Once we got dropped off by the water taxi we hiked for almost 3 hours and then stopped for a nice lunch right on the beach. The hike reminded me a lot of our time in Costa Rica with a swinging bridge and the dense forest. The walk was really nice and peaceful with some special views of the ocean and some lagoons. We have some pretty special places here in San Diego, and this rivaled ours. On our trip we met a family from Michigan that we talked with most of the trip. There were 4 in their family, with an older daughter who was 25 and a son who was around 20. They were very nice and within a few minutes of meeting them we found out that the daughter was living in Nairobi working for a social enterprise called Saner.gy. Not only is she working for a social enterprise, but her company happens to be one of the investments of a foundation I am working with out of Santa Barbara. She was also an intern for a company that I met in Mexico this past October. It is truly a small world and continues to cement my belief that what I am focusing my spare time on is the right thing to do.
After lunch we took kayaks back to the original drop off point. We were in some open ocean but we stayed very close to the shore. Ilise and I shared a kayak and it was a good thing we shared because it was a very windy day and there were some choppy seas. We saw a little baby blue penguin just floating in the ocean and took a bunch of pictures. The little thing was so cute and looked tiny in such a large body of water. We also went to a small island where there are numerous sea lions, which seemed very similar to La Jolla Cove here in San Diego. Since is was so windy and rough it was hard to take out my good camera to take pictures, but we did take a few by the sea lions.
The wind ended up being a really good thing at the end of our kayak experience. There were 4 tandem kayaks as part of our group plus the guide in a single. We were about ½ mile from our landing spot and the guide pulled out a large tarp. She asked the 4 kayaks to line up next to each other side by side. Ilise and I were on the extreme left side of the pack and we turned the tarp into a sail. I took a corner of the tarp and tied it to my paddle, as did the back person on the right side of our little kayak pack. The women in the front held the front corner of the tarp and when we raised the paddles in the air we created a sail. From that point on it was all wind power, we didn’t have to paddle at all. The wind was really howling at this point, so we were humming along at a good clip. It was on this excursion that we learned if we wanted to eat good food in New Zealand we should focus on the fish.
Since we were on an island that had lots of sheep and cattle we figured the meat would be good, but we were wrong. The best meals we had were definitely fish, not steak and lamb. So, that evening we asked the front desk of the hotel for the best local seafood restaurant and headed out. It turned out to be one of the best meals we had on the whole trip. We shared some appetizers, including something called whitebait. We also had some broiled fish that was absolutely delicious. Next time in New Zealand, focus on fish and ethnic foods, those were our best meals.
The next morning we hopped back in the car with our bags and headed for Picton, the port for the ferry from the south island of New Zealand to the north island. Our destination was Wellington. It was a blustery day again but the seas were not too bad. During our boat ride I headed out on the front of the boat where winds ended up sustaining at about 80 knots, which is pretty strong. The ferry took about 3 hours and Ilise slept most of the way. When we arrived in Wellington my client was there waiting for us and drove us to our hotel. That was a big surprise and it was great to see Ross. He took Ilise and I to our hotel and we agreed to meet for dinner around 7 PM. It was only about 2 PM when we checked in, so we decided to head out for a walk.
To be continued ……