Last Summer, I had the opportunity to sail for two weeks from Whitianga to the Bay of Islands in the upper reaches of New Zealand’s North Island. The trip reinforced the love and appreciation I hold for my home country, sailing and the ocean – whilst gifting me the unique sense of freedom wind propelled travel through unadulterated paradise allows you.

Our first port after departing the mainland was the Mercury Islands, which lie 8km off the northeast coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. It was the height of summer, the grass had been dried to a beautiful golden hue, the water was warm and crystal clear, the pohutukawas were displaying royal red flowers and the sky was a constant brilliant blue.


We stayed in this bay for 2 days, allowing plenty of time for swimming, guitar, boardgames, wine, reading, relaxing,  wandering and exploring. On the second morning a pod of bottlenose dolphins meandered into the bay, I didn’t get a chance to take any photos of them as I jumped straight in the water with my snorkel and mask to say hello.


Not many people (New Zealanders or tourists) ever make it out to The Mercury Islands. It’s one of those places you have to make a conscious decision to visit, but if you enjoy isolated island nirvanas and have the means to get there – it’s a decision well worth considering.


James Watkins Photography





























Tags: , landscapes, mercury islands, new zealand, photography


  1. Juergen Buergin

    Wonderful, amazing photos, like to be there!

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