Tag Archives: beach

Day 8: New Years Eve (Morning)

It was morning in the camping shed in Motueka and I woke up from a great sleep in an actual bed. Things are looking up. As with the last few mornings it was time to find the largest body of water possible and jump in it to get clean. In this instance though there wasn’t really any located that close to where we stayed so we had to settle for using the nice hot showers instead. On one hand that does kind of takeaway from our adventuring ways but in another way it was a hot shower before a day out in weather that looked to be crap so it was probably the best idea we’ve had so far.

Our efficiency packing up our things and leaving has gotten better and better as the trip has gone on and we were that early leaving that we managed to get to Kaiteriteri in time to beat the morning rush. To be exact, we were that early that we were the morning rush! When we arrived the sea front contained us and… well… no one. Seems that if you get up a little too early for sleepy seaside towns you have to find a way to amuse yourself for a while.

After parking up and getting a breakfast of whatever was kicking about in the car at the time we headed to one of the Kayak rental places to find out what the info was on renting one for a bit. It turned out to be a really reasonable price for a few hours and even though our original plan was to go in the afternoon when the weather was better the guy at the stall convinced us to go a little later that morning. Apparently it is better to go while it is still a bit overcast rather than in the blazing sun and the guy seemed pretty confident so we went with his suggestion and mooched away to amuse ourselves for an hour before they were ready for the quick induction and to kick us out onto the water.

When it was time we headed back to the beach side 1451510843177 (1280x813)shack to get out safety briefing and grab our equipment. With everything we seem to attempt our start is usually a bit of a joke and gets better as we go along, this was no exception. The girl giving us the briefing then asks us to help her drag the kayak down to the shore to get us in it and on our way with Craig helping her at the front and me at the back. When we got to the sea Craig just kept walking as she did. The difference with that scene though is that the instructor was bare foot and Craig was still wearing socks and trainers, seemingly oblivious to the ridiculousness of the situation he was key to.

Moving swiftly on before to many questions were asked about damp footwear, we headed out to sea in our kayak, destination split apple rock. We had been it as a place to go from the start of our adventure and even just starting the paddle out we could see why. The entire of Kaiteriteri is beautiful, picture perfect, postcard style scenery. It is the type of place that gets people jealous when you post a photo there… which is exactly what we made sure to do as often as possible! It took a little while for us to get into the swing of things and get our paddling in tune but as soon as we did we were an unstoppable force. At one point we even had a race against a French couple in another boat and smashed them. There may have been a possibility that they were not aware we were actually racing but I think that detracts from our victory so we will just skim over that for now. We paddle around the rock pools and out into the open ocean towards our destination out on the horizon.

I feel I should let you all now that we had not actually done that much research into our destination, and by much I mean any. We were aware it was a rock that looks like its a bit apple split in 2 and we were also aware it was in the ocean near where we started but other than that our information was limited. This is where the handy map we were given when we set off came in handy… sort of. The map wasn’t exactly accurate and didn’t really have a scale on it which lead to our second mistake of the day. On the map there were 6 beaches that we had to pass before we would get to our destination and by our calculations we had been at it for about 20 mins and so far only passed one beach. As we looked out at the open water we realised that we had quite a way to go ahead of us before we would get to our DSC_2250 (1280x720)destination and since this was literally the only thing we had planned to do the whole trip it was time to get a move on. With the motivation that we needed to achieve our goal and a little team work we became an unstoppable paddling force, flowing through the waves like a majestic… thing that’s majestic… you get the idea! Minutes of silence passed as we concentrated on our stroke form and power to get to the point that currently looked like a dot in the distance. How anyone that is unfit manages to get out there and back in a few hours is completely beyond it.

It was at that point that we noticed the tour group that had left 20 mins before us in their kayaks pulling up onto a beach in a little cove back in land. Obviously the amateurs would not be able to make it all the way out like Craig and I would. Instead they had settled for stopping on a little beach by some caves and a massive sort of rock… that looked split.

“Craig…. How many rocks do you think there are out in the middle of the ocean in this exact area that look like the thing we are looking for?”
“Not sure but that cant be it as ours is miles away”
“…Are you certain because that kind of looks like a massive apple that is split in two?”
“We can check it out but I doubt it, we have miles to go yet!”

