Awaking to grey skies and misty drizzle, with the Corona Virus taking its deadly hold on the world and practically all services closing down as New Zealand’s Level 4 shut down took place, the decision was made to up anchor and head into the shops to restock. By doing this, we could continue our exploration of the islands and be well isolated from the main population. The one boon was that the disease appeared not to have reached these climes – as of yet.

Upon entering the Bay of Islands, a soft light bathed the landscape, providing a mystical feel that reminded one of Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ as Australis 1 wended her way between island after island. A waterway in which bommies lurked and a multitude of perfect anchorages lay,

the landscape of rolling hills encased in green was hobbit country through and through. What is truly remarkable is that Tolkien never step foot on these remarkable islands and it was far from his thoughts when the trilogy was penned to paper.

A few hours later, our anchorage situated just outside of the small township of Paihia was attained. Within a few short moments, the anchor was set, and as with all anchorages so far, the holding ground was fabulous!

Dinghy lowered, into town we trundled.

This was a tourist town, today sadly denuded of its tourist dollars as the halt on international tourism took effect in force.