This morning we raised anchor at 6:30.
The trainees were awoken with the sound of the engine starting and hot chocolates for everyone. Instead of heading into our usual morning swim and morning duties we sailed towards the rising sun in hopes we may spot a pod of whales passing through for their winter migration.
We set a course towards the hole in the rock, which wasn’t too far away. Toast was in the oven and the trainees came down stairs to enjoy breakfast. Once breakfast was completed the trainees got ready to head into the hole in the rock. We explored one of the caves the island has to offer and learnt the background story about Motukokako Island (Hole in the rock). We even came across a large school of blue moki on the trip back to the ship. The trainees then had a decision to make- Option A was to climb the Cape Brett track and meet the ship in Deep Water Cove, and Option B was to complete 3 hours of sailing and meet the trampers in deep water cove. Ngatai, Sihrene, Ivan, Santana, Gemma and Daemon chose Option A. With Luke, Mazaine, Bailey, Kate, Bridgette and Hannah choosing Option B. And off we went. The Tucker got up and close with the start of the Cape Brett track and we began tendering the walkers onto shore… Just around the corner at the start of the track we found of group of seals, and beautifully clear water visibility. And off we went, with the trainees taking breaks at every 100m mark, we slowly made our way along the track. Back on the ship, the trainees aboard hoisted the sails, sailing across the bay towards Ninepin and tacked back into Deep Water Cove, lowering the headsails before meeting up with the shore crew. Back on shore the trainees loved discovering what Cape Brett had to offer, with the DoC house and light house to explore and the breath taking views to take in, what could be better? We sung some songs along the way before finally making it to the top… of the first hill. Two more large hills to go.  Plenty of amazing photos were taken along the way, and there were no complaints made by any of the trainees, considering how hard the track was. Our last lookout was a beautiful view looking back at the hard work we had just completed before a downhill descent towards Deep Water Cove.
Once everyone was back onto the ship we slipped into our togs and snorkelled the beautiful reef in the cove. Some people had the opportunity to swing from the mega swing and the snorkelers cracked open kinas and fed and patted the friendly fish off the reef. Then back on board for warm showers before lifting anchor and continuing towards our night anchorage. Next a delicious lunch was served as  we  headed for one more island visit. A  shower of rain made us alter course and Captain Tim took the opportunity to investigate some islands about the islands for which he is doing a survey of how many islands there are in the Bay of Islands? The Tucker Thompson Accurate Guide to the Bay will soon be in bookstores near you.  On arrival at Opunga Cove we dropped sails and anchor. Hannah completed her Tucker Challenge, the trainees had turns on the Lil Tuck, and now we’re just waiting for our delicious dinner of hot roast to cook before we have a quiet night in.

See you all tomorrow