A Quest to Complete the Polynesian Triangle

Trip Start Nov 10, 2013
Trip End Apr 02, 2014

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Saturday, November 16, 2013

On Sunday November 10, 2013, I stepped aboard a set of Air New Zealand flights operated by Air Canada with Auckland, New Zealand as my destination.  This trip to New Zealand will (hopefully) prove to be the longest, most extensive travel adventure that I have taken to date, which is saying something.

As those of you who were in southern Alberta on that day in November know, it was less than pleasant (except for me, because it was kind of nice knowing that I was about to escape the -10C, snowy, blustery weather).  After a few emotional goodbyes, I hoped on a quick flight from YYC (Calgary International Airport) to YVR (Vancouver International), and then after a short one hour layover, I was enroute to AKL (Auckland International Airport).  

Well, this flight was anything but short.  At just shy of 13.5 hours in the air, it was the longest flight I had ever been on (the long section to Norway was about 8 hrs; the big stretch to Chile was 9.5 hrs).  I no longer am able to sleep on airplanes, so I tossed and turned; watched a couple movies; tossed and turned some more; dozed frequently for periods less than a half hour; and paced the aisle way like an animal in the zoo wanders around its confined cage.

After having traveled nearly 11,500 km, I arrived in AKL at 05:45 on November 12.  Yes, that's right!  I completely lost a day!  By crossing the International Date Line, I ended up never getting to experience Nov-11-2013 (though I did take a moment to think about Remembrance Day while on the airplane).  So yes, I lost a day.  My dear mother later said that it was okay, because on the flight home I will get to relive the same day twice... I just hope it's not quite like Groundhog Day...

Anyways, I was met by my brothers, Kevin, Kris and Michael in the airport and we quickly collected our rental car.  Unable to check into the hotel I had booked until later that day, we quickly found a nearby park and the boys went for a walk while I took a much-needed 4 hour sleep in the car.  After checking into the hotel I quickly returned to bed at 20:00 and slept straight until 09:00 the next day!  Having slept for 13-odd hours straight I can say that I feel I managed to beat back Jet Lag in fashion.  From there, I felt ready to take on the country of New Zealand.

So why New Zealand?  Well, as kids, the bros and I had always talked about taking a trip together - just the four of us...  And it just so happened that the stars aligned themselves and the four of us were able to coordinate things to take this trip at the same time.

On top of that, I have, over the course of my travels, learned of, and becoming exceedingly fascinated with Polynesian culture and the Polynesian Triangle.  This triangle, which consists of the three distinct corners - Hawai'i, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and Aotearoa (New Zealand) - as well as all of the islands of the South Pacific that reside within this imaginary triangle.  So I have taken it upon myself to try and visit and experience as many of these different islands as possible.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that summer time in New Zealand is winter time in Canada (and as I'm sure you all know by now... Jack Frost and I don't get along too well).

So with all of these things in mind, I began to plan an extensive trip to the other side of the world.  And by extensive, I mean just that.  A trip that extends beyond the typical 3-month travel visa granted to visitors of New Zealand.  I applied for, and was granted a working-holiday visa (valid for 12 months from the day I first step foot in the country).  So my tentative travel plans look something like this:

5 Weeks with the Robinson Brothers working our way from the North Island to the bottom of the South Island (and Steward Island, too).

2 Weeks with the Brothers and Ed/Wanda exploring the South Island

12 Weeks with Mariajose working as necessary to fund my travels, while we make our way from the South Island back to the North Island, with hopefully a few trips out into the South Pacific thrown in for good measure (Fiji for sure; maybe the Cook Islands, too!).

But enough of my dreaming... I'd best get to dreaming, because it is currently 00:27 on Sunday Nov-17, and the brother have planned a hike along the flanks of Mt. Taranaki tomorrow, err... today.  So stay tuned for another blog entry about what all we've been up to as of late (coming soon)!

Ciao for now,

Keith B. Robinson
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