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Published: December 4th 2007
Spending as little time in Dorkland as possible, I fixed up the next leg of my journey. Plan was to take two of the "Stray's" bus tours and end up eventually in Queenstown to work for Christmas and new year. Our first stop was at the Coromandel penninsula, where we did some sea kayaking in rather rough waters. A good day, meeting some more good people. Staying up for a few drinks with John, we were invaded by a bug that resembled a giant cockroach with wings and massive antena. Mischeif overrulling all other thoughts, I caught it and laughingly stumbled to the window where 8 of our group were sleeping. In it went and I desperatly tried crawling back to sit down for another beer. This was much harder than you would imagine, doubled up in stitches, tears pouring from our faces, we couldn't even look at each other for a good 30mins without falling about in ridiculously painful laughter. Simple things... 😊
The following morning John rudely awoke me after about 4 hrs sleep and we got up and went for a dip in the sea. Exhilarating. Our destination was Raglan, one of the best surfing
oh look, another photo of the falls...
places in New Zealand. Gave it a shot. "I caught my first Tube today, Sir!" - Well no I didnt but I certainly looked like one trying. Loved it but battered and brusied I kept the Point Break quotes till later that evening and headed in. Raglan is beautiful, a place you really could stay, but not this time, not me.
Now, we had a trainee 'Stray' employee with us. Poor Mat was told not to speak to any of us unless he had the randomly placed magic wand in his hand. Thus the 'Fairy' was born. All 'Stray' opperaters get associated with a nickname and poor matt's life as a driver has been ruined before it even begun. Its a ritual too that all new drivers have to swing the flying fox naked. Taking advantage of fairy's drinking to acheive some dutch courage (which by the way comes from during the bubonic plague of London (1665), the city was sealed off to avoid contamination. This meant no food was permitted in. The only people willing to trade with London were the Dutch, who left food on jetties and then would take the money left there. They
used to steel their nerves with liquor before landing on the plague-infested shores, hence "Dutch courage." To this day, the Dutch still have the freedom of the river Thames, which was granted as a reward for their courage and kindness) I offered him a challenge, Table football. If he scored one goal against me, I would do a naked lap of the table and if I won ten - nil he would do the same. Poor guy had no idea what he was in for and promptly lost 10-0....
All of us very worse for wear, next day we headed on and arrived at the Wiatomo caves about lunch time. This event was fantastic, really awesome but I strongly reccommend that its never done on a hangover! There aren't many places to go to the loo when your 80m underground either! We did all participate in a moment that I had been waiting for for a long time though. If you've ever seen "My best friends wedding" you'll be familliar with the resturant scene where the families randomly burst into spontaneous verse singing "say a little prayer for you". Well, about 60 meters down in the caves
U find some wierd things in these caves!
and tunnells we had our headlamps off and could make out the glow worms in the blackness. Which by the way are only called that for tourist reasons, they are infact canabalistic, feaces glowing, maggots. Anyway, Karina at this point in the blackness said to the group "close your eyes" and simultaeneously me and john piped up "and give me your hand, darling" two more started "do u feel my heart beating, do you understand..." By now the entire group had joined in and in the murkey, damp, twisting dark and rather uncomfortable surroundings, we all gave the cave a sponteaneous rendition of "eternal flame". Even the three guides were reaching the high notes of the chorus, priceless.
That night we spent in Marae. See the next and cultural blog for that bit. Moving onto Rotorua, I left the bus. I needed a few days R&R and was also hoping off here to go on the other 'stray' trip going east to do some shark diving. In Rotorua there were mixed fortunes. One hungover morning I became aware of a certain smell. Now Rotorua stinks, really. The Earths crust is only meters thick in some places there and
The Haggas Honking Holes
there are lots of geysers, hot pools and a hell of a lot of smelling sulpher everywhere. I mean, this place reaks. But above the small of the sulphur I could detect something else, something very familiar that was in my blood and made me feel like i was at home. Following my nose through the stinking streets I wandered intently into a cafe and right to the bottom shelf of its fridge. There, right in front of my dissbelieveing eyes, I saw them.... 5 cans of IRN BRU! The only hangover cure in the world and so welcomed that I had no option but to declare my love to everyone in the street that I then walked past. Funnily enough quite a few ladies declared it right back, and unfunnily enough i had to run very fast from some local Moaris who didnt quite share the sentiment or understand the reasoning. Now it seemes that Rotorua would make me pay for this pleasure as I still smell of sulphur. John and Liz also stayed in Rotorua and the three of us went to visit 'hells gate' where its like your walking on the surface of a distance and dead
A gift from the Heavans. Thank you Rotorua!
world. We all bathed in the mud pools too. Dont ever do this if you dont want to be smelling sulphur on you and in you clothes weeks after. Thankfully now my skin has retuned to normal, but washing my towel and trunks with everything else was fatal. I must have done 7/8 washes since and I can still smell it all. So, stinking, I left on the 'go east' section.
This trip was a little less organised but still a good crack. We stayed in some amazing places before getting to Gisbourne where I crashed with Ally Dykes again. Had to wait 4/5 days to go shark cage diving but the day came and i headed off, new underwater digital camera in hand. 8 miles out to sea, cage in the water, large dead fish and fish oil out to entice the sharks, I wet suited up, ready for what I could only imagine as Jaws himself. And waited. And waited... Have you ever spent 8 hours in the baking sun, in a wetsuit, fishing? I dont reccommend it. Not one. Not one ruddy shark. Caught dinner and a few interesting fish. Boyd (the opperator) caught
Tarakihi catch. Also caught a 5ft Conger eal!
a Tope ( a wee school shark) and the video footage of it is on my facebook as youtube wouldn't post it for some reason. Rather an expensive fishing trip that became, but I shall return in the new year and try again (sorry Mum).
I had hoped to leave the shark dive (satisfied), visit the white island volcanoe, do some other adrenaline based activities that I wont let you read about just yet mum, do some fishing in Taupo and even go hunting deer and pig before moving onto Queenstown. Then I got the email. A job offer and interview back in that lovely place, Dorkland (Auckland). Now I cant actually talk about the interview as i'm signed to confidentiallity but I have come back for it. Everything has now changed and I'm thinking about going back to Paihia for Christmas and New Year as it'll be too late on to get settled and in with a crowd in QT when, if i'm successful with the job, i'll need to be back in Auckland for the 9th. As soon as I can Talk about the job, i'll share it with you all, just cross your fingers
Tolaga Bay Pier
Undershot of the 600m pier
and wish for me. In the mean time, I'm going to get my clothes out of the dryier and pray that the smell is dimminishing.
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