Ahoj from the Good Ship R.Tucker Thompson, powering our way to the final day of the Tai Tokerau Challenge. What a week of competition and comradeship, as we wind down to the final event and tally up the points. Today the trainees woke to the engine starting in darkness, as they rose from their bunks wondering what was up, well the sun wasn’t, but the anchor was.

From Paparahi we motored out past Rimariki into a brightening horizon and the silhouette of the Poor Knight Islands. Hot chocolate eased the unusual start to the day, cups cusped in hands waiting the warmth of the morning sun. Harnesses on, out onto bowsprit just as the dolphins came pouncing towards us, u- turning on our bow. Scattered over the sea, common dolphin are our most energetic and lifted our spirits. Breakfast on the way, almost at the islands, the dishes completed as we approached Rikoriko cave, the sun just hitting the opening as the tender hit the water. Soon the trainees were inside the cave, then back on board as we snuck between the two main islands to a protected snorkelling area on the south side. They enjoyed a brief or extended view of the amazing marine life and even a juvenile seal slid past beneath them. Taking advantage of the ideal conditions we lingered about the eastern end and another tender visit into a cave with chimney like openings above. Then alas, we needed to set a course for the mainland, with the topsails set and a reasonable north west wind to carry us towards Whanagrei Heads. Lunchtime, soup on deck, sun out, more time to practice and study for the final tests. Name that Line, Phonetic Alphabet and of course the ultimate Tucker Quiz finale, all of which I cannot possibly divulge. So be sure to turn up at Nikau Point tomorrow at 1300, one pm, to applaud the winning team.

We are now at anchor under Manaia, Tucker is back where she started. The big pork roast is filling the ship with goodness and promises. We have a little sing song tonight, the last dessert to score points on and then bed time.

Goodnight guys see you tomorrow!!