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Published: July 20th 2014
Bottlenose Dolphins in Bay of Islands NZ
frame clipped from video (posted 7 August) "Bottlenose Dolphins in New Zealand" - A pod of bottlenose dolphins dived and swam around our boat cruising the Bay of Islands in northern NZ
We were greeted by our host Heinz in his kitchen with freshly ground coffee, cereals, yoghurt, fresh fruit and eggs to order. He was meticulous in ensuring that everything was strictly vegetarian with many vegan foodstuffs accommodating Caroline. There were only the four of us for breakfast and we sat chatting to him for quite a long time. He suggested that the weather might turn and whilst the sun was shining we should take a boat ride out to the Hole in the Rock. Being very involved with the tourist industry here, Heinz booked our tickets with a discount.
The sun was shining as we walked down to the wharf. Don realised that it would be his brother Mike's wedding anniversary when we returned home so we bought a card and wrote it out and then posted it. We also bought the compulsory thimble for our thimble collection.
We boarded the ferry at 1:15 pm for the 1:30 sailing. We sat up on deck and headed for Russell. Russell was a town renowned for its disorderly conduct by sailors and ex-convicts. It was named after Lord Russell, the first Governor General of New Zealand and who later became British
Hole in the Rock, Bay of Islands NZ
Don posing on the boat during our cruise. As the video (posted 7 August) shows, unfortunately the sea was too rough for our cruise boat to go through because the captain said there was only about a meter clearance either side.
Captain James Cook, the explorer who came to the Bay of Islands in 1749, counted 144 Islands. As you sail out to sea one has to be wary of the hidden reefs in and out of the islands. The islands vary in size. Some are being preserved for conservation whilst others allow visitors. Some only allow campers and visitors on certain parts of the islands.
We passed the old lighthouse which was manually lit until 1978 (now automated) and the house which was used by the lighthouse keeper and his family. Today the house provides the cheapest accommodation in the area - only 13 NZ $ per night but you have to walk for six hours to get there, unless you hire a helicopter.
We were so lucky - the ferry was suddenly surrounded by a pod of dolphins feeding and playing. Mothers and babies were swimming together and jumping together and generally doing what mothers and babies do best. We stayed watching them for as long as possible and then moved on.
We headed for the Hole in the Rock. This is a small rocky island which dates back to the Jurassic period and which has been eroded by the weather and the tide. Boats do pass through the hole but the sea was rather choppy. In fact whilst we were hovering the boat was being pulled around.
After our photo shoot we were about to head back when the photographer on board thought she saw movement on a rock some distance further out to sea. She was right - the rock with summer snow (euphemism for bird poo) had movement on it. We had to look very carefully as camouflaged on the rock were fur seals. The seals were raising their heads every now and then. When they saw the boat one of them raised a flipper as if acknowledging our presence. It was a truly wonderful three hours.
We rushed back to the hotel and changed and lit Shabbat candles. It was the first Shabbat that Caroline had been with us for a very long time. On Friday we were truly blessed. Our Shabbat fare was very different from other Friday nights but we were very cosy sitting around the small dining table in our room.
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