It’s a Bit Campy: Mahinepua Bay

Our sweet set-up, tent, couch and grill


With my days in Paihia quickly dwindling, Bronson, his brother Caan, their puppy Bones and I set off north to a special ocean front campsite just down in the bay below their grandmother’s house. I had a rare entire weekend off from the restaurant that I wasn’t likely to get again, so Bronson spent Thursday night planning and we left on Friday for two days out-of-town. 

Bronson with our tent and kayaks


We had a full stocked ute with three boxes of beer and three days worth of bacon, eggs, toast and sausages. We even brought their barbecue 

off the back porch, which explains the sausages. Our tent gave us each some space, with two fairly large rooms, and we made a little tent for Bones on the back of the trailer Brons borrowed from Fell to carry the barbecue, the second kayak and oh yeah the couch seat we also dragged along. We had a sweet setup for a weekend away with less than 24 hours notice. 

Saturday's Sunrise


Maybe it was the kayaks, maybe it was because we were out of Paihia, but we left a cloudy Bay of Islands and had bright sunny weather all weekend. Saturday morning I woke up to a perfect sunrise over the water, like a robins egg breaking open and spilling out marshmallow pink clouds and a sparkling sun. 

After a hearty BBQ breakfast, Bronson and I set off for an afternoon kayak around the bay. There was a small bit of rocks at the edge to the left, so we headed for that marker. It was quite fun to watch bits of the bay come into view we hadn’t been able to see from our recessed beach. There was a boat apparently wrecked on another stretch of beach, and around the bend from us was one hill that looked like the ruins of Mycenae and another with a Maine-style chalet. 

Our fishing site

Our fishing site


We set adrift in the channel of ocean flowing into the bay, pushed by the outlying Cavelli islands. Even though my two previous fishing experiences were a) when I was 8 and b) a month ago with the Joyce family for dad Kelly’s birthday (we merely let the lines sink straight under the boat) I managed to set out a few good casts. Somehow Bronson caught a decent sized fish, we think it was a teraki. I managed to get my line caught and lose my pink lure to the rocks. 

He killed it and we paddled to the small pebble beach with the boat so he could gut and scale it. There was something intriguing and revolting about the sound of metal on fiberglass, the sound of actually killing your dinner. I wandered around picking up broken shells and wading in the water. By the time I came back the fishes intestines and heart had washed away with one breath of the sea. 

Brons with his fish

Brons with his fish


Dinner was yummy, grilled fish and whatever else we wrangled up. I polished off half my Cadbury’s caramello bar and a beer as dessert. It was wonderful to have an entire day where time didn’t matter, nowhere to go, nothing to do but fill my own whims. The boys made a bonfire in an old tire rim and I took a nap with Bones. It was the perfect day I had been waiting for, the day that symbolizes New Zealand. 

We woke the next morning to clouds over the Cavellis hiding the rising sun. I had to work Sunday evening, so Ike started ticking again. We went kayaking again, around to the right this time past the Maine chalet. We tied our kayaks together and I disastrously fell overboard and immediately wished I had been brave enough to jump. It’s not often you’re in the middle of the ocean on a bit of plastic barely taller or wider than your self. The feeling of completely endless water was surreal and overwhelming. I had an instinct of being unable to find the surface and gracelessly catapulted back into my kayak. It would have been nice to take a few breaths and swim around a bit, making my own little mermaid fantasy come true for a few strokes. 

Kayaking in Mahinepua Bay


Regardless of my failed attempt and pulling an Ariel and swimming off into the sunset, it was still amazing to have a few days away from town.


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