Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tony's Visit

Tony was over to visit a couple of weeks ago. I've been meaning to make a big post once I got all my photos downloaded and organized, but I haven't really gotten around to it. So I'm about as organized as I'm going to get anytime soon.

Tony kept a blog while he was here, so you can visit his site for a more complete account of our travels:
Not All Who Wander Are Lost

The short version of it all is that it was great having him over. As was typical in Minnesota as well, we got into adventures that I probably wouldn't do on my own. The second day he was here we took off to Port Waikato to try to find the shooting location for Weathertop from The Fellowship of the Ring movie. We found it, but there were a few too many miles of sheep filled paddocks to cross from the nearest piece of road we could find. We had to settle for a visit to The Shire in Matamata a week later (see below).

Boat Trip from Poor KnightsA couple days later we headed north to Tutukaka to do some diving at the Poor Knights Marine Reserve. As you may have noticed from my previous post, I've just gotten my PADI certification, so this was my first dive in the ocean. The boat ride out to the islands was brutal, this was the first day in a week that boats were able to leave the harbor, so the swells were still quite high. After an hour or so spent feeding the fishes every few minutes, we arrived at one of the few spots sheltered enough to drop anchor and do some diving. That part of the trip was fantastic, the water felt warm, and there was no seasickness once we were under. There were little fish everywhere, we saw rays, scorpion fish, a john dory, and quite a few conga eels. Unfortunately, most of my pictures with the little waterproof camera film came out too dark. After the flash fired on the first shot I took I thought it must have some kind of light meter in it (in reality I must have accidentally bumped the arming switch). A couple pictures might be salvageable, I'll have to scan them in and see.

Anyway, scuba diving was a fantastic experience, I'm looking forward to more dives in calmer water and nice warm sunny places/weather! :-)

After Tutukaka, Kel headed back to Auckland while Tony and I headed up North to Cape Reinga. That's as far north as you can get in New Zealand.

Cape Reinga LighthouseCape Reinga Lighthouse

We hung out there for a while, then started back south. We thought we'd catch the sunset over 90 mile beach from the Te Paki Sand Dunes. Unfortunately, once we climbed the first wall of dunes, there were just more dunes after that. We missed the sunset, but the dunes were still damn cool.


We returned to Albany that night, then left for the central North Island the next day. I'll put some of the photos from that part of the trip in the next post. Plus maybe some stuff I missed from the first part . . . hmm . . better read Tony's blog again, I forgot about the All Black's game and the Waitomo caves. ;-)

Anyway, more later . . .

Whakatane Harbour

File Under: Adventure,