Artist meets crapper

Trip Start Jul 02, 2009
Trip End Jun 28, 2010

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Friday, November 20, 2009

I picked up the rental car on the Friday morning and drove north up to Ngunguru where Caroline and Tony were renting a house on the coast, having just emigrated to New Zealand a couple of months before.  Tony and I used to work together and he has set up a company which sells physicochemical data (specifically acid/base disssociation constants).  In one pic Caroline surveys the scene from their front lawn while Tony and I re-enact a bizarre ritual from our past lives in Big Pharma.

Tony had been in touch with the folk back at work who'd not shared our good fortune in escaping, including Ray who is a hard core diver.  Ray had mentioned to Tony that Ngunguru is very close to the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve which is one of the world's top dive locations and Tony passed on the information.  Despite never having heard of the Poor Knights, I made the five minute drive to Dive Tutukaka and was soon booked onto the dive boat for the following day.

The water was not warm and I'd been issued with a two piece wetsuit which the fastidious New Zealanders asked me not to urinate in.   I always struggle a bit with two piece wetsuits because my torso is relatively long for my height.  I fastened the 'tail' of the jacket and got the distinct impression that my right testicle had ascended to whence it had origianlly come.  There was a slight reverse squeeze on the first dive and my calf cramped up up on the second one but minor glitches like these weren't going to spoil the fun.  There were some nudibranches on the first dive and getting close to these reminded me of why I wear reading glasses (the refractive index of water just exacerbates the problem).  The second dive was at the Blue Maomao Arch which has been admired by Jacques Cousteau himself.

It had been a fun day diving and I headed back to Caroline and Tony's.  We went for dinner at the restaurant next to the dive shop and made a photo-stop en route.

The next day started with breakfast on the lawn and a competition from fearless seagulls which I feared that we might lose. Then it was off to the Bay of Islands with an obligatory stop at Kawakawa to view the public toilets designed by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. These days Russell is a sleepy tourist trap and home to New Zealand's oldest church but in days gone by it was a real party town.






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