Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Thursday 3rd May
Journal entry brought to you by Tami
Today Sophie and I did different things. I was booked onto a day's cruise with King's, we were due to go out to the furthest part of the islands, known as 'The Hole in the Rock', and go dolphin spotting. There was also the chance that we would get to swim with them, although this wasn't guaranteed.
I boarded my ferry at about 9.30am, and one quick glance around showed me that there was absolutely no one else my age. Groan.
I started off sitting on the chairs, but as the boat started moving faster and reading my book (another Archer) became impossible, I decided to adopt my favourite position on a boat, and went to sit right up at the front with my legs dangling over the edge. After about 45 minutes of admiring the scenery (truly gorgeous, beautiful part of the world), I was joined by two people, a Japanese girl called Yoko, and a lady whose name I never actually learnt. Yoko and I had a laugh teaching each other English/Japanese (Segoy everyone!), but it was the woman (whose name I don't know) who I really got talking to. It was weird, she must have been about 60ish (she was telling me about her grandchildren), but she was absolutely wicked! We had some really good chats about everything (from whether the Christian use of the church is appropriate or not, to places we'd been in different countries, and hopes and apsirations for the next week, year and lifetime). I think I'll refer to her as Mavis in this entry, just to make it easier. We spent a couple of hours in various different coves looking at dolphins, Mavis had a fantastic camera and got loads of great shots, I kept being a little too slow and getting a fast disappearing fin into the water, or a splash with no dolphin in sight. Eventually I got a couple of good shots, but apparently we weren't able to swim with them because they had babies, and a baby dolphin needs to feed every 5 - 10 minutes and if people are in the water they get distracted and undernourished. We moved to a couple of other places, but every time there were babies around, so we gave up and went out the the hole in the rock. This was, literally, just a hole in a rock. Not sure why people get so excited about it, the skipper drove us through twice. It looked exactly the same both times. We then went to a tiny deserted beach for lunch, where we were given snorkelling equipment. I had my pasta salad, then went out in the sea for a bit (didn't see any stingrays, gutted), and then I went for a walk to the top of a nearby hill with Mavis and her husband (whose name I happen to know is John). The views from here were pretty spectacular, looking out over the sea and surrounding islands. Very nice.
When we got back on the boat, we were given the opportunity to go Boom Netting, which is basically being dragged along in the sea in a giant net while the boat purposely tries to find swells to drown you. It was SO much fun, really awesome! Although I did lose my anklet which was a bit gutting because it was a really nice one from Byron Bay )-:Â Â Â .
After booming along for a bit, we found some more dolphins, but these again had babies, and then headed back to land. We had to drop some people off at another town on the way, which was called Russell! How cool!
Then I got back to Paihia harbour, and Sophie was there to greet me! We took a leisurely walk back to the hostel.....and it was then that I fell in love. His name is Ollie, he has brown eyes and brown hair, he's about 1 foot tall, and he's a King Charles spaniel, of absolutely immeasureable cuteness. I'm not kidding, this dog makes all other cute dogs look ugly, he was just LUSH. And he was so sweet as well, he'd come bounding up to me and sit on my feet and stuff, he was just ADORABLE. I'll be putting some photos of him up soon and you can all swoon. Sigh.
Anyway, when I'd got over how cute Ollie was, Sophie and I played Boggle with Keith and Tom for a couple of hours, and then I went to bed, chatted to our two roommates Emma and Megan for a bit, and then fell asleep. Then Sophie woke me up to tell me she was going out. I was a bit grumpy because I was like I don't need to know this, I am ASLEEP. But then I fell back asleep about 30 minutes later. Apparently Sophie and Dan (this guy from the Kayaking) went to some random hotel hot tub in the early hours (?!). Don't ask.
New Zealand is so far living up to the raves I've heard about how beautiful it is. Hope you're all well (-:
Here are Sophie's thoughts on her day:
Today I had a brilliant day. I went out on an extremely fast boat around the islands, which I am so glad I did because you can really only see the Bay of Islands if you go out on a boat. It was great fun and so exhilerating. I sat next to some Australian girls who were on holiday and were going to visit England this year. We visited the hole in the rock, which was so cool and got to see the lady's face in the rock. It looked so much like a woman it was scary. The island has a lot of importance to the Maori people and is very sacred. I also got to see some dolphins that swam right by the boat and jumped in the wake of our boat. It was so amazing seeing them upclose. They were right next to us. After I had done that (it was only a two hour thing) I got off the boat on one of the other islands called Russell and went for a nice long fun/ walk to a lookout and a beach. The view from the lookout was absolutely breathtaking. I could see loads of the islands and they were beautiful. When people told me New Zealand was beautiful I didn't really take much notice but it really is stunning. I caught the ferry back and back on dry land I went down to the beach and played cricket with Dan and his friend Ted. All these tourists kept thinking I worked at the kayak hut so were asking me questions about technique and how to do up the life jackets. It was hilarious. Luckily I managed to give them credible answers... I went to meet Tami off her boat at 4 and got a free cup of tea while I was waiting. I have drunk so much tea since coming away Mother that I am turning into you. Although I have more sugar than you. Yey. It was a great day and the weather was brilliant. No I lie there was a teeny tiny bit of rain but it was fine.