In case you missed the first several posts of our journey north:
...Baby G woke up with the sun to try and get some good pictures of a Bay of Islands sunrise...
There were about 5 people who woke up to share the quiet morning, have some coffee and enjoy the view. However, within 45 minutes or so, we spotted dolphins, and our Skipper rang the ship's bell to gather any and all who wanted to get an up close look. -Our cups of steaming coffee came with...
It was wonderful that this was included with the cruise, as a lot of other tours in the Bay of Islands charge upwards of $100 or so, to watch the dolphins from 100 feet or so away. We lucked out.
When we got back aboard The Rock, we had some breakfast, and then geared up for some swimming, snorkeling, and mussel diving. -Yes, we ate, THEN swam, and did not get sick, despite what our mothers told us all these years.
Baby G had some difficulty with the snorkeling, and drank too much saltwater. This worked out well though, since she could capture it all on film.
Diz managed to snag Baby G a shell from the sea floor, and caught a mussel for her too. Awww...
At that point, everyone was ready to hit the beach, so The Rock sped over to a fairly deserted beach for lunch, more kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, cove exploring, and beach combing. We spent a great few hours enjoying the scenery and feeling as though we were on the set from a "Lost" episode.
All too soon it was time to pack up and head back to our boat, and begin the journey back to our port. Diz was able to play some more guitar, and we sat back and enjoyed the sun and new friends we made. We also ate the mussels that were caught. They were...yummy?
We made it back to land safely, and said goodbye to what had been our home. We hope to try and go back to do this overnight cruise again, as we clearly loved our time spent on it.
So, we were back on land and had our next destination in mind: Cape Reinga. We jumped in our sputtering Toyota, and headed North on State Highway 1. We had found online, a campground run by the DOC (New Zealand's Department of Conservation), where we could set up our tent inexpensively, and was 500 meters from Rarawa Beach. Not too far from our destination, it was the perfect, quiet location we needed. We walked down to the beach at sunset and to wade in the Pacific Ocean. The sand felt like finely sifted flour under our feet, and the sand dunes reminded us both of Michigan.
...to be continued...