“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Northland trip

Over Easter, I had Friday and Monday off work. We had great weather for our trip up to the area known as Northland or Bay of Islands. Gorgeous, stunning vistas and remote, quiet beaches are littered everywhere up there. Our base was Paihia, which reminded us of Avalon, Catalina (California) and Anacortes Is. (Washington). We were there for 3 days, intending to dive Sat. and Sun. Instead, we only dove one day, because the sole dive operator was closed on Sunday. Why then, did the employee let us make a reservation to dive that day? And then not call us to tell us plans had changed? Our main goal of diving up there was to dive on the Rainbow Warrior, the Greenpeace boat sunk by the French, which means we'll have to go back. Sigh. Well, as soon as I saw the boat we were to dive from, I was glad we were only going one day! No toilet on board was my biggest concern. Diving makes you need to pee, and it's important to stay hydrated while diving, so it was a legitimate concern. Conditions were optimal, and with only 3 other guys on the boat, very friendly and experienced, we went to one of the advanced sites, Bird Rock (hey, just like the one off Catalina!). Lots of nice fish, a huge stingray, and Darin caught a legal sized lobster (they are called crayfish here). Our next dive site, after lunch on a small, remote beach (where we watered the bushes), was a lovely huge cave full of fish. I found a cusk eel in there, and Darin found a giant salp. Darin also found a nice big octopus, who posed for photos.

Our non-diving Sunday was spent touring around the area. We visited Kerikeri, hiked to the falls, checked out the destroyer ship that's going to be sunk as a dive site, and had a late lunch in Russell at the first hotel in New Zealand, the Duke of Marlborough. Did I mention how beautiful it is?
Sorry, now it's way past my bedtime, so the bit about the cave and the washouts will have to wait until next post.