Sunday, November 30, 2008

More from Northern NZ

Hole in the Rock, just outside Opua, the first land formation we spotted from sea.

Cape Brett, this is the first light we saw from sea as we approached New Zealand.

We've spent two and a half weeks in the Opua area and have done some really interesting excursions. Unfortunately, I'm unable to post pictures of the glow worm caves, but I'll tell you all that it was a very cool experience. The glow worms we saw only exist in Australia and New Zealand and are a close relative to the shrimp - not fireflies as you may suspect. The light from these very tiny organisms is just the size of a pin head and glows kind of a turquoise blue. The glow worms feed on insects that emerge at dusk. The worms spin traps, kind of like spiderwebs, that hang down like icicles to catch their prey. It is actually the worm excrement that emits the about toxic waste!

Hundertwasswer Public Toilet Block, Kawakawa, New Zealand.
On the way home from the glow worm caves, stopped in Kawakawa to visit the famous Hundertwasser toilets. Now I know this sounds, perhaps, a little less than appealing but Fredric Hundertwasser, a world renown artist and designer, rebuilt this building back in 1998 just two years prior to his untimely death. It is the only Hundertwasser structure in the Southern hemisphere and attracts hundreds of visitors from far and wide every year. The artist loved New Zealand and made a home in Kawakawa where he enjoyed his anonymity. He redesigned the toilet house as an expression of gratitude to the community. Hundertwasser is best known for his first building, Hundertwasser House, in Vienna, which attracts more than a million visitors each year.
Jenny in the ladies room.
Another nice exploration we took was to the Haruru Falls. Although the falls themselves are not very large, the do offer a peaceful setting and a lovely nature walk through a kiwi bird reserve. Sadly, we did not spot any kiwi birds, but we did get to see the New Zealand variety of cormorant called a shag, nesting in the trees alongside the water.
Jenny & Marg at Haruru Falls
Jocelyn was unable to do much of the walk as she had sprained her ankle and was on crutches for several days. She's doing much better now.
When Orca III arrived and just before Nathalie left for France, we had an informal ladies breakfast up at the Blue Water bistro. This was a really fun time for us all to visit. We talked about Jacquelines new grand babies that she was going to visit over Christmas and about our future plans and past adventures.
Left to Right - Renata (Nuku Alofa - Germany), Maria (Mama Cocha - Holland), Dionne (Orca III - Canada), Nathalie (O'vive - USA), Tanja (Upps - Germany), Jacqueine (Ahu - Holland), Joan (New Paige - Canada) and of course Me!
The girls continue to work diligently on their school assignments and have just recently completed Biology 11. I was working on the computer one day and got up to get a cup of coffee and just about had the liver scared out of me when I came face to face with a frog on the galley table! It looked very alive, but thankfully it was not, the girls were just getting ready for an experiment. Life on board is very interesting sometimes.
We've since left Opua and are making our way South towards Auckland where we'll be spending Christmas. I'm sure I'll have many more adventures to speak of and pictures to share of our trip along the way.

1 comment:

Nathalie said...

I hope Jocelyn is doing better so we can jog upon my return! It is so cold in France! it snowed since two days... I love your blog so I can see what you are all doing, I am so happy we will be all together for christmas...I posted a lot of pictures from France in an album of my gallery... see you soon!!!!