A Free Trip...Paid for with James' Blood

Trip Start Nov 20, 2010
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, April 10, 2011

We drove to Tutukaka bright and early and went to Dive!Tutukaka to book dives for the next day. The company also puts on what they call Perfect Day cruises and while we were in there talking about booking our dives they were also on the phone trying to get a hold of a group that had booked seats on that day's cruise. Completely out of the ordinary for us, but LUCKY us they let us go on the cruise because they were unable to get a hold of the group...and all for free! We just happened to be at the perfect place at THE perfect time!! They usually have a minimum passenger number of 6 I believe (on a boat that holds like 50 or 60 passengers or something like that) and they only had five that showed up so since the boat was already going, the lunches were made and they didn't even quite have the minimum we were welcomed aboard.

So they passed us a panflet, we ran to our van, grabbed a bunch of stuff we thought we may need (not really knowing what the cruise exactly was) and ran to the boat. We also made plans to just book our dives when we got back since the boat was pretty much ready to take off.

Having so few passengers was also a great thing as there were only now 7 passengers and 3 great crew members, who pretty much had the day off and got to have some fun themselves. It was cool to go on a trip where it felt you were all just hanging out for the day!

The trip took us out to the Poor Knights Islands, where we would be diving the next day, and we basically just anchored up at different spots around the islands and then could either snorkel, swim around, kayak or paddle board around.

At the first spot the captain pointed out a spot in the cliff where if you dove down a bit there was a cave you could swim into and then come up into a small air pocket at the top. James and I decided we would check that out first and then snorkel along the rest of the rock after. Well being in wetsuits we were quite a bit more bouyant and couldn't stay down to get into the cave so they got some weights for us to help us along. One of the crew members also came over to help us out. James went first and disappeared into the cave and then the crew member helped me a little into the cave as I tried coming up a little too early and got a bit caught underwater at the entry because I hadn't swam in far enough and ended up scraping along the rock all into the small cave. When we came up though James asked if we hit our head on the rock. I had said yeah a bit but then saw him in the bit of light that was in the cave and noticed the blood pouring down his face!! Apparently James had held his hand above him coming up (like the boat captain told us to because of rocks in the cave) but had not held it directly over his head and come up exactly where a jagged rock was sticking out of the side of the cave....oops. Well the crew member with us and I were just happy that James wasn't dizzy or anything and decided we needed to leave ASAP.

As we made the short swim back to the boat we called to the other two crew members that we had a bit of an emergency and after their initial reaction of shock they burst into laughter...not being able to hold it back simply because the three of us in the water were cracking jokes and laughing ourselves. I just left James in the capable hands of the crew and they did a fine job of wrapping James` head up mummy style. After they were done with him he jumped in a Kayak and when I came up from snorkelling and spotted him I first thought it was some old man with white hair and a beard in the kayak beacause of the bandaging but when I realized it was James I burst into laughter once more.

Too bad for James he missed out on the snorkelling because there are masses of fish around the Poor Knights Islands and all sorts of coral and other cool things under the water. The crew told us some history about the islands, took us into the world`s largest sea cave, under some arches and all in all (besides James` head) it was an awesome day!

When we got back I signed up to finish my Advanced Course for diving, that was cut short in Indonesia when I had gotten sick, and then we headed to the main city in Northland (just a short drive away) so we could get James checked out at the Hospital.

At the hospital we were very pleasantly surprised to learn that some type of tourist insurance in New Zealand covered the hospital visit so we didn`t have to worry our parents about another claim. When we got in to see the doctor she scrubbed James head clean of the blood and he said it was one of the most painful experiences ever...she really dug in there! Her first weapon of choice, she said, would be staples but after hearing James` weary ``oh?`` to this she said she could try glue and hopefully it would stick. The staples also would have required us having to make another trip to a hospital to have to remove them and she knew this would be a bit of an inconvenience to us. Thankfully the glue worked and we were on our way out of the hospital in no time.

We made our way back towards Tutukaka and just stopped at a rest area on the way. While we were cooking up supper a cop car pulled up and we thought we were getting a fine for parking there but it turned out the cop stopped to check in the river because he was looking for something or someone...we didn`t quite get what it was he was looking for. This of course though made us nervous and after the cop left we quickly finished up making our supper, packed our stuff into the vehicle and locked all our doors and refused to get out again...we were a little on edge.
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