No prizes ladies and gentleman for guessing what we had stumbled across, not 25 mins from when we started. Only the exact place we were looking for. It turns out that the scale on the map is so bad that is classes the big beach that we had passed as multiple little beaches, split up where there were some rock formations. If we hadn’t spotted that tour group we would have probably ended up on some sort of missing persons list, surfacing somewhere on the north island a few weeks later!

Our next fail was bring the Kayak into shore. We were aware we needed to bring up our rudder before we hit the shallows and that we needed to power towards the beach which wasn’t an issue, the problem was that we forgot how quickly we needed to get out of the craft. And by we, I mean me. I was at the back of the kayak so when we hit the beach and slid up it all was well, for about 10 seconds. At that point the next wave came in, washed over my and soaked me. Yey for me being smart!

It was at this point, as we looked around at the other people on the secluded beach, that we realised that everyone had a picnic apart from us. Turns out the kayaks have a nice big hold in the middle where you can put things like a picnic, or your shoes, or a Frisbee…..Damn we have no Frisbee. All we did seem to have was mobile phone signal and a beautiful sight which lead to a couple of Skype calls home just to try and wind people up a bit. I think we succeeded which was at least one positive spin we could put on our failures so far, I mean apart from being in paradise of course!

Back on the kayak we realised that we had loads of time to spare so our mission now turned to trying toDSC_2252 (1280x720) get into as many of the little coves as we could and dodge all the rocks long the way. We got back to the start point with loads of time to spare so decided to try attacking the more precarious shallows to see we were as good as we though. I am sure all of you are now expecting me to say how we fell in but on the contrary, we become kayak masters! Drifting in and out of the shallow pools, moving with the waves, reversing and doing 3 point turns. We had it all. Craig and Dan were an unstoppable team. We even beat the French back to the beach too so that’s 2 wins under our belt!

It was now the part of our day that we had dreaded. Attempting to find accommodation in paradise, on New Years Eve with no prior booking. Fun times ahead…

I’ve decided to split the post here as I think I keep writing things that are far too long which is the reason I never seem to get anything published that often.

 

Another one bites the dust

20160517_222033It has gotten around to that time again when another of the Dunedin backpackers makes their move and heads off into the sunset. The time has come for Craig to finally depart and go travelling for a bit again to see a bit of what the world has to offer. As right now Craigis in Hawaii for a while living the dream, then New York then finally heading back to the UK with this chapter of New Zealand adventure over.

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Craigs Replacement 🙂

For a final fair-well we decided to head down to long beach and have a little fire in a cave. Even though it was freezing out it seemed like a good idea at the time so we bought a bag of kindling and drove down to the beach. After having a quick look about we lit a fire in the conveniently created fire pit and then chilled out listening to music.

As with last time we had a fire on a beach Craig wondered off to get some firewood and cam back dragging a tree, this time with added seaweed for extra flavour. We managed to actually get the fire going for quite a while and burnt most of the tree and some other bits of wood we found enough for a few hours.

20160517_222518Id like to say that we sat there and had deep conversations about the world, life and everything inbetween but instead we just sat there for a few hours and watched the fire burn again. To be honest thou that was a great way to spend the night and a decent way to see Craig off.

 

I’ll miss you buddy 🙂

 

P.s. Forgot to mention that we also had a glow in the dark Frisbee and it was AWESOME! As it turned out ht wind was far too windy to even attempt to play with it properly but it still made for some fun as it lit up the ground when you did nice low shots. At one point we did also think we had lost it too when I threw it and the wind got it and dragged it miles away into some bushes. Luckily for us finding a glow in the dark Frisbee at night tends to be an easier job than at daytime and it also happened to land exactly on a path so we got quite lucky. Cant wait to play with it again 🙂

(Craig) Allans beach

IMG_20160508_114038 (480x640)Whenever people ask me what I like about Dunedin it always comes back to the fact that there is still so much so see an explore all around the area. Every weekend I try and get out and see a new sight, maybe a beach or a walk somewhere but always somewhere new and the great thing is I still have hundreds left to do.

It has gotten to a point that we no longer even plan where we are going to go as there are just to many hikes to do. Now we just pick a direction and drive until we find something interesting.

On this occasion we hadn’t even really planed to go in the first place so it was super last minute, yet we seemed to end at yet another awesome beach, in this case Allans Beach. Before we got there we didnt even know it existed, we just picked a road and eventually ended up at a car park that then lead to the beach.

