We booked the sun kissed evening gourmet dinner cruise after sorting through about 5 or 6 evening cruises around the Bay of Islands and it was a fantastic experience. Communication was superb and Russell was happy to pick us up from our accomodation and as we were allowed to bring our own alcohol it meant I could have a wine with dinner and not worry about driving home.

He is a gourmet chef and avid yachtie and has a huge luxury sloop. He limits numbers and there were only 6 of us on board. He introduced us to his partner Karen, and a gorgeous Tibetan terrier called Woody. Then it was 3 hours of unbelievable good food cooked for us on board while cruising and a little bit of sailing around the Bay of Islands. We cast off and motored out of the marina and soon the food started. Soft Brie cheese, hot smoked Marlborough salmon, hot tiny sausages cooked on the Weber bbq hanging in the stern, and more. Downed with a gin and tonic we bought with us.

Then as a light breeze in the right direction prevailed it us up with the foresail unfurled and a pleasant sail past russel and along the coast. Once we anchored there was swimming for brave souls and just yakkityyaking for us others. Dinner was a slow bbqed butterflied lamb, green beans, potatoes etc all just perfectly cooked and served by the galley below. The best dinner I think ever at least for a long time. And with a 3 gold Taylor’s Shiraz we brought with us. Delicious.

The wine flowed the talk flowed as the scenery turned gold from the setting sun. Soon it was getting dark and we motored back to the marina with Russel producing a special treat to eat a gourmet chocolate blueberry cheesecake smothered with fresh Kiwi cream. Then Russel drove us back too our Airbnb.

Without a doubt the best ever experience in my memory bar none

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