saturday the nineteenth when we sailed through the channel on our way into the port of Opua. With the rising sun to the east and a full moon sitting just above the mountainous horizon to the west, it was the perfect beginning to a day promising to be full of fresh experiences of our voyage. Although we were not able to sail by the power of wind the whole way to the finish line, a sense of accomplishment and pride swept through the crew. We had just succeeded in crossing the Tasman Sea, something that many of our peers will never have the opportunity to do. Along with this came the realisation that a part of our voyage had come to an end. Normally at this point we would be disembarking and saying our goodbyes to the crew, other Youthies and the Endeavour herself. However this is the just beginning of our six days of exploration of the New Zealand’s North East Coast.
There were many locals ready to welcome us ashore with friendly smiles and wonder in their eyes. However our new adventures had to wait. Once we were moored along side the port we were boarded by customs officers. With Border Patrol TV filming crew in tow, customs went about their quarantine and immigration checks. The Kiwis were tough with there quarantine standards, removing all our chicken, all our fresh produce including honey and the lunch, and dinners that had been prepared for the day that morning by our chef Luke. Upon clearance from customs the Youth Crew were allowed to disembark for shore leave.
We embraced dry land like it was an old friend; however many of us had become estranged to its unmoving nature. Some were even overcome with joy at the concept of space and began to run around embracing their new found freedom, while others found it to be foreign and huddled around a small table at a local café to enjoy a real coffee. Along with land came the opportunity to contact loved ones which saw most conversing and others simply leaving voicemails to unattended phones.
Soon enough we were back aboard and a short commute later dropped anchor at Russell. We eagerly prepared to go ashore for a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony we had been invited to take part in. In the small but proud town we were welcomed by a representative of the people who lead us through the streets toward ever louder chanting. The three captains of Europa, Spirit of New Zealand and the Young Endeavour were given peace offerings by large, tattooed, club wielding men, whilst they performed their ceremonial war dances. After walking through a collum of Maori warriors we were presented with an official welcome, with ceremonial speech, singing (from both the local Moari and boat crews) and of course Haka. After the formal proceeding we enjoyed an array of food that had been made for us and took the opportunity to mingle with the locals and other boat crews.
The evening saw us return to our vessel, to enjoy our first teak deck BBQ a fond memory for all Young Endeavour crew. In the dwindling light the staff assembled the projector and we all settled in to watch “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Even though most fell asleep during the movie, it was fitting to be watching a pirate movie while aboard a tall ship.
As we were at anchor for the night there was a change of watch roster. Watches were now only one hour in length with rounds every half hour, unlike the normal four. This meant a very welcome good nights sleep for all.
William Turner (Neill)