The Hole in the Rock boat trip, the day we had been waiting for since Skeets had mentioned he’d seen Orcas.
Nice day. On a boat. Possible whales. Safe to say we approached this day very optimistic.
We were running a little late as usual so we ran most of the way to the boat and arrived sweating and out of breath. Turns out everyone else arrived leisurely in the next 10-15 minutes or so.
We set off on a tour of the bay around the islands. We stood out on the deck in the freezing cold refusing to leave our front row seats for when the whales would appear.
We managed a good hour of no whales, no dolphins, no fish, nothing. In fact all we saw between the port and the Hole in the Rock was a boat, a boat full of children. We caved, we huddled back into the comparatively warm inside for a coffee and a free biscuit.
The Hole in the Rock is a 60ft arch created over centuries by wind and waves making it one of the most naturally beautiful sites in New Zealand. If the waters are calm boats can sail through the hole. However, as the many vomiting passengers made evident, the sea was not in the best condition.
So no sailing through the famous Hole in the Rock today, but surely on our way back to Paihia we would see whales. We were huddled inside again for warmth when the announcement from the captain came,
‘Err ladies and gentlemen…(long pause where our imagination ran wild)…if anyone on board has lost a hat, one has been handed to a member of our crew’
Biggest anticlimax ever!
Before we turned back to the port the captain was going to drop us off at Otehei Bay to catch the amazing views of the islands. First,though, a pod of dolphins put on a show for us, playing in front of the boat, jumping in the waves. Loved it. It almost made up for the lack of whales. Almost.
To many people’s relief we disembarked the boat at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka for an hour or so to catch a small glimpse of the 140 islands that make up the Bay of Islands. While Sam was more interested in chasing sheep to get the perfect photo, Flo and I climbed to the top of the island to get the spectacular views.
Our boat ticket included a free stopover at Russell. Never ones to turn down a free experience we hopped off at Russell for the second time in two days.
By this point Sam and I were verging on ‘hangry’ so we treated ourselves and a couple of local seagulls to chips from the local chippy.
With visiting the museum being the sole purpose of our visit to Russell we actually decided to give it a miss and head home for the game of Chinese monopoly that Arthur had promised. Having braved the monsoon rain we accidentally went back on our promise to fetch Sam, Katie and Podrick…oops.
Turns out Chinese monopoly has no board, just cards and money and a lot of confusion. To cut a long monopoly story short Flo somehow won!
Podrick, Sam and Katie found us in time for another possibly Chinese, possibly French card game? Whatever it was it was the best way to wait out the rain pouring outside.
One minor noise complaint later and it was bedtime. Fingers crossed the weather will clear for tomorrow.
(Title is thanks to Arthur and his Chinese card games)