Kel: Hi again. So, quelle suprise, we get to the campervan place in Auckland a little late, then we have to go through loads of scary insurance chat, so 500 quid lighter than expected, we eventually get on the road .... to Auckland rush hour..... at 4pm! I've come to realise on this trip that the UK does work far too many hours. At first in Sydney, we were walking past people in pubs at 4-5pm and I was saying how ridiculous it was. Then I realised what I was saying was ridiculous... it's brilliant. Anyway, so we got up the road for about a 4 hour drive to the beautiful Bay of Islands. Our journey ended on a ferry crossing at sunset and the two of us were just so excited by the views, our new lives as gypsies etc that it was quite a moment. Anyway we settled in to a quaint wee town called Russell only to be awoken by lots of horrid weather reports for the next 24 hours. We didn't let it put us off and decided to book a dolphin watching trip, and we were so glad we did.
We took off in a small boat, and the really friendly crew were full of if's and but's re the likelihood of seeing any given it was rough and about to get worse, all eyes on deck etc. We were about 20 mins in to our trip and I saw one quite far away. I started shouting out but must have looked like a crazy overexcited tourist cause they just said are you sure it wasn't a fish or a bird. But sure enough it was a pod of about 20-30 dolphins including babies (even a premature wee wee one) I was so excited that I'd saved the day for the boat's worth of tourists before I even saw the pod of dolphins, but they were absolutely awesome. I don't really use the word awesome but since we came to NZ I use it pretty much daily now. To start with about 4 or 5 jumped up together and across over each other. Then they started following the boat, ahead of the boat, under the boat. We werent allowed to swim because it was rough (and freezing) but we were allowed to lie out at the bow of the boat with our heads out and the dolphins were literally a foot below you swimming at the same time. Absolutely bloody awesome. The wee babies were riding on the waves of their mums which was great to see and otherwise we just watched loads of dolphins surving the waves while we took about 500 shots of sea (so difficult to actually get them on camera!)
So after that our wee boat radioed a couple of others so they came down to see them too. I honestly saved the day. Anyway, we went for a trip around some of the islands, had a hot cuppa and then made our way back before the storm.
It started raining pretty much as soon as we got of the boat so we got an absolute soaking on the way up to the campervan site. Matthew thought it would be an 'adventure' to go back out in it and get fish and chips. We were absolutely drenched by the end of it. Enough of the adventures (and wet clothes in a tiny van - hadn't really thought that one through) but it was worth it for the breaded scallops and kumara chips (sweet potatoes) Pretty big in the chippies here.
So torrential rain with the wee van over, next stop the north of Northland.