20160508_111337 (1280x960)We made our way onto the rocks at the far end of the beach and probably spent about 15 mins just watching the water flow in and out of a small inlet as the waves came in. The seaweed in the inlet became almost hypnotising as it swayed with the movement of the ocean in the light blue, clear water.

After a bit more rock climbing and a look into the crystal clear water Craig climbed up on top of a rocky outcrop and suddenly got the urge to jump. Being that he is due to go home in a few weeks and this beach shares a name with him it seemed the perfect time and place to do it.

20160508_105624 (1280x960)Stripping down to his boxers and shoes (we know how he likes to go in the sea with those!) he dove in, making a pretty awesome slowmo video. In fact he liked it so much he did it twice!

Take a look 🙂 https://goo.gl/photos/ntodZA2hN7TsfimaA

Another day another adventure.

 

Day 7: Sand Dunes

An air bed. Who would have thought that such a simple thing could bring so much pleasure to a grown man. Waking up in a tent and not feeling like a cripple is definitely the way to go and the way I will always camp in future if I have the option.

As had now become a tradition of the trip the first thing to do in the morning was to dive into the biggest body of water that we could find, which happened to be Golden Bay, right next to our camp site. With a little persuasion we managed to convince some of our new travel acquaintances to do it with us and live a little. The issue that we had today though wasn’t due to the temperature of the water, but rather the depth. The water in Golden bay was beautifully warm but that was due to the fact that it was only a few inches deep. The super shallow bay allowed the sun to warm the water really easily but didn’t do much for our plan of diving under for a wakeup. At first we thought we would just have to walk a little further out, but after about 200m we realised it wasn’t going to get muchDSC_2246 (1280x720) deeper so we all just had to dive in and lay down to get properly covered. As far as we are concerned this still counts towards our mission even if it felt more like a warm bath than a brutal wakeup.

After packing up and finally saying our goodbyes it was time to head up to the very top of the south island, our furthest point before starting our journey back down towards home of little old Dunedin. Our goal was to get to Wharariki beach at the top of the bay and chill out there for a while before making our way back down to Kaiteriteri where we wanted to go sea Kayaking.

The drive up the coast was scenic and beautiful and as always eventually lead us to a dirt track for us to drive along to get to our final destination. At the very end of the track was a packed car park and a little cafe that DSC_2244 (1280x720)seemed to be doing plenty of business on the warm summers day. Although we were apparently near the sea the carpark actually ended in a little grassy valley with signs showing that it was about a 20 min walk to get to the actual sea. We grabbed the essentials (Frisbee and water) and started making our way there over the hills. After about 10 mins we hit sand but still hadn’t yet seen the sea. Before us were huge dunes flowing as far as we could see. Luckily there was a signpost pointing us in the direction we needed to head to get to the main part of beach we were after so we followed the sign and stream of people down towards the water.

To say the sand was hot i
s an understatement. The white sand was somehow the temperature of fresh lava and made for an interesting walk. With each step the aim was to bury your feet as deep as possible to the cooler sand underneath to get away from the inferno on the surface. This actually made us move pretty quickly across the beach to get to the cooler sand at the waters edge where we could actually stand without getting 3rd degree burns.

Now was the time that I had been waiting for. The sun shining, the weather calm and a Frisbee to throw. DSC_2242 (1280x720)Life cant get much better than that. Even with maybe a hundred people on the beach, the area was so vast that there was no one anywhere near us. It wasn’t even an issue to just dump our stuff down and start wandering towards the sea throwing the Frisbee about. Craig even decided to take things a step
further and venture our into the sea for a bit of a swim to see how far he could get.

After relaxing for a while we took another wonder around the area so see what other hidden treasures the coast had to offer and managed to find a few more little enclosed bays with rocks towering around them, yet again more beautiful sights that none of my photos can do justice to. Our exploring ways were cut short again by the searing temperature of the white hot sand. Recently I was talking to Craig about this day and mentioned that this is what I was up to writing about and the first thing he said to me was “Do you remember how hot that sand was?!?”. Even 5 months on the first memory of that day is burnt feet.

