Greetings from the Bay of Islands! After 3 weeks working at the Healing Retreat, I hitchhiked East and headed North to the bay side town of Paihia which is the gate way to The Bay of Islands and more adventures out to sea and gateway to the Northern Tip of New Zealand...
Its funny, I came to know that when the Dutch sailor Abel Tasman discovered and settled in New Zealand, he called it 'New Zealand' because it was derived from the old dutch term for 'New Netherlands' .....'New Zeeland' a south-western province of Holland....
Hitching a ride in the Northland...
Welcome to Paihia and The Bay of Islands! This is the spot for spending summer and as you can see the weather and views of the Islands were stunning - think I was going to enjoy spending a couple of weeks of summer here...:)
The Cream Trip
In 1927, a New Zealand chap named Albert Fuller began a sailing route through the Bay of Islands, delivering cream and other provisions to the island inhabitants who were unable to get to the mainland to acquire such items. All these years later, the cream trip is still in operation, taking tourists like me on that very same route visiting 14 of the many 150 islands that had been discovered by Captain Cook (you know he met his untimely end by being actually eaten by cannibals on the Island of Hawaii....yikes!)
The map of our day voyage at sea...
Searching for dolphins under the hot New Zealand sun....
There they are....the Bottle Nose Dolphins!
The bottle nose is different to the common dolphin I saw out in the Hauraki Gulf at Auckland, they weigh up to 650 kg and can grow up to over 3 metres in length and there are an excess of over one million of them swimming around in the oceans - not exactly shy fellas....
The plan was to jump in the water and swim with them but the pod had a little bambino swimming with them so it was no go....still was really cool to see them so close up.
This young one was more than happy enough to show off his catch....
They say if a drop of water from the ceiling of the hole drops on you as you are passing through, you will be blessed with good luck :)
But no drop for me that day....oh well..
Right through the hole wahooh!
View of the Bay on top of the lookout at Otehei Bay
Couldn't resist the shot of New Zealand sheep now...typical New Zealand..
Now that's a model sheep....bahhh
As we couldn't go into the water with the dolphins, to round up our trip for the day, the Fullers crew let us try 'boom netting' which was a net laid in the water on the side of the boat which you lay in. The captain then speeds the boat along and then reverses quickly which is like being in a washing machine which can get pretty dangerous. My shorts and bikini bottoms were not tight enough and I had to try and hold on to my shorts at the same time as holding on to the net as we sped along.....or I would end up either falling into the ocean or lose my shorts into the sea which would have been soooooooo embarassing!
Journey to the Top of New Zealand
Now being at the Bay of Islands is the gateway to visiting the Northern tip of New Zealand at Cape Reinga, where the souls of the Maori deceased jump off into the ocean to go back to their original homeland of Hawaiki.
Some snap shots of what I saw on the journey....
Some snap shots of what I saw on the journey....
On route we stopped off at a cluster of beautiful native Kauri trees to admire - the interesting things about them is when the branches fall off, they don't leave knots in the side of the bark, which made them ideal for making canoes out of in traditional times by the Maori people of the area.
Hugging 800 year old Kauri trees, protective native trees to the Northland of New Zealand
90 mile Beach - now thats a loonnng beach...
Sandboardin' at the Te Paki sand dunes....great fun
Up at Cape Reinga, the Northern tip of New Zealand looking out to where the Tasman Sea to the left and Pacific Ocean to the right meet. I don't know whether you can see a seperation line, but Maori's believe that there are no seas there, but currents coming and going and this is where the spirits of the deceased will descend off the cliff edge down the roots off a 800 year old Pohutukawa tree, looking back one more time to the land of the living and begin their journey home to the spiritual home set in a triangle somewhere out on the horizon, hence why triangles are sacred to Maori culture.
The rock formations and lakes dotted out on route to Cape Reinga are also of spiritual significance to the Maori people. The 'Lake of Tears' is said to be the tears of the mourning for their deceased loved ones, with Spirits Bay 'Piwhana' named after a Maori elder who began a journey to go and see his daughters but never completed the journey to them.
"I can shelter from the wind. But I cannot shelter from the longing for my daughter. I shall venture as far as Hokianga, and beyond. Your task (should I die) shall be to grasp my spirit." The words were spoken by Tōhē, a chief of the Ngāti Kahu people, who is considered one of Muriwhenua’s most important ancestors. Tōhē made his way south, naming more than one hundred places along the western coast, until dying at Whāngaiariki near Maunganui Bluff' so his spirit has been captured in the Bay for all eternity.
The Cape Reinga Lighthouse built in 1941, the landmark of the Northern tip of New Zealand - you know you've made it when you see it!
Finally made it! 18029 km away from London that way! Furthest away I've ever been from home so far...
And so...on that note I will leave you for now, my next blog will be following pretty much instantaneously about my next adventures getting more involved with the lives of the Maori's and the history of the all important 'Treaty of Waitangi' during my explorations up here in the Bay of Islands.
Until next time, goodbye for now!
Paihia, Bay of Islands,