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Published: December 4th 2016
Take my word for it - tried about 10 shots - all steam. Needed to do those quick succession shots to get a good one. Didn't think of it at the time.
Tues. Nov 29
Up early for breakfast and to see if anyone cancelled for the morning trip to White Island Volcano - nope. So we shopped in town (bought 2 tees). Back at 11 and yes there will be a trip for the afternoon and we are on it. Grabbed lunch and a coffee to go and went to wait for the boat. About 50 got off from the morning and 23 of us for the afternoon. Sat on the top covered deck and my seat choice had me soaking wet as soon as we left the harbour and hit some chopping waves. Moved under the canopy and swayed back and forth grabbing the bench sides to stay upright. After about an hour of moving I started to just concentrate on the horizon and planned where I would be sitting on the way back. Another half hour and we used a zodiac to get onto the volcano island. We wore hard hats and had gas masks. The mask was only necessary for me whenever I was actually downwind of the blowing sulfuric steam. Ross wore his continually. Hot 5 foot tall chimneys were blowing out yellow and white steam. Ground
was hot near any thermal mounds. Some small open craters had bubbling mud gurgling in them. Really impressive standing on the rim and hearing and seeing the steam emerging from several blowholes and off little ponds (hot spa anyone?) and the main furnace outlet. Mesmerizing. We were told if an eruption should occur to get behind something bigger than us - Ross just laughed as he stood behind me. Saw where an old sulphur factory had been run there for 10 years. Not viable. One tree grows there- about 2 feet tall because it is wedged into the old factory walls. We had a very good viewing day as it usually is not clear as the steam fills up the whole crater area. The wind was blowing in the right direction for us while we were there. Not so great though for our return. I sat inside by the back center door facing forwards. Hard to keep an eye on the horizon as we were keeling over port then starboard with the waves. Four upchuckers onboard kept the cabin crew busy. Back on land at 6:30 pm. Drove to Opotiki. Ignored one tiny motel and headed for another with a
better looking sign. But, lo and behold, 2 police cars with lights flashing and a paddy wagon questioning some rather large, aggressive motorcyclists (about 12 standing in a group) made us do a u-turn for the nice tiny motel. This room even had a big jacuzzi tub!
Wed. Nov. 30
It took us 3 tries to find the "Two Fish" cafe on the main street. It was worth it. Good cappuccino and Ross' French toast was huge and came with a grilled banana smothered in syrup. Drove through the mountains to Napier and arrived there about 4 pm. Went to i-site (tourist info center) and arranged for a B&B for the night. Gorgeous setting high on a hill overlooking the harbour. Our room came with a sitting room and tea, and coffee supplies. Went out to a Thai restaurant and while eating there was a deluge outside. Cleaned our car. New Zealand must take great pride for their highways; although narrow and super winding, construction crews are always sealing the tar, so lots of dust and gravel.
Thur. Dec 1
Breakfast was slow as we had a long chat with Peter and Lesley about
travel, kids and house renos. Nice couple. Parked near downtown and walked around admiring all the art deco buildings. Then left and drove to Taupo Lake area for a good lunch. I had the BLAT (avocado) and Ross had chicken tacos. Off again and drove to Whangarei. Got there at 8 pm and chose a cabin at a campground area. Good choice.
Fri. Dec 2
Breakfast at the Fat Camel where I had a marvellous cappuccino. Food was interesting and Israeli. Got another cappuccino to go. Off to find the Abbey Glow worm caves but found a lookout instead. Good panorama. Found the trail to the caves but I was caught short - needed WC immediately and after reading the warning signs realized we were not prepared ... no flashlight and slippery sandals. Will return another day. Careened down the hillside to the closest WC. We leisurely drove back to Coopers Beach for groceries and then Tokerau. Unpack and laundry.
Sat Dec 3
Slow morning, market in Kaitaia, long beach walk, more shells, lazy day.
Sun Dec. 4
slow lazy morning ... painted some shells ... neighbour brought over some fish ... wrote this.
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