After finally clearing off of the beachDSC_2247 (1280x720) and letting our feet cool off it was back to the car to continue the adventure. Earlier in the week we had been advised to visit a place called Te Waikoropupū Springs… or just Pupu springs for anyone like my that has trouble pronouncing full Māori place names correctly! Pupu springs is known for its amazing water clarity, for years being the clearest water in the world until it lost its title to Blue Lake in 2011 (which also happens to be in New Zealands South Island). Due to the way the water comes up from the springs and some other science that someone better than me has probably explained elsewhere, the water ends up looking crystal clear with an average viability of 60+ meters which is just phenomenal. After a bit of driving and a few wrong turns we made it to the springs just as it started to rain but that didn’t really dampen our spirits…. see what i did there! Bad jokes aside, the water was amazing. It is hard to really describe it as everyone has seen water before or been to a swimming pool where the water is clear. All I can really say though with this is that the water seemed almost completely calm, just shimmering on the surface from the fresh springs underneath, yet unlike a swimming pool it was there were plants and features under the surface to see. There is no swimming allowed in the springs for obvious reasons, as DSC_2248 (1280x720)im sure it would get hazy pretty quickly with everyone kicking up sediment from the surface, but that being said, even with the rain the water was some of the most inviting I have ever seen. I know a few people who hat the idea of swimming in lakes or oceans just because they are scared of what is under the water and I am sure those people wouldn’t have been scared here… if they were allowed of course

After leaving the springs we were on a mission to try and get some accommodation and not really having much luck looking online. Most places seem to be fully booked up but after a bit of ringing around we managed to find a place in Motueka, not too far from where we had planned to have our next adventure in Kaiteriteri. The accommodation was on a camp site, but rather than camping we ended up in what can only be described as a shed with bunk beds. Now to most people this would have been terrible but for us this was just perfect. A bed I didn’t have to blow up and a roof we didn’t have to construct seemed like a real win. To top it off we even had plugs to charge our phones while we slept, luxury or what! We are really moving up in the world now.

Just your Average Sunday Hike

I am aware that writing about a current even when I still haven’t written about 4 months ago may seem 20160403_111659 (1280x960)a bit odd but it sometimes just seems a bit simpler to get it done quickly and keep my brain moving on to the next thing. It is with that in mind that I give you a micro story, complete with pictures, of the little hike that we went for on Sunday.

When it comes to a story there isn’t really much to tell to be quite honest. Craig, Kate and I decided to go for a random drive and figure somewhere out to go for a walk and that is pretty much all that happened! We started driving down the peninsula and kept looking for signs to the many walking tracks that are around the area and 20160403_112517 (1280x960)eventually found a little track leading down to a beach in the distance. The weather want too great but we were in adventure mode so didn’t really care as we headed down the hill.

One of the best things about being in Dunedin is the views. When you are living your day to day life you can almost forget about them until they suddenly sneak up on you and catch you off guard. This place is only 15 mins drive from my house and I never even knew it existed until we went for the random drive. Heading down the hill the dark clouds started to roll in but 20160403_112416 (1280x960)we were undeterred with our waterproof jackets and iron will. It wasn’t until we had been walking downhill for about 15 mins that it dawned on us that also meant a long uphill walk back to the car!

A little bit further on the rain started. Luckily it wasn’t too windy and we were all pretty warm from the walk. As we wonder and chatted away we were treated to the most standard of sights in New Zealand, a young Kiwi boy running up the hill in the rain wearing just a thin 20160403_113532 (1280x957)T-shirt and shorts… Barefoot! The track was full of gravel and stones but it just didn’t seem to bother him at all as he powered his way up the hill, making us look like wimps with our jackets and comfy shoes.

By the time we had got down to the water the rain was really coming down and it turns out that after a year of use my waterproof jacket wasn’t very waterproof any more. Not only that but my trainers and hat also started to leak which is never really a fun time. We only stayed on the beach long enough to take a few pictures and then start our way back up. It was at the start of our assent that Craig pointed to a weird tree and commented “How bad must the wind be out here to do that to the trees?”. These trees look like that had been through some harsh times growing up, that’s for sure!

Anyway after a trudging back up the hill we were back in the car, home, warm and showered before lunch. The perfect little Sunday morning adventure.

 

Beach Boxing

As winter starts drawing in and the days become shorter everyone’s first thoughts are to stay home, get warm by the fire and have a nice cup of hot chocolate to take the edge off. Well, everyone in the Norther hemisphere that is. Here on the bottom of the world December is officially the first month of summer and that means sun and shorts time!

