The Three Kings Island

The Three Kings Islands

Years ago, Dean Horgan (our R Marine Flagship Dealer Principal) skippered the legendary charter boat, “Outer Limits” a Riviera 48 Platinum to the Three Kings Islands weekly for 5 months every year. Dean’s long-time friend, Terry O’Carrol (Captain, Gourmet Chef, Marlin Wrangler, All Round Good Bugger), worked alongside, making Dean look good. One late afternoon on the way back to the Islands after an amazing day of Marlin fishing on the Middlesex Bank, the two boys were standing in the cockpit of the vessel, with a coffee in their hand when Dean turned to Terry and said, “One day mate we will bring our kids here to experience this first hand”. Twenty years later, on-board Ocean Warrior, a Riviera 60, they finally got to. The Ocean Warrior crew of eight included Dean, Suzie and their boys James, Taine, Corey and James as well as Terry and his son, Roman.

The Three Kings Islands are 13 inhabited islands about 55 nautical miles North West of Cape Reinga where the South Pacific and Tasman Sea converge. Protected by remoteness and rugged seas, the islands are virtually untouched resulting in absolutely incredible fishing, diving and scenery. It was quite literally nirvana for the Ocean Warrior crew.
Departing from the Bay of Islands, the trip began with trolling lures for a very early season Marlin up to North Cape before anchoring west of North Cape in Tom Bowling Bay for the night. Two Marlin bites resulting in short but unsuccessful fights ensured the whole crew was buzzing with excitement for what lay ahead. Tom Bowling Bay is a secluded and beautiful Bay to anchor in, with pure white sand and crystal clear water, it’s a true jewel of the Far North.  After having New Year’s Eve in Tom B
owling Bay, the crew had a 3.30am start to the day heading North-West to the famed King Bank and Three Kings Islands just in time for Deans 10 hour low and slow Brisket.  Not a bad start to 2020!

The King Bank was perfectly flat calm with zero wind and around 1m of lazy swell.  The whole crew enjoyed an incredible day of King Terakihi, Hapuka, Red Snapper and of course huge Kingfish, everyone achieving their personal best fish.

On arrival at the Islands, they were welcomed by the dramatic scenery which is enhanced by the incredibly high cliff faces of the main island. Suzie described the experience as “surreal” with “deep blue waters and rich marine life, the sea felt like it had come alive.”

The Ocean Warrior crew spent 4 days at the islands, appreciating it’s beauty, incredible fishing, stunning diving, and of course great food courtesy of Suzie and Terry (when Suzie allowed him in the galley). They anchored in North West Bay for the night, where it was most sheltered from the elements.
Taine, is passionate about photography/videography and with so much beautiful scenery and marine life to capture, he was completely in his element.  Taine is the man to thank for these awesome photographs… and these don’t even come close to showing how incredibly unique and magnificent the Three Kings Islands are. The beauty of the Kings is so much more than its appearance, it is the feeling of being so remote, far from the mainland and the bird sounds along with the vast marine life.

For Terry, a seasoned fisherman, the highlight of the trip was experiencing the young boy’s joy while they were fishing. Roman, Terry’s son developed such a passion for being out on the water during their time away, he still brings it up weekly! Just 13 years old he caught the fish of a lifetime, reeling in a 43kg Kingfish at the King Bank, he was just over the moon with his catch! Terry describes it as a “buzzing” moment for him, as a father and a fellow fisherman.

As if the fishing and scenery wasn’t enough to keep the crew busy, the diving was just out of this world! It is regarded as some of the best in the world with an abundance of marine life (in particular crayfish) and water clarity second to none. James was in charge of hunting and gathering underwater and was too busy finding Kai for the Whanau to stop and take photographs of the beautiful underwater terrain. James describes his dives as “unbelievably picturesque with everything on a massive scale.”  Dean, who has done hundreds of dives all around the Three Kings Islands said it is an incredibly unique and unusual place to dive as the tropical warm waters mix with the nutrient rich subtropical waters to produce uncharacteristically large sponges and coral outcrops not seen anywhere else in the world.

On the fourth day, the weather started to turn and the crew began their trip back home. I’m sure you aren’t surprised to hear that they continued their fishing on the way home too. With an early morning departure and all the young boys still in bed, James was just putting out the first lure and a Yellowfin Tuna took the lure. There was much excitement in the boat as the boys were rushing to get out of bed. For Roman, sleeping in the saloon became a lot less like drawing the short straw as he was first to the cockpit and got to reel in the Yellowfin Tuna of around 15kg in his flannel PJs.  What followed was a frenzy of bites once the gear was reset resulting in all the boys ticking the caught their first Yellowfin box.  What a perfect result for the whole team!

Check out all that fishing action!

The young boys with their Yellowfin Tuna

James catching his first Yellowfin!

Because of all the extras added to The Riviera 60, Ocean Warrior when new, it was the perfect vessel for this adventure. It effortlessly had room for the 4 adults and 4 growing children, with spare room for 5 sets of dive gear, fishing gear for all and all the fish caught throughout the trip.

One Final Message from Dean…
“It was fantastic to take the whole family for a tour of the whole Three Kings Islands Group from Great Island (where you find Flora and Fauna unique to the Three Kings Islands Group).  Around through South East Bay, Tasman Bay, Cascades Bay across to the Princess Group (past a large Seal Colony), all the way down to West Island (the site of the famous SS Elingamite Wreck), where the Pacific and Tasman Seas collide.  A return route on the Northern side out wide via a couple of my secret Hapuka spots (see below), across to Crater Head before our departure to the Compass Rose where we kept the kids busy with Yellowfin Tuna (as above).

It was amazing as a retired Captain to share many years and thousands of miles of knowledge with the Whanau.  You couldn’t have planned a trip better to introduce the Whanau to sports and game fishing better if you tried, weather was as per the brochure, fishing was sensational.  It would be fair to say they are all 150% committed going forward and they are planning the next adventure.

If you are considering a trip to the Far North please feel free to give me a call and bring in your charts (old school paper is best!) as I would love to share my knowledge of this amazing slice of paradise.

Lastly, I would like to give a huge heartfelt Thank You to the owner of Ocean Warrior for helping us out in a time of need and your incredible and ongoing support!”

All in all, the Ocean Warrior crew had an incredible time on their trip to the Three Kings Islands, with awesome company, many personal best fish caught and memories made.

It truly was the trip of a lifetime.

Kingfish Action

43kgs Kingfish

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