Today’s adventure is in Waitangi, better known as the Bay of Islands. There should be 2,600 islands in the seven-square-mile bay, but I think many are nothing more than large rocks sticking out above the water line. Whatever, our group made an offer to the city and immediately boarded a shallow launch such as a boat to tour water around the bay. We stopped at Russell, which was once the capital of New Zealand.
Back in the day, Russell was known as the South Pacific Drunk Hell Hole. Whalers and explorers stop here to visit brothels and forty-six alcoholic beverage shops lining the beach. When the British arrived, they cleaned up the city and named it the capital but it was immediately moved to Auckland.
Today Russell is a charming village. I paced back and forth on Main Street along the waterfront, admiring the charming cottages and the Duke of Marlborough Hotel. Because it was a beautiful day I chose to have a cappuccino in the sun. Seagulls are small, pigeon-sized, with bright orange legs and beaks. Like all their species, they are just waiting for the crumbs to fall to the ground.
A local couple joined me and we talked as usual. They were originally from the Netherlands but have lived all over the world, especially in the Far East, Mayasia, Singapore, Hong Kong and now Auckland. That person worked at Stamford, yes Stamford Ct. This is truly a small world.
Returning to the ship, we were treated to a nice lunch. The choices are lamb rump, venison and local whitefish. I chose fish, served with potatoes and salad. Yum
On my last visit to Waitangi, I visited the Promised House where in 1840 the Maori chieftains surrendered the islands to England, an action which is still debated to this day.
Back at Maasdam, I relaxed on the deck chair, read a little, and went to Crow’s Nest for Happy Hour. Asked to join a group of Australian women to play trivia and they were very pleasant. We can do pub crawls together on the ship later. That must be a scream. Stay here.