Another almost sleepless night in the tent. Crazy winds, lots of rain. I think I also may not have picked the wisest spot for my tent. I chose it more on its lack of proximity to other campers than for any sort of protection from the elements. Basically I was out in the open in a small field. Not so smart. But I would guess everyone in a tent suffered that night. You couldn’t hide – unless you went inside, of course. I decided I would definitely pony up the money for a bed that night.
Last surf in Raglan – in the morning with Roland at Manu Bay. When I paddled out, I immediately came upon Juan. Big smiles and hellos. It’s so nice to know people out in the water. Roland was good luck yet for me again. I caught one particular bomb, didn’t do much with it besides right it straight down, but that was fun enough. By the time I was getting out of the water, there were only a few people left. The waves really weren’t that great. They seemed indecisive. Countless times both Roland and I were seemingly in the perfect spot for a wave that was just hollowing out behind us, we would paddle for it and it would just peter out. Give up and die. If you knew what you were doing, it seemed you could occasionally catch a good ride. But it was all certainly beyond my experience and fitness level.
Parked in the lot at Manu Bay was one of the many ridiculously decorated campervans that are rented out to tourists:
I can’t escape!
Roland and I had some lunch, packed out stuff, got some e-mail addresses and said goodbye to the other folks at Solscape. Then we were on our way to the Waitomo Caves.
Not much going on in that town besides the caves. Not much at all. I did notice a school down a driveway off the road near the backpackers. It didn’t look very big. I picture 6 kids of various ages all in one room, but I could be wrong.
Roland and I both thought the three cave pass sounded best. All the crazy abseiling/rafting stuff was just too expensive, too long and for me with all this surfed-out exhaustion I was looking for something a little slower.
As usual, it is nine p.m. and I am about to fall over. So incredibly tired. I can’t possibly do the caves experience justice right now. So here is a teaser from the photos I took. I am afraid I am going to get far behind on this journal. I learned a whole lot about glow worms today – which are in fact maggots. But no one wants to travel hours and pay a lot of money to look at maggots. So, “glow worms” they have become. The maori word for them is titiwai, which translates to “stars over water”. Waitomo means “water hole” or “water shaft” which are abundant in this cave-riddled area of the north island – thus named Waitomo. Here is a teaser, a shot I took after we exited the main glow worm cathedral, which you view from a boat on the water. WIth seven other people in complete silence we floated below a ceiling filled with 5000 or more pinpoints of light clustered together. Some very bright, some very dim. A bluish-green glowing field of hungry maggots.
We are now in Turangi. A tiny town near the southern end of Lake Taupo. I am getting up around 6am to get ready for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It is a one-day walk, but I bought a hut pass so I can stay out there one night and take my time over two days. Roland didn’t want to go, and I am kind of happy about that. Not because I don’t like him, he is a very smart and interesting guy. Easy to be around and independent enough to feel no obligation towards him while traveling together. I am so happy he has come along with me. But I think I want to do this trek alone. Just get to experience the expansiveness and solitude out there without distractions. Looking forward to it. And with that said I really need to get a good night’s sleep tonight. Fingers crossed.