Ok, I am not going to rub it in too much (actually at the moment it is pissing it down and looks awful) but it is pretty amazing to finish work and be able to shoot to the beach.IMG_20151202_194200

On Wednesday at about 4.50pm I got a text message from Craig saying exactly what I had on my mine. A single word that said it all….

“Beach?”. My reply was swift and simple “Yes!”. After finishing work and getting we made the long 5 min journey down to the local beach to bath in the 28 degree heat for the little time that we could. Just recently I have been showing Craig how to throw a punch so it seemed like the perfect place to try out some more of out boxing skills. And so with boxing gloves and pIMG_20151202_194107ads in hand we made our way to the edge of the
ocean and proceeded to hit things like anyone thinking they were awesome would.
It is always the little things that get you in life and this was certainly something that put a smile on my face. Looking forwards to getting this summer thing into full swing!

 
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Enjoying the little things

The thing about routine is that it is difficult to build a healthy, positive one that you want to have but exceedingly easy to fall into one that you don’t want. 12111996_10153374815218445_5434535153229419933_nNot that my current routine is terrible, just lately it had managed to lean all the way towards work with the evenings
involving staying home to get out of the rain. This last week though seems to be the start of a change in the air and hopefully a sign of things to come.

After weeks of the temperature attempting to slowly creep up,
on Tuesday it somehow managed to take a hop, skip and a jump, leaping up to 28 degrees in beautiful blazing sun. This was not to be taken lightly and after a few quick phone calls a group of up grabbed our
shorts after work and headed down to the beach. It is really easy to forget how close the beach is and how beautiful it is there since12107006_10153375723103445_4212041729634917246_n it is right on your door step every day, but hopefully we will start to appreciate it more with the new weather. For about an hour we played on
the beach, throwing a ball about until eventually the sun set, the temperature
cooled and we were forced to head home. What we did manage to do though before it was quite home time was capture a few beautiful pictures which I hope you will all enjoy.

Fingers crossed that this is the shape of things to come in the next few months 🙂

 

Tunnel Beach

Staying in the city centre of Dunedin it is easy to forget that we are only a few minutes from the coast and some amazing views around us. On my new 3 min commute to the office I head down a massive hill and  have an amazing view of the peninsula and bay in front of me. DSC01574 (1280x949)As with all of New Zealand views like that seem to just creep up on you out of no where to leave you breathless. One moment you are just driving along minding your own business and the next BOOM! Epic view.

People living in Dunedin also tend to forget that they have all
of this on their door step and never seem to go and view
some of the places right on their door step. A few weeks ago we went to Tunnel 2015-08-09_1439115633Beach for a walk and to take some
pictures and had a pretty sweet day. A few weeks before we went down during the night to try and take some pictures of the southern lights but fail to see any. Luckily though we did happen to get a moment of clear sky which is where I took the photo of the Milkyway a few weeks ago. When we went there it was during the middle of a mini snow storm and all that we could hear was the sounds of huge waves crashing against the cliffs below. The noise was so intense that we didn’t even venture anywhere near the sea, staying near the top to watch the monstrous waves pummel against the sandstone cliff face.

 

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When we visited again the the whole place was completely different and seemed to be so calm. The wind wasn’t blowing and the waves were a shadow of there former selves, now not even big enough for someone to be surf on them. This time we could also make our way down to the beach and finally see the reason Tunnel Beach got its name. When we first went I thought that it was due to the massive archway cut in the cliff face that looked a bit like a loop or a tunnel, however this theory didn’t really explain the beach part. It wasn’t until we visited again and I was able to get all the way down that I understood where the name came from. In the 1870 James Cargill excavated a tunnel down to the DSC01582 (1280x956)beach below the cliffs so that his family could bath down in the sea without having to go to the more popular tourist spot of St. Clair. The tunnel leads down through the sandstone and comes out onto the beach below in the middle of a beautiful cove with a nice sand beach. I had no idea that this was even there as the week before it wouldn’t have even been possible for us to get anywhere near where the beach or the tunnel.

We stayed at Tunnel Beach for about an hour before heading out for a longer drive out towards port Chalmers where we found a nice little spot to stop for a while and practice skipping stones (which is always an awesome adult activity) as the sun started to go down.

DSC01635 (1280x960)I was lucky enough to get some good photos so at least I am making use of my camera again. Living in one place and having more of a fixed routine has meant that I have not been exploring as much in the week and so haven’t used the camera in a while which does suck. I want to get back into taking pictures more so just need to force myself to get out there and start snapping away, but hopefully this is at least a good start.

