On Island Prism, we don't do things by halves, so when we took some friends out sailing there ended up being nine of us on board! Ethan, our youngest crewmember aged three, was determined to work his way up the ranks, starting the day by pumping the bilges (this proved a great distraction when he wasn't allowed to helm due to boat traffic and dangerous rocks). When we reached safer waters he was promoted to Assistant Helmsman, and by the end of the day was insisting that HE was now the Captain.
We cruised to Robertson Island, which is about an hour from Russell and has a lovely beach and a great lagoon for snorkelling. Julie and Mike searched for stingrays round the anchorage and I swam ashore with Jill and James to explore the lagoon. The tide was on its way out, but there were still plenty of fish. We ventured out into the open water at the back of the island; the temperature dropped noticeably but we explored the kelp beds and found a swarm of baby jellyfish). They didn't sting (luckily for us!) but they did feel very odd to swim through- quite firm, with an edge of squishiness.
Back ashore, we lead on the deliciously warm rocks just beyond the sandy shore. Jim realised that he had left the bag with towels and sunscreen on the boat and rowed back to get it. Ethan was devastated- the dinghy is his new favourite thing ever and he couldn't believe that Jim was rowing off without him. I'm sure every boat in the bay could hear his displeasure, but on his return Jim treated him to a nice long row and made friends with everyone else at anchor.
I sketched the lovely island- the only problem with the creamy paper in my sketchbook is that it removes a lot of the punch from my blue watercolours! Eventually tummies started rumbling and we snorkelled a circuitous route back to Prism. On the way, we found a colony of brittlestars, each with five long, serpentine limbs. I dived for sea urchin casts and found a snorkel and mask on the seabed- slightly covered with algae, but it scrubbed up very nicely!
We took the wind farther out into the Bay of Islands, soaked up the sun and enjoyed a beverage. Even Eileen and Malcolm's request for dolphins was answered! Back on our mooring buoy, I drew some of the things we'd found during the day.
An Artist Afloat- Painting the world one anchorage at a time.