Dolphin smiles and hokey pokey icecream...take 2!!

Trip Start Feb 12, 2011
Trip End Jul 09, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ok so I left you with arriving into the sea side village of Paihia - did i mention it is stunning?????!!!!!!

Saturday morning we crept out of the hostel super early and made for the little wharf, a queue of sleepy people slowly formed and then in glided our boat, a bright yellow large speed boat with ladders off the back...

Yes this was my 21st birthday present off steve finally coming into action - he had promised me one day we would swim with dolphins and here we were!!!

Running out to the front of the deck, we looked on as the boat sped to other islands, picked people up before heading out through the waters of the bay. The crew warned us it can take hours to find dolphins as although there are hundreds in the bay, there are 144 islands and they could be anywhere!!! But before long i squeeled, there riding the bow of the boat was a little dolpin face and fin, diving in and out of the water!!! they were so real! and so there! before long a whole pod of them was around us, dipping, jumping, diving, playing with their food. i couldn't believe my eyes!!! a few people chose to jump off the boat then, we decided we would wait for the clearer ocean waters (there had been a huge storm a few days before which had churned up a lot of sand, making the water in the part of the bay we were in not great for visability under water and you could see so much from the boat!).

After leaving that pod of dolphins behind we searched for more just out of the mouth of the bay, and again we were so lucky, before long of speeding through the waters (incredible in itself!) we found they were again riding the waves pushed in front of the boat.  This time we chose to jump in, flippered and snorkled up, we rolled off the boat and into the ocean.  Wow, this place is BIG, the ground was a LONG way beneath us and the swell was huge, we were urged to swim swim swim and be interesting, think of them like puppies they said, be excited and they will come to see what you are excited about and get excited too!!!! they joined us in the water playing below us - i cant believe I shared the water with them.  Before long I asked to be hauled back onto the boat, the depth of the ocean, no idea what was underneath and the swell was pretty overwhelming, but nothing could take away from what we had just been able to do.

A little while later we headed towards a bay of one of the islands, they asked who had booked the combo deal - steve put his hand up, i was like really???! they took us aside, explained that we could explore the island and there were kayaks for our use, in about an hour and a half a crew would pull up, cook us a BBQ lunch, before we went SAILING!!!!!! we were so excited, a quick look around the island before we pulled kayaks into the water and paddled all around the bay and the minature wharf, we raced and relaxed, it was perfect..  and what a lunch they cooked for us, all the meats and salads imaginable before we were collected by a high speed boat - ridiculously fast - absolutely amazing!!! and taken to the 80foot sail boat.  The crew were fantastic, the boat has been used in round the world races, we learnt all about it, how it was built, we pitched in to help sail and when we wanted to we could take the wheel! the crew have been on huge sailing expeditions on it and were weathered and wonderful men. we spent alot of the trip on 45degree angles (washing the decks for us they laughed!) and relaxed under the sun and sails! i love sailing, it was a wonderful afternoon.

After being dropped back we showered, ate before grabbing a couple of cans and headed out in the dark to the middle of the village green where we lay down and saw the stars of the southern hemisphere.  There was a huge band of them across the middle - "pip" steve said..." we are looking at the milkyway...."

a perfect end to a perfect day.

Sunday was our only day in Paihia not planned so we decided to go exploring.  Grabbing the free bikes offered by the hostel and a quick bit travel info from our host man we set off with food and water in our packs.  We had decided we wanted to see the nearby waterfalls...we peddled and peddled on bikes that creaked and moaned, it was wonderful!!! the bay of sparkling sea and islands to our right and hilly regions to our left, you just cant make this stuff up!!! we headed into the hills, a slight challenge riding in flip flops and hard work when the road turns to gravel tracks, but we wound up the hills climbing to the top of the range before dropping down into the waterfall region. A beautiful horseshoe shape falls - like a smaller Niagara falls it was described to us.  We nibbled lunch and drank water while taking in the views, and meeting a few travellers - everyones so friendly here! Before we headed back...a long way...we think we did about 16/18km, on BIG hills, what a work out!!! did i mention that i had gone running along the sea front that morning?? haha the calves were burning! slightly exhausted when we got back we spent the afternoon chilling out of the crazy hot heat with really cool people in our hostel, we had been exposed all day the day before, all morning and knew we would be on the british skin needed a rest!!! a BBQ and lazying around made a lovely lovely end to the weekend.

So good to be hearing from you all, i love getting your emails and messages and will try and reply as soon as I can,
Lots of love to everyone,
P xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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