 

 

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Off season beauty

After spending so long in Asia it is quite a shock to be somewhere where jeans are actually a sensible option. The only jeans I now own have been at the bottom of my bag for so long that they have a semi permanent crease down the front of one of the legs, making it almost look like I ironed it in. To be fair the temperature isn’t too terrible and I actually feel perfectly comfortable walking around in a Tshirt and jeans after spending so long in shorts and vest top, sweating DSC01116 (1024x768)constantly as is always the case in South East Asia. All you guys think I have it easy at the moment travelling the world and not working but you dont know the struggles of being sweaty and having to go all the way to the pool to cool off!

…I sense I am not getting the sympathy I desire. Moving swiftly on…

So I arrived in Auckland and wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible so decided to head to the very north of NZ to the bay of islands area since I had not yet visited there. As with most of my travel plans I had no idea exactly where I was going or what I would find but I think that sort of adventure has suited me quite well DSC01129 (1024x768)so far. I know there are things that I have missed and not taken full adventage of my time in some places, however if I am enjoying myself and happy with my life then what does it matter that I missed one temple or waterfall along the way? This attitude is the reason that I am now in Paihia, knowing nothing about the town until I arrived.

When I first decided to head north I looked on a map of NZ for a big population hub towards the bay of islands area and picked Whangarei as it seemed pretty big so I was sure I could amuse myself there for a few days. With my bus ticket booked I started looking for accommodation which was when things started to go a little wrong for me. There were only 2 hostel available on Hostelworld and neither of them was anywhere near where the bus dropped off in the middle of town. This would mean an hours walk in the dark to seek out accommodation and in my books that was just going to be a step too far. Instead I looked at the DSC_1569 (1024x576)map again to find Paihia and checked there for accommodation firs this time, finding plenty of places to stay near the main beach front and so modified my travel plans to fit. See, travel is actually really simple. If it doesnt work just change it!

I am really happy with where I have ended up staying as I seem to have dropped on to some really good accommodation at a great price. The room that I booked was a 6 bed ensuite dorm room for £11.50 per night which wasnt too bad a deal at all. When I DSC01126 (1024x768)first got the the room I saw that the bunk beds in the rooms were the ones with a double bed on the bottom so was instantly happy at the little win I had got off the mark. To top this off I was also the only person in the room at the time and since it was 8pm when I checked in it was obvious I was not going to be joined by anyone else that evening. This left the large bedroom, ensuite bathroom, kitchen area and bonus TV all to little old me! Normally dorm rooms have none of these extras but this one even has a nice little table to sit at and could happily be somewhere for a group of people to use as a basecamp for quite a while without issue. 3 nights in and I am still the only person in my room which is pretty sweet all things considered as I basically have a suite to myself which would have cost me more like £60 per night without any hassle at all.

DSC01171 (1024x768)After a good nights sleep it was time to explore the local area and figure out there was to do in the town I have randomly picked off of a map so as per usual its trainers on, bag packed, walking time. First thing to do as always was to head straight down to the beach for a walk along and to take a look at the sights and I have to say that I am not in the least bit disappointed with my choice. It may not have been the nicest day on record but even with some light, misty drizzle this place still looks beautiful. After walking along the beach for a while I eventually came across some signs for the Waitangi Treaty grounds so decided to head that way and take a look. The treaty grounds are the location of DSC01161 (1024x768)where the first treaty with the British and the Maori were signed way back in 1840. The treaty turned out to be the source of a lot of controversy as there were 2 copies made of it, one in Maori and one in
English, however the translations between them were not accurate meaning that both sides believed they were agreeing to slightly different things. It is too complicated to get into with a quick rambling from me online, however it is easy to say that this was the cause of a lot of tension and quite a few battles for a while.

I took a walk around the sight and even went to a Maori DSC01162 (1024x768)cultural performance which was pretty cool before coming out and seeing my first double rainbow! Apparently in this area they get rainbows quite a lot due to the way the light rain comes across the hills and meets the shining sun from across the bay. Its a beautiful sight and I think I managed to get a few pics to capture it quite well.

There is not that much more to do at all in Paihia out of season since a lot of things have closed down for the winter as everything begins to chill, however it is proving a nice place to just relax and start getting a plan of what I want to do next. Who knows, one day I may even have it all figured out.

