|Wayne making way back to the anchorage on our first stop at Motuarohia (Roberton) island. It was far chiller and less crowded then.|
|Trail head viewpoint, looking East across Motuarohia.|
Originally the island's inhabitants were Māoris. In 1869 after a bit of gunfire, Captain Cook and his crew were welcomed with food and water, likely helped by a Māori conversant Tahitian aboard. Eventually the land was sold to John Roberton, who farmed it. However, after John Roberton died, his widow, Elizabeth Roberton, resumed farming with Thomas Bull. They did not get along with a local chief's teenage son, Maketū Wharetōtara who murdered Bull, Elizabeth, her two children and the granddaughter of the Ngāpuhi leader Rewa, who lived with the Robertons. Maketū was tried, found guilty and hung, the first enactment of the death penalty in New Zealand.
|Motuarohia's sandy shore -- at least in this Bay.|
Of the four main bays, all offer safe anchorage for visitors. The largest and most popular is a sand-fringed South Eastern bay, where we enjoyed our our Christmas festivities. It's also where the park's popular lagoons and lookout trail head originates, leading to an exceptional 360 degree Bay of Islands view.
|Another cruiser gazes across Motuarohia's|
most popular anchorage site.
Figuring I may as well make the most of the trail, I returned to the boardwalk to take in the views. A few minutes further it became apparent it was leading to a private home. In the interest of respecting their privacy, I eschewed the nearby views and made a quick about face, heading back to the beach.
|This point divided our anchorage from the bay to the West |
that I kayaked into.
"Was there a private property sign?" I asked. "No," he replied, "though it is private property." He admitted when the occasional uninvited visitor showed up, he would decide based on their attitude whether to tell them to bugger off, or whether to welcome them.
|Private property view of Motuarohia's North West cove.|
I hopped in Murray's proffered Jeep, and he drove up to a home atop the island's Eastern hill. Wayne and I noticed Murray's home from the Western trail vista, wondering if its building materials were delivered by helicopter. They were. The view of Motuarohia's exquisitely transparent emerald-colored North-facing coves was even better than from the public trail head. "Good snorkeling?" I asked about the Eastern-most cove? Yes, Murray said.
|Closer view of Motuarohia's North West cove.|
We're currently anchored at Bay of Islands Waitata Bay (S35.15.355 E174.08.021) near Russell and than 2 miles from Motuarohia (S35.14.120 E174.10.094), just across New Zealand's Bay of Islands. We're about to head over to Pahia to prep for a leisurely, multi-day passage with stops along the way to Whangarei. If you'd like to see area looks like, watch for some upcoming posts of our explorations in the area just before Christmas.
Cruising by the Numbers
We're just doing short hops since our November 21st arrival in New Zealand until May 2016 when cyclone season ends and it's safe to foray further. We sailed over 10,000 miles this year since leaving Florida in December 2014.