There was this one time at band camp....
*sigh* Paihia.... where to start... well Pahia is one of the most popular places in the northland. People flock there in their thousands but thankfully we arrived before the start of the rush. Booked into a lil place called captain bobs this could only mean a good few days by the coast, not that the others havent all been good too! so as i said its a tourist area but its done in a really nice way,there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to feed all appetites and lots of lil shops to spend hard earned dollars in (thankfully i resisted this urge). Originally i think we decided to stay here as the diving is meant to be incredible, but due to circumstances beyond any control the diving course didnt happen and so we explored mainly on foot. again, this pretty much follows the same patterns, finding a gorgeous lil hostel, tripping along the beach in wonder of the blue sea, eating some fantastic meals and enjoying the weather. except for the one day we decided to go on a boat trip. This area is called the Bay of Islands due to the 150 islands off the coast and so there are lots of boats which take u around to them to see the dolphins (not dead like our dear opo), see a hole in a rock and so forth. so were browsing the many options open to us when the owner of our hostel points us in the direction of a lil company which owned by husband and wife and u get to go on their proper sailing boat. so we book up immediately for a days sailing, plus lunch and a discounted price. the day dawns and the sun beckons us to the wharf for our trip. we stop for ice cream, its nearly 9am so its allowed and head onto our vessel. the owner, mike, greets us with a warm smile and explains the rules etc. there is only about 10 of us so its an intimate affair. we leave the wharf and the guys all help to pull up the sails and do that manly stuff which means that i can sit on the deck and try to catch some sun. we spend the morning flying around the islands, the sun glinting off the water in the most seductive way and being fed and watered at the same time, i think i cld easily say this was paradise. so anyway, mike picks his favourite island to anchor at for lunch and sends us off for a walk... well everyone goes for a walk except for me and tilly who decide we will spend the hour snorkling around the boat and nearby rocks. of course the first half an hour is spent struggling into swimwear and arguing about who will have what wetsuit. i know wetsuits sound wussy but this water is cooooooooooolllld!! so we fight the wetsuits around our figures, which dont seem too forgiving at this moment, don the flippers and masks and head to the water... slowly... i dip a foot in and it turns blue so after much mocking, laughter, fear and psyching up we end up in the water gasping for breath that seems to have left for some strange reason. tilly decides to abandon the snorkle and reminds herself how to swim whilst i struggle over to the rocks to discover a complete lack of fish life and struggle back to the boat where i also lose the mask and try and drown tilly instead, much more fun! everyone comes back from the walk and lunch is served. we munch on our fat sarnies and guzzle the drink to rid ourselves of the salt encrusted on our lips, i have never been in such salty water before!! we tidy up and head back onto the sea where mike has figured out where the dolphins are hiding and manages to get us around them. it takes me a while to spot them heading for our boat but suddenly they are everywhere, 20/30 of them diving around, sliding under the boat, showing off and enjoying the attention. it was incredible to see and they looked so graceful doing their thing. of course they left for a while to show off at another passing boat before returning. altho the 30 are the tip of the iceburg as 30 usually means 100 in the area. it was fantastic and i think i have some pictures of some of them, altho it is seriously hard work trying to get them at the right moment without falling out the boat. so all excited about this we get back to what were there for, sailing. we catch some strong winds and end up holding on for dear life as the boat leans into the wind. we smile at each other nervously and grip on even tighter. but again, another fantastic experience to add to the list. something ill defo look into doing again. oooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh.... and the other thing that i did whilst in Paiha... jst across the water is a lil town called russell, which is very cute and has some lovely beaches. as we leave were discussing this with the owner of the hostel who explains that half of the beach is a nudist beach, i laugh, tilly laughs and then suggests we do it. i look at tilly for a moment in hope shes joking, but shes not... so, after much thought and deliberation i figure i could at least see the beach... so we head over on the lil ferry and take the walk to the beach. we hit the clothed side (which is empty as its mid week) and head round the rocks to the nudist beach. to my surprise we are not alone, there is a couple with their two children all running around in the water looking very relaxed and so for some strange reason i decide maybe my nakedness isnt so shocking after all. i strip off quickly before chickening out and coat myself in sun tan lotion, there are places i defo DO NOT want to burn! and there we spend the afternoon, relaxing in the sun and enjoying the wind upon many regions the wind does not normally reach when im outside. we fall asleep and wake to find its time to leave, get dressed and head off to the ferry port thing. i have to say i was firstly very surprised about getting naked, this is not something i do freely, and secondly that i enjoyed it so much... i cld defo see the benefits of becoming a naturist, altho keep handing the sun cream cos there are some sacrafices im not willing to make!