 

Boat trip

Some things are cheap, some expensive, but luckily for us boat trips are one of the cheapest things that you can do on Koh Rong. And so, with $10 tickets in hand we headed for the beach. We shared our little boat with a couple we had met the night before, a Swedish couple from our hostel and some German girls which ended up being the perfect group size and mixCAMERA of people to lead to a good day out.

It was only a tiny local boat that we were on and out hosts didn’t even really speak any English but even so we ended up having a really nice time and chatting to each other to get to know our nautical companions. First off we all we headed out to a tiny island off of the coast to to do some snorkelling with the equipment they provided. Unfortunately we didn’t have any flippers which made swimming against the current there a little more difficult but we still got to see some good sights and plenty of fish on the reef.

CAMERAOnce we were done with that it was time to earn our dinner for the day and do some fishing. With all of us armed with our rock, line and hook we all set about fishing off the boat to try and catch something for our beach BBQ later. It was a laid back atmosphere are pretty good to just chill on a boat, line in one hand, beer in the other, chatting to people you had just met. After a little while I managed to catch my first (and only) fish which I was proud about but after that the luck was against me. It wasn’t that the fish weren’t biting, to the contrary, I kept feeling a tug and would pull my line in only to find that the fish had eaten my bait and left the hook sitting there DSC00553nice and clean. This must have happened at least 8 time so I don’t think I will ever make a prize fisherman.

After we finished fishing with various success we took our haul and headed for Long beach on the far side of the island to set up the BBQ and watch the sun set. While our hosts cooked the food we played frisbee in the warm sea and chilled out on the beach. I am not the biggest fan of fish but I have to say that the BBQ’d fresh fish wasn’t too bad at all, i could certainly get used to it if I was hungry enough. We finished eating just in time to watch the sun set over the ocean which was beautiful and I did try to get a timelapse video of it, however the action cam decided to die on DSC00567me so I’m not too happy about that. At least I bought the other camera to get some decent pics 🙂 Just before we were supposed to go a random girl walked up to our group and it turned out to be Noa, who had been Scuba diving all day. She had finished and took a water taxi straight to the beach and found us because of the frisbee with was great. Was good to see her and she jumped on the boat with us back to the main beach.

Another good day with good people which is all I could hope to ask for.

Fourteen years

Fourteen years have now past yet it never gets any easier. The birthday wishes to one of by best friends serves as a reminder of a day that changed my life dramatically in such a surreal and shocking way.

Fourteen years ago today my older cousin, Marcus, was ripped from our lives in a senseless act of gang violence. I don’t want to go into all of the specifics details as it was and still is quite painful to think about but what I will say is that it was brutal and horrific and something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. As much as I feel affected by all of this it doesn’t even compare to how my other cousins (his younger brothers and sister) or my auntie must be feeling today. Loosing a cousin is awful but I don’t think that I could ever understand the pain of loosing a brother. My love goes out to them today and to all my friends and family who have lost someone.

When I look at my life now I always try to remain positive and appreciative of all of the experiences and opportunities that I have had in my life. I am now 11 years older than Marcus was when he was killed and in that time I have been able to experience life and see some beautiful things. I have been able to see my family grow and watch my baby cousins turn into young adults. I have watched the world change around me and see first hand how technology and innovation has changed the world. I have had the opportunity to travel and make new friends around the world and for that I will be forever grateful.

Life can be vicious and cruel at times, however if we stay focused and positive then we can somehow manage to pull something good out of the situation.

Tonight I intend to spend the night looking at the stars and taking some time to be thankful for who I am and what I have been able to accomplish so far in my life.Tomorrow may just be another day for some people but for me it is the continuation of an amazing adventure that I don’t intend to let go of any time soon!

P.S. I jotted this all down on a notepad sat in a cafe with the intention of going to a bar in order to write it up and get some wifi to upload it. Instead of heading straight there I decided to head to the beach to practice trying to balance on the rocks with my hands. I know that sounds random but it is something I have always wanted to do so now each day I am going to try it and see if I get any better at it. In the spirit of living life I then decided to climb up a willow tree growing on the beach because “why not?“. It turns out I get WiFi from the top of the tree so right now I am sat at the top of a tree on my laptop looking like a weirdo. The best thing about this place is that no one really seems to care as if this is just an average thing they see from people who just want to live life. I shall continue to look for weird and wonderful places to work from now on 🙂