Ten Reasons Why Sailing in New Zealand is a Must Do
I recently went on a seven day sail trip to an offshore Island in New Zealand with my boyfriend and his family. I have never been sailing before so I was pretty excited to board Geoff's sail boat that I had only heard so much about. We set off to Great Barrier Island, a 4-9 hour sail depending on the winds. I'm here to share my top ten reasons to find yourself on a sailboat!
Reason One: It is the best way to spend a holiday. Away from crowds, away from shopping centers and away from the crazy of the mainland. We went for Easter holidays on this particular trip and had a very full boat. Packed with more than a weeks worth of food, we headed out to sea. Easter morning was spend camping on one of this remote Island's Surf beaches. Geoff spent the evening surfing with Mates and I dug into a good book. When we got back to the boat we were greeted with chocolate Easter bunnies on our bed!
Reason Two: Sailing is pretty energy efficient. Wind is quite common out on the open water so getting places with a sail is virtually petrol free! It is pretty neat to feel the power of the wind as it fills the sails and the entire boat is on a 45 degree angle. If you get sick easily it may not be for you, the water is usually rough so sea sickness is a common problem. Lucky for me I never got the sick feeling.
Reason Three: You get to do some pretty remote hikes. We climbed to the top of Mt. Hobson (Hirakimata) on one of our days, which is the top of the Great Barrier Island. It was sunny and beautiful and I decided to do it as a day hike, but Geoff and his friend Lyubo preferred to stay the night at one of the Huts near the top. I walked to a secluded bay where the Geoff's dad sailed to pick me up after the walk, so I didn't have to walk down the same way. The perks of having a boat.
Reason Four: Sailing brings you closer to everyone. We spent the night's cooking and playing cards all in close quarters enjoying the company. There is not much room to move around with seven people so you learn a lot about everyone very quickly. Also with no cell phone service you must learn to socialize face to face.
Reason Five: The flora and fauna will blow you away! Seals, dolphins, petrels, gannets, rays, Kaka, Brown Teals and so much more was found on our trip. We even saw little blue penguins swimming beside the boat. Most evening we would take the dingy ashore and explore the forest. Nesting shags were the most entertaining!
Reason Six: Life on the Barrier and the sailboat is pretty lax. Hitching is easy and everyone seems to be friendly. Little walks can be found all around and it isn't unusual to be barefoot wherever you are. The jetty is bustling with life, kids diving into the ocean and boats coming in and out. Sailing in general is a very restorative activity.
Reason Seven: Starry Nights are the most insane out on a sail boat. With no light pollution and the southern Hemisphere's unique sky, it is impossible to not be impressed while star gazing. One particular night it was incredibly calm without a breath of air. The sky was crisp and clear; Geoff and put a hammock up between the mass's and stargazed for a few hours.
Reason Eight: Living in the moment is easy on a boat. Waking up to the smell of coffee is good anywhere, but when you're on a boat with a good book and a stunning view, nothing quite tops it. I brought out my woolly blanket to the bow of the boat to listen to the birds and enjoy the present moment.
Reason Nine: The best Sunrises and Sunset are had on the boat. Beautiful and as far as the eye can see color erupts in the sky. Being up early for first light has it's payoffs.
Reason Ten: Sailing is bad-ass. People instantly associate you with being a really cool person because you went sailing. No idea why it's this way, but I think it's because the ocean is such a powerful force. All I know is it was a really amazing experience that I am so glad to have the chance to get out on the water in New Zealand!