144 islands, 45 dolphins & 1 very sea-sick Hayley

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 18, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , Northland,
Friday, September 10, 2010

Today is my nephews birthday so... Happy Birthday Sam!! We hope you have a great day.

We were up very early this morning as we had our boat trip at 8:30. So, very tired and still with sore feet from our mammoth walk the day before, we packed ourselves up and headed to the harbour. We got on our boat and headed over to the town of Russell to pick up some more passengers. Tom and I decided to stand at the front of the boat where we could get the best views and feel the sea-air through our hair... and boy did we feel it, the boat was extremely fast and we were clinging on for dear life! Once we had all the passengers and had our safety talk, which consisted of "don't fall in the water and if you suffer from sea-sickness don't throw up on the carpet" we headed out into the bay. There are 144 islands in the bay, most of them are tiny and are uninhabited, but some of them are huge and have the most beautiful secluded beaches we have ever seen. One even had a lovely beach house with its own jetty, summer house, beach, boat and unbelievably it even had a house for the caretaker which lived on the island and who takes care of the house while the owners are away. We were told that the caretaker was called Barry and we even saw him tidying the garden as we sailed by in the glorious sunshine and he gave us a wave. The owner couldn't get planning permisson for a boat jetty, but his neighbour could, so agreed with the neighbour to pay for a jetty to be built on his land that they could both use and he dug a tunnel between the two properties. Nice job if you can get it!
After about half an hour the captain told us that there had been a sighting of some marine life in the last half and hour and we were told to keep our eyes open and let the crew know if we saw anything on the water. A few moments later the lady next to us started waving her arms in the air and pointing to something further out in the bay. All we could see was a group of seagulls circling low above the water and some small waves. The boat quickly turned around and took us over and, to our utter amazement, we were met by a huge family (pod) of about 45 dolphins!! It was completely incredible! In all the photos we had seen there had only been about 4-5 dolphins and so we were shocked to see so many. The dolphins came right up to the boat and swam all around us. Because we had decided to go out on one of the smaller boats we were very close to them, it felt like we could have reached right out and touched them. At the front of the boat was a small platform which went out above the sea. People were getting very excited about the dolphins and before I knew what was happening, one of the crew took me and another passenger out to the platform and told us to lie on our bellys with our heads dangling above the water. A bit confused and muddled up, I did what he told me and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life! My head was about 3 feet away from the water and right in front of my eyes were 6 dolphins playing about and diving in and out of the sea. I could not believe what I was seeing!! The guy next to me on the platform was equally as surprised and we were pointing and laughing and repeatedly looking at each other saying "oh my god, this is amazing!!". After a few minutes I (reluctantly) got off the platform and Tom had a go. But as Tom got on the platform the dolphins went away!! So the captain turned the boat around and he got to have another go, and stayed on there until someone asked him "can I have a go now?". Seeing so many wild dolphins in their natural environment was incredible and the captain kept on telling us what lucky people we were to see them like this. Looking around the boat quite a few people were shedding a tear or two (myself included) and everyone seemed so happy and overwhelmed. Unfortunately we couldn't get in the water and swim with them because their was a baby in the pod and, under New Zealand law, you are not allowed to swim with baby dolphins. But we didn't mind at all, we felt so lucky to just have seem them.
After about 20 minutes the dolphins went off on their merry way and we headed back around the bay. We were told to keep our eyes open though in case we saw anything else. Which we did... a little bit too enthusiastically! I started throwing my arms around like a mad woman because I thought I'd seen something in the distance. I was hoping it would be a whale but was quite disappointed when the captain told me (on the speaker system so everyone could hear my embarressment) that it was just a rock. He did offer to stop the boat though so I could get a photo! Tom was watching the sea like a hawk and everytime the boat slowed down or they cut the engines, which we think they did just to wind us up, Tom was practically falling overboard trying to see what was happening. But unfortunatley we didn't see anything else on our trip. We then headed out into the open sea to the 'Hole in the Rock' and I got very sea-sick and had to go inside for a while. Just in time to save me from the inside of a sick-bag we went to our island stop-off for an hour. The island we stopped at was called Urupuccapucca and was beautiful! We went for a walk on the beach and I had a cup of tea to settle my stomach... I might be in New Zealand but I looked very British, drinking tea on the beach of a tropical island. The water was so clear you could see right to the bottom and I went for a little paddle before we got back on the boat. We then headed back to the mainland and said goodbye to the boat and goodbye to the Bay of Islands. We were heading back down to Auckland so we could see all the city-sights for the day. So off we went back to our campervan and (after a 4 hour drive) on to a nice campsite just outside the city in a town called Orewa.

P.S due to popular demand we took some photos of the pink sheep as we passed sheep world and will upload them when we get a chance, just to prove we weren't hallucinating.   
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rach on

that sounds amazing ! i was crying just reading it ! you have done so much and you,ve only been gone 2 weeks ,love to u both x keep safe and well xx

Caz & co on

omg!!!!! wot r u doin 2 me, am in tears and still find it very hard 2 believe that my lil sis is so far away!!!! seein all those dolphins must av been jus amazin, but did feel quite sorry 4 tom not gettin as close as u did hun!!!!
Readin ur entries r fab and for that 5 mins im readin i can picture it all in my head so clear!!!!!
love u both, keep avin fun xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

lisa xx on

OMG - u are having the experience of a life time, i can see you with the dolphins, i can imagine you having a fit .... ha ha u r soooo lucky... the weather here has been pretty crappy, so i might hitch a ride and join u out there, so don't be surprised if you walk around a corner and see me !!!! - i wish xxxx all the kids are fine - they are missing you loads as am I xxxx - have fun, keep us updated , its like a mini soap opera, eastenders and corrie have nothing on u 2 ! love u loads - ur big sis lisa xxxx

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