Sailing on the R. Tucker Thompson

A day in the Bay of Islands sailing on the R. Tucker Thompson. Our favourite tour to date!

The vibe in the Bay of Islands is all about chilling out, relaxing, and enjoying the sun. We had the privilege of spending some time in the area, and we found the perfect way to get the most out of this amazing area - sailing the day away on the incredible R. Tucker Thompson tall ship, operated by a charitable trust in the Bay. In the summer they take tourists out sailing, using the profits to teach Northland youth to sail through the winter.

When we arrived for our day on the ship, we were warmly greeted by the enthusiastic, laid back crew, who were friendly, welcoming, and excited about the day. We were offered tea and coffee right away, fresh baked scones soon followed. The sun shone down on us and the breeze rustled through our hair as the R. Tucker sailed through the calm waters. Everyone was offered a turn to be Captain and steer the ship. We were asked to help haul the sails up and down as the crew navigated. You could pitch in, help out and feel like a real sailor, or you could sit back, relax and watch the day go by at a leisurely pace.

Excitement grew when we were offered the chance to climb the rigging on the boat. Yes! Absolutely! We were ready for it. The crew walked us through safety then we were up and away, Gareth climbing first, then myself, up and up, gaining an incredible view of the islands, the ocean, and other boats navigating the water. We then climbed out the front of the boat on the bowsprit. Some passengers followed, while others watched with smiles on their faces. Either way, it was enjoyable for everyone.

The water sparkled as we made our way around the islands, stopping at one to have a swim and a walk around. Gareth and I bailed off the R. Tucker and swam to shore, why not! After we had worked up an appetite swimming, walking the beach and exploring the island, the crew picked us up and returned us to the ship. We were greeted with lunch - BBQ chicken, salad and veggies. It was delicious and just what we needed - a light, satisfying meal in the sun.

On the way back we had some surprise visitors. Dolphins jumped up to greet us and swam along with the ship, what a wonderful surprise! We all watched in wonder at these playful creatures as they frolicked in the waves.

The day was, in a word, incredible. We met some fantastic people in both the crew and the other passengers, and we got to experience time on an authentic sail boat that has been around the world. Our day on the R. Tucker Thompson has been, by far, our favourite tour in New Zealand to date.

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