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Published: January 6th 2008
We made it! We're in New Zealand!
On arrival we sat and waited in Auckland airport for our pickup. We'd made connections with a friend of a friend who lives in Auckland and was bringing us up to stay with their family up north. After only 45 minutes of waiting, we found her, Lorna Mascall. The drive took about four and a half hours and we didn't arrive until late after dark so you could imagine we were relieved once we got there. The night had begun and we had woken up at 6:00am that morning in order to make our flight so we went straight to bed.
The next morning we were acquainted with the entire guest list of people that were staying up at the cottage. In New Zealand, a cottage is tradionally known as a "batch" and usually sits on beachfront off of the sea. The hosts of the batch get together were good friends of ours connection and they opened their doors to us without hesitation. We were exstatic to receive the hospitality we did and we were unbelievably appreciative of it. At the batch there were two full families filled with teenagers and young adults. We
fit right in with the crowd and were open to any activities that we might be able to get involved in. That morning we took a walk down to the "Blow Holes" where the rock cliffs have formed a perfect spot for the waves to crash up high into the sky...(like blow holes on a whale). Chris and I walked along the edge of the cliffs and I decided to take a dip in the dark sea. Apparently it was a pretty dangerous spot to venture into and I was a it overwhelmed by the enormity of the crashing waves...i decided quickly that i would try my swim at a different location.
After returning from the blowholes we headed off to the lagoon down the beach. There we sat quietly in the sand, completely and utterly alone. New Zealand's beaches don't hold the obvious warmth and vitality that Asutralian beaches do, but they do hold a calm, crisp, refreshing feel to them that equals in beauty. The water was cool and it was nice to be away from the crashing surf we've grown used to. A few hours spent reading and practicing our photography and it was time to return
New Zealand Sunset
During the drive up
to the batch.
In the avo we headed out in the boat to do some snorkeling out on the reef. All I can say was that the ride out to the reef on the boat was more amusing than the snorkel itself. I had a feeling New Zealand wasn't well known for it's snorkeling and I was definitely right. The water was freezing cold and underneather it was murky and uninteresting. You might see the occasional bottom feeder or a cool looking shell but that was about it. I ended up having to wait for everyone else to get into the boat because i couldn't stand the rocking while the boat stood anchored. On the way back from the snorkel we stopped off a small outer reef and tried some sea fishing. Craig, Lorna's father let Chris and I each have a go at the reel and we both grabbed fish. Chris caught a little fish that we are unsure of the name and I ended up battling a king fish. It took me longer than I've ever had to reel to grab it and it was definitely the biggest fish I've ever caught. Unfortunately it was just undersize to
During the drive up
keep and I was forced to throw it back in. Damn those stupid Kiwi fishing laws.
The day went by quickly and the night was cool and perfect for a good sleep. We headed off to our tent that was parked on the front lawn and drifted off.
The next morning we awoke hot and sweaty, it was boiling in our tent. After eating a very light breakfast we all decided to head over to Elliotts surf beach. The beach was a fair distance away, but it was a pleasant walk with great scenery. We crossed a small river, past one beach, through a path, and over a very cool rock beach. The girls decided to lie on the beach in the sun, and the boys headed for the surf. The surf was not very great, it was a pretty windy day, and the waves were choppy and unpredictable. After trying for some time to catch a good ride, we all headed back to the shore to dry off. Hunter had brought his rugby ball to the beach so we tossed for awhile and played a short game of three on three. Playing on the beach was great fun, but
it has it's downsides... we were covered in sand, so we all rushed to the water to wash off. We took a different root to get back to the batch, crossing through farm land. It was a beautiful walk through rolling hills of high grass and over fences. When we got home, it was the boys night to make dinner... we made an excellent salad. After eating, Jon made a camp fire and everyone sat around roasting marshmellows, a perfect way to begin the night. We then walked over to Hugh's batch to play pool and watch Braveheart, Hugh only wanted the two of us to come over, but we thought it best to invite all the kids and teens. So Hugh put a limit on our pool playing to three games only, and after exceeding that limit, the beach was the place to be... that is, until we felt a few raindrops and migrated back to our tents to lie under the stars and listen to some relaxing music, with a portable stove as our campfire. It was perfect.
Leaving the next day was sad, everyone was so great to us and the Skeat's were so kind to let
us stay with them, but excitement overwhelms us for our fast approaching tramp!
Ev and Chris out.
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