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Published: November 14th 2007
Ladieeesh andsh Gentlmensh, welcome, to The Rock
The coolest thing that I have ever experianced was the waterfalls of Iguazu in South America. Its taken until now to be able to put another thing into that top ten list. The reason the water falls were, and still are, the number one thing was (and forgive me because I am going to sound exactly like the tree hugging hippie you can see in my last blog) because I found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow there. The conditions were perfect, sun directly behind, facing this massive waterfall infront of me with the air just filled with water particles. I witnessed a rainbow, from my right foot, going in a full circle above my head andf just infront of me, all the way round to my left foot. The event, the place , the virgin emotion it created (and has never been felt since), the unexpected euphria that filled me was indeed my interpretation of the pot of gold. A spiritual pot, that you might be fortunate enough to stumble accross, whos memory you will be lucky enough to carry with you to the end of days. I feel like a privialed few, as I am
Neil in Rusell
Neil has a great friend called Russell so this pic was a very important one for him to send home!
yet to meet or hear of anyone who has experianced such an event.
A second top ten experiance was on the night of the Millenium. I was with close friends and staying with Hugh in a beautiful setting in his house by the loch. A little worse for wear, I was stumbling up the embankment from the waters edge to the house, it must have been about 2 am. Suddenly the ground lit up with a flash, instinct said it was some one with a camera having a laugh and recording my attempt to get up the hill. On turning round I found no persons, no-one laughing at my intoxication camera in hand, but the biggest, brightest line that covered over half of the night sky. This line glowing so brightly and slowly fading to that of a memory and (often hallucinogenically suspected) story, within 3 seconds. To have seen this, on that morning, was something that I can read into in so many ways. This also might explain a little as to the third I can now add to the list from going away on the boat called " The Rock"
web link to the rock: TheRock
The morning started with the best possible outcome. Sun shining and a dip into the jaccuzzie. Followed by Cheesy scrambled eggs on toast. Does it get much better?! Neil and I then decided to head accross to Russell for the morning and needed to be beack in Paihia for the trip by 3pm. A wee walk up the hill and a nip in the oldest pub in NZ was just what we needed, although Neil did look a bit sheepish after his pint! We got back and waited to be picked up from the pier. Stepping onto the Rock was the first joyous moment. It was this truley unique moment and boat. But it was more than a boat, this converted car ferry, a child and creation of Pete Honey, was so different that it just filled me with glee from the very first second. The lower deck consisting of a bar, gally, pool table, lounge, games area, parrot called stienie, kayaks, fishing area and the friednliest group of young hosts and hostesses that made the trip so memorable. Upstairs were all our sleeping areas, compact but cosy and with sliding doors to walk upstairs on the
Day time veiw of where we anchored for the night and witnessed the phospheresance
We started off the journey with a few drinks and an air rifle competition to see who could nail the floating rubber duck! Great fun, got to the final but think the whiskey impaired the outcome! It has been a long, long time since I have sat anywhere and flt such contentment. But it was more than that and its when you cant put something into words that you know you are witnessing a real gem of a moment and event. We dropped our anchor and attempted a rather chaotic fish with about 20 people all lowering their lines off the stern. The fish were plentiful to start but they must have gotten a little wise as it went from lots of bites to none. What was caught was barbequed and after a great feast of staek and sausages, the conversation began of the night time kayaking.
Now if i'm honest, I was quite apprehensive about this. keen to go but after quite a few drinks and having still a little of the indoctinated past life of Health and safety still creeping in, I felt the butterflies returning. It was a needless fear as
Meet Steinie, the resident parrot
as soon as I was in the Kayak and had a little paddle about to find my...orrs(?) I was very happy. Most of us have seen phosphorescence or know what it is. Having grown up on the west coast of scotland i am very familiar with it, but what lay in wait was more than the most invigorating, exhilarating, inspiring and thrilling that rivaled my Millenium star. Skip (Sophie) was our kayaking leader and took us round the bay and gave us a little talk about the area, the phosphorescence and made sure that we were all fine. She mentioned that the fish tend to go a little funny in at the bay and if we were lucky, or unlucky depending if you sat on it, they might end up jumping into the kayak. Quite interesting when you cant see anything below the horizon line, but just hearing the odd splash right beside you! This turned out to be increadible and if any of you have seen the movie, The Abyss, then you might have an idea of what happened.
Suddenly the green lights of the phosphorescence were no longer being created form our paddles, but twin green
The Rock from above
Hill top walk view of our overnight home
streaks started to appear in the blackness beneath us. Bright, luminescent, ultraviolet slip streams began to randomly materialize in darting successions. Each one took a different shape and direction, some coming upwards, right towards you that just dissapered as the fish left the water, only to end with a minor visual explosion of green on the surface as it landed beside the kayak. Others spiraled (Ems you would have been giggling with joy) downwards, while the occasional massive group shot right underneath your very vessel. I was completely bewildereed by what I was seeing, never could I have imagined that I would see Neptunes very own bioilluminescent fireworks dance beneath and all around me. Speachless, spiritually gigglling inside like a little child, filled with madness and jubilation at this performance and witnessing it play all around me, I could have stayed out there all night. Another moment in my life that I will never forget and that again makes me feel more than privilaged not just to have seen it, but to be alive.
The rest of the evening we all spent drinking and singing. Half of our group were a local to the island Maoris and the other half, travellers like myslef. They sang out a lot of traditional Maori songs and in return neil and I gave them (at thier request and not our drunken volenteering) a flawless three verse rendtition of "Oh flower of Scotland." I did feel a little sorry for the other three boats in the bay, but then I had another dram and forgot all about them. The next morning was a beautiful sunny day again and we all rose to laughter, coffee, and a temporary new family. The Rock pulled its anchor and we headed off to another island where we kayaked, walked the hills, snorkelled, ate and caught sea urchins to eat. We all knew it was coming close to head back to Paihia but were all so contented and happy from such a grand time we didnt mind.
Video of the view from the Island Hill top panoramic
If any of you are ever this way, this is a little gem that must be experianced. I know we were lucky with weather which allowed the conditions to be perfect, but even on a bad day, this trip is way up there in musts.
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