We awoke to our final day in New Zealand to a half blue and half grey sky. It seemed as though it was raining in the mountains, but as the patches of clouds moved toward the coast they instantly broke up. We went to the office to check out two kayaks. We were provided with life-vests and a little cart to transport our kayaks to the beach across the road. We were told to just leave our cart in the grass beside the beach. No one steals here I think. When we were shown to our room yesterday the glass doors were wide open fully revealing the flat screen TV and blue-ray player. We pulled the cart to the beach and examined the situation. Eric and I had never launched kayaks on a beach with sizable waves or waves of any size for that matter. Shrugging we pulled our boats into the water and waited for a lull.

There was never a true lull, but the waves did seem to shrink at one point. We ran as fast as we could yanking out kayaks behind us. Just before a small wave came we leaped inside and paddled hard. The kayaks broke cleanly through the surf. I wondered why I had bothered wearing clothes over my bathing suit. I was denched and the akyak was the type with drainage hole cut in it anyway. We paddled along the shoreline and discovered the kayak could be used a a boogie board. we rode the waves a bit, never getting on the crest though. Well, at least at first.

Eric eventually caught a wave right at the white foaming tip. The waves broke around him carrying him and his kayak to shore… only separately! Apparently it was great fun. I watched his laughing hysterically as we attempted to retrieve his kayak that seemed to be purposefully evading him. As I watched I failed to realize that the waves were pulling me slowing into the breaking zone… I did notice though when a wave caught me on its crest and dumped me out of my kayak dragging me and my boat to shore as well. IT WAS FUN!

We caught our kayaks and broke back through the waves into the ocean. We rode the waves more before our two hour time limit was up. We carefully caught waves to take up to shore managing to stay up right the entire time…. well almost. At the very end of the surf line on the beach we both suddenly, and for no logical reason it seemed, toppled over!

We returned the kayaks and went back to the beach with boogie boards. The boards were the low quality foam kind with no slick board and no wrist attachment. It was hard to enter the water this way since we couldn’t dive under the waves detached from our boards. I caught a few great rides though. I hadn’t forgotten the technique after having been away from the sport for five years. Eric is a surfer and didn’t quite understand how to time waves on a boogie board. He still caught some though. The clouds were filling in the blue sky making it rather cold on the beach so we didn’t stay long. After returning the boogie boards we headed over to town.

Whitianga is your typical beach town. It was smaller than Mt. Maunganuiand was more of a locals vacation spot. Heaps of folks were there for the Easter holiday. We went to a small cafe off the main strip called Coghill House known for there cinnamon scrolls (we call this cinnamon rolls in the States). We ordered  veggie and Cajun chicken paninis though which were quite tasty. We still had $12 left to spend. Not wanting any more stuff to bring home we ended up buying a small mud cake at New World Supermarket. After polishing that off we visited Tip Top Dairy which is New Zealand’s scoop chain and reasonably priced. I got a double scoop of apricot ice cream for $3.70 and Eric got a (boring) vanilla shake for $3.80. Close enough getting rid of our final change.

We wanted over to the Marina and walked the docks. Then we walked across the jetty which was filled with black oyster catchers who did preferred to run all the way down the jetty until they were forced the fly away at the tip. Just as we were leaving the clouds finally won over the sun and it began to lightly rain.

The drive back to Auckland was uneventful. Our flight took off bound for Vancouver, BC at 8:00pm on a Boeing 777.. tomorrow when I arrive back in WA at 5.25pm it will still be April 20th!

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