Monday, February 12, 2018

New Friends and A Fishing Adventure

On February 11 I continued down the west coast of New Zealand's Northlands in more Portland-like weather and scenery to include New Zealand's largest tree - the Tane Mauta. Of course, the photo on the linked wiki page is more impressive, but this one shows that I was there:
But the highlight of the 3+ hour day of travel was arriving at the beautiful, waterfront home of a couple I had just started corresponding with since arriving in NZ -- with an email introduction by a childhood friend of mine.  The warm welcoming, a delicious home cooked meal,  lots of wonderful conversation, and superb accommodations, made it easy to quickly add these lifelong Kiwi's as my friends as well! And, thanks to them, my knowledge of Kiwi life (geography, health care, education, retirement, etc) increased immensely.       

In the morning I joined in a 3 mile hike/walk with neighbors that gave me even more opportunity to meet/interact with even more locals -- and enjoy an overview of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula I was on, about 25km north of Auckland.
And just when I thought I would be saying my goodbye's, the couple invited me to join them on their 45 foot yacht for a few hours cruising Hauraki Gulf  (click the link to see this massive gulf that includes the waters surrounding the east coast of Auckland).  However, what started as just a cruise - became an exciting day of fishing (well, catching!) -- complete with my little, unplanned dip in the ocean.  For those of you that enjoy the mishaps I sometimes write about in my blogs (like this one of surfacing from Scuba to the wrong boat) -- you'll love this tale.  And, as I have pointed out before -- consistent with my enjoyment of telling such stories, it will be among my most talked about adventures from this trip:

We began our fishing near a surface marker for Shearer Rock (topo map here) and when a lure became snagged on the metal grill of the hazard buoy there, I jumped from the rear deck of the yacht to the buoy -- and easily retrieved the stuck lure.  My timing in my jump to return to the rear deck was not so perfectly timed with the swell -- and in I went - with pocketed cell phone and passport.  My shoulders never went under water -- and I was able to quickly get myself to the deck -- with no damage done.  And thankfully, the iPhone 7's water resistance (rated for 1 meter for 30 minutes) held and I had the lucky foresight to have put my passport in a zip lock baggy.  So, the only real damage was to my ego -- which, as you might guess by the fact that I'm retelling the story -- it'll take a little more than a quick misjudged jump to damage my ego!

Back to the truly exciting and fun part -- I had a blast catching.  If "fishing" was always like this -- fun and exciting "catching," I'd take up the sport regularly.  

A superb day "catching" on the water with new Kiwi friends -- truly a perfect day.  I'm already scheming as to when I might be able to return to New Zealand!