Sorry for the title, but after almost a week of riding around in a campervan, I seem to have a steady stream of Camper Van Beethoven lyrics running through my head. Yesterday we went out for a cruise around the Bay of Islands, which, as Tom will soon tell you, will probably go down as one of the highlights of his life. It has been New Zealand’s coldest winter in 35 years, so what is my fearless husband’s response? “Sounds like a perfect time to swim with the dolphins.” Dax, McKane, and I were tempted to join in the arctic fun, but our body mass indexes simply wouldn’t allow it. A guy we met the day before told us jumping into the frigid Pacific was a “heartstopper,” but that it wasn’t so bad once you got going. We thought he was crazy.
Despite the cold, Tom was happy that our sleek and speedy yellow boat, which normally holds 120, carried only 10 (of which we were 6). When we got to the site where the swimming was to take place, there were other vessels plying the waters, but overall few swimmers crazy enough to brave the cold for a chance to join Flipper in his native habitat. (Actually the dolphins Tom buddied up to were Spot and Psycho, the latter perhaps being related to an ill-intentioned creature our Uncle Todd once encountered while surfing.)
I’ll let Tom share his impressions and video with you in the next post. The most bizarre part of the whole experience for us as spectators were the demon seagulls that dive bombed him from above. I guess when he plummeted to the bottom they thought he was after their food.
The dolphins are the dark shadow just above Tom’s head on the second picture. He’s filming them with his nifty little water camera.
Though it was chilly, like most New Zealand scenery, the Bay of Islands did not disappoint. Our boat maneuvered around countless verdant islands which could have been sculpted from the machetes of the demigods of Maori legend. We slid through the Hole in the Rock, gazed at the Lady in the Rock, and peered into caves fit for Johnny Depp and his cohorts, but our greatest surprise came when we rounded the bend and ran into these characters. They’re a gang of teenager ne’er-do-wells relegated to hanging by themselves until they mature sufficiently to win wives.
Another epic day in our nascent adventure!