Today I had an exciting day planned – bit I was a bit concerned that the weather would not be on my side. I started my morning by going just down the road to Captain Cook’s Landing site.
Then I headed to Hot Water Beach – this fascinating area where you dig a hot pool – on the beach – but only within about an hour of low tide. I got to the area early – went to the cafe to rent my shovel, then I headed out to the beach.
It was some seriously fantastic (airport and people of Walmart caliber) people watching, as well as just a cool experience – although – I could have done without the folks who just decided they should strip down on the beach – I don’t get it!
It was a great way to start my day – but it looked as though the weather was not going to be on my side to get to Cathedral Cove – I was worried about walking down and getting caught in the storm, and most of the boat tours were cancelling left and right, and seeing as it was the off season – options were limited.
Realizing that Cathedral Cove might not happen, I moved on and went to check out Shakespeare’s Cliff (because Captain Cook did name everything he saw after something in England you know). This gave me great views of Cooke’s Beach and the scenery around me.
I still had tons of day to kill, so I decided to take the (very short) ferry across to Whitianga.
I walked around a bit, and decided I should probably grab a late lunch, as it was past 2:00. I settled into a little cafe, and ordered a grilled chicken pasta dish – then as I was at the table waiting, my phone rang – it was a tour guide operator, that heard I wanted to get on a tour (this is such a kiwi thing) – and he had a boat that had just left, but if I was interested would come back and get me to join the tour, if I could get there fast – I mean – guys – who does that?
So, I quickly found the server, and was just going to tell her I was leaving because something came up – and y’all – she tried to give me a refund – also – who does that? I refused to let her pay me – but she wasn’t going to let me leave without my order, so they packaged it really quick, and I ran across to the wharf to catch the boat – with my to go pasta in hand. It stayed sealed and amazingly enough dry on the seat during the amazing boat tour, and I enjoyed it even more after – as a lunch/dinner.
The boat tour was windy, cold and wet – but spectacular!
We toured the coastal features of Cook’s Bay, Mercury Bay and the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve – which is chock full of amazing coastal formations thanks to the constant movement of the Mighty South Pacific Ocean. We even had a pod of dolphins swim right beside our boat – truly an amazing experience. The captain was entertaining and shared history, amazing stories and humor with us, and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip – frequently forgetting about the cold rain and wind. We even got to go inside a blowhole cavern and a cave!
I took a ton of pictures, and even some video. I compiled the videos into a YouTube video, which you can see here – it includes the blowhole, the dolphins and the cave.
The cave was slightly terrifying getting out, because the sea swell came in pretty rapidly – a good reminder that the ocean, while beautiful, is not to be taken for granted.
The pictures from the boat tour show Cathedral Cove, Champagne Rock, the fish, and the rugged beautiful coastline – and as has been a regular occurrence for me here – a rainbow or two.
I went back home to my Air BnB, where I warmed up by the fire, and enjoyed a movie, laughs and great conversations with my Air BnB hosts!
It was not the day I had planned initially, but it was spectacular!