Baskets Left: 1
i'm so close to accomplishing my mission of disposing of these (well okay NOW this) flax basket. rather than risk whiro predicting my, up till now, straight line course i've tried to pull a fast one on him. instead of proceeding straight to auckland (the next closest stop on the list) i jumped up to my furthest north destination...
now don't panic people of the web wide world... i may not be supposed to skip or "double back" on any stops... and technically, it might seem like not going to my closet stop is violating this criteria... but here's the thing...
the whole north of the north island's highway system is an amazing self contained loopedy loop. meaning that i can hit the top stops, and swing back to auckland with only a tiny bit less efficiency, and still not hit or see any of the same places!
so that puts me at my next stop...
along the way to the boat launch i saw many neat things. such as this waka (maori war canoe).
there was also a cool restaurant called the mako with a shark coming out of the roof. if only all dining joints had this good a decor.
hitting my tour a good 30 minutes early i was guaranteed one of the best spots on the whole boat!
though i have to admit the view didn't really take the edge off the wait...
fortunately the boat filled up quick, and before i knew it (well okay it wasn't so fast that my tiny brain missed it) we were off.
once we pulled out away from the marina and into the harbour it suddenly became a lot more pretty and noteworthy than it had at close range.
so the bay of islands is called that for a reason. there are literally hundreds of islands in the area.
most of them are tiny as, and aren't huge islands. their still islands none the less.
did i mention there were a lot of them?
though individually these little islands didn't compete with the majesty of say milford or doubtful sounds , as a whole they still really impress.
the sandy beaches and native forests all give the place a welcoming feeling like out of a pirate movie. it's no wonder captain james cook thought this a safe area for his expedition to stop at in their long difficult journeys.
adding to the feel of this place being from a pirate movie or cook's time was an old fashion sailing ship!
i wondered for a moment if this was the last basket acting up? the baskets had made some weird things happen now a few times when they were about to disappear. could this have been the end of the quest?!?
sadly the tour boat's captain pointed out the ship to us confirming not only was it a local, but that everyone could see it. so far only i'd been the only one to really see magic type stuff, which ms. rhonwyn warned would be a probable side effect of my over exposure to mystic gradient radiation.
the variety of islands was pretty neat. there were rocky ones, forested ones, sandy ones, tall ones, small ones, long ones, short ones, and any combination of the above you can think of!
as we drew out towards the seaward end of the bay the islands got much taller and impressive on the rock end of things.
some of them even had really cool water caves carved in them!
i was really impressed with the whole area.
suddenly a light house appeared on the cliffs. meaning we had to be close to the open sea!
it was also cool to see a lighthouse. besides the one by the albatross colony in dunedin i hadn't seen any in new zealand...
just like that the last main point of land gave way to the vast endless expanse that is the ocean...
from a different angle it looked like this (can you blame me people of the web wide world? the place is just so scenic)
than it came into sight. the LAST island of the whole bay!
funny enough this is one of those rare of rare photos that almost captures the sense of the place. that island seriously looked just like that...
like something that would surround skull island!
the amazing thing is that another of my photos of mini skull island turned out just as good!!!
now for those you on the innerweb unfamiliar with skull island that's home of the giant gorilla king kong. i watched that movie at far too young an age (against the instructions of my legal guardian craig) as a hatchling, and now because of it i something of a phobia of gorillas!
so when i realized that this island looked like it could have anything to do with skull island i kinda panicked!!!
i didn't calm down for a good few minutes till we got closer and i realized that 1. this island wasn't that big B. it was very steep and 4. king kong won't be able to get us in the boat anyway.
now it turns out this island, or cape brett, is famous for the "hole in the rock".
based on the picture i'm sure you don't need me to explain this to you ;)
when they say a hole though they mean a hole! the boat would have fit right through it, and had the sea been calmer we would have... not that it mattered that much. we got pretty darn close!
though it occurred to me that with the boat this close any mega gorillas on the island could jump down upon us (its times like this i REALLY wish my brain was larger so my imagination won't get this much the better of me!)
just a bit further down cape brett i noticed another opening.
rather than another full on hole, this was just a big tunnel in the rock. just compare to those tiny people though. when i say big i mean big!
after checking out the cape we started back in towards the mainland again.
not without one stop though (well okay we'd been making stops at many of the populated islands as this tour boat is not just a tour boat, but also a ferry between all the island communities).
though you could just hang around and check out the island stop, another option was to take a ride in the "submarine" (you'll see why i use quotations in a second... grrrrrr)
i screamed out loud with excitement hearing i could take a ride in a REAL submarine that would be SO cool!!!
it wasn't just ANY submarine either! it was both the yellow submarine that the famous insect band the beetles sang about...
and the nautilus! as in the THE nautilus!!! (must have been formerly) commanded by captain nemo during the events in 20000 leagues under the sea one of my fav movies of all time!!!
now i'll admit people of the innerweb my tiny brain caught a bit of the problem with this. why hadn't the beetles mentioned that their yellow submarine in the song was the nautilus, and even failing that captain nemo himself must have earned a verse or two?!?
at the same time why had all the movie versions (the 1954 is SO the best... and no arguing with that people of the innerweb!) of the nautilus NOT been yellow? i figured it must have been because it didn't look good on film...
had i not been SO thrilled by the idea of getting to ride on a real, not to mention doubly famous, submarine i probably would have focused my small brain on the issue and figured it out...
heading down inside the sub for the ride the let down started to hit me. it was a single deck single room vessel... so totally not how any subs in the movies (other than old world war 2 subs... which neither the yellow sub NOR definitely not the nautilus are!!!) are portrayed.
than came the HUGE let down...
after a big audio show... that i was really into for a sec (so imagine how bummed i was by it at the end)... of the crew prepare to submerge and dive... all that happened was some bubbles were blown by the windows...
it was a freaking boat people of the web wide world!
after the huge build up... well if you have a brain the size of mine... it was just a glass bottom boat.
let me tell you was i in a foul mood for a while people of the innerweb... i just sat grumpily starring out the window stewing on the mean things i was going to say to tour operator about this false advertising...
suddenly a bucket flew by in the water... followed by a TON of fish!
it turns out the point of this "sub" trip is so that you can be taken out to a marine life perserve where they feed the inhabitants of the perserve right before you!
now let me tell you being in this mobile humanarium (that's my made up word for reverse aquarium... cause we're the ones trapped in the glass case in the fishes environment!) cheered me up quick.
i of course love fishies!
i won't be bitter at all though had they said fish viewing glass bottomed boat...
why'd they have to lie and say it was a submarine? wouldn't just seeing this be enough for us visitors? why claim an experience you can't deliever? it just cheapens the awesomness that is feeding fish.
feeding they were... if there'd been some sharks in the mix it'd have been the hightlight of all of new zealand! despite the lack of sharks it was a full on feeding frenzy... though the fish didn't eat each other. which i guess is kinda a good thing.
alas like all good things eventually the food ran out, and all the fish like this snapper grew bored of the boat and went away.
at the end of the glass boat ride it was time to get back on the tour boat and head back to shore.
sadly the last basket didn't go. i didn't get to ride a submarine. i didn't get to experience the vessel of my hatchling hero captain nemo.
i did however have an amazing experience in the bay of islands...
next the site where a nation was born!