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Tuesday February 24

This morning I woke up to a rainy and chilly morning. I got online, checked messages and chatted with people before heading off to check the surf. I figured I might skip it today since the report didn’t sound great and my arms were a bit sore from the day before. Man, I get out of shape fast. When I got down to the beach, though, it looked like a good day for me. The swells were smaller, and though still messy, looked catchable and not too difficult to get out. So I went back up to the lodge and picked up the board and my stuff.

I got out past the whitewater closer to Lion Rock after maybe 10 minutes of paddling. Sat a while, watched some waves pass. There were about 4 other people in the water near me, and more coming out at a steady slow pace. When I finally caught a wave, my hair (so long now!) was whipped over my eyes and I was so disoriented I couldn’t do anything but ride in on my stomach. I tried paddling back out for a short while, realized I was exhuasted and headed back in.

I went back up to the lodge to grab a hair band. Returned and watched the surfers a while, hoping to regain energy and strength to try again. I fell asleep on the beach next to my board, waking up at noon. I guess today wasn’t the day either.

When I got back to Bobbie and Julia’s, I found a letter on my bed in the campervan. Such an amazing and unexpected surprise! I opened it up and read it with a cup of tea and leftovers from Emma’s party. It made me cry, I was so happy and excited to get this sort of contact from home. Hi Kerry, Rick, Silas and Camille! Can you hear me!!! Your letter made my day. Thank you so so much.

I jumped in my car and headed north to Cascade Falls to see the Kauri trees. A nice little 45 minute walk through the forest and next to a creek. I was sort of rushed because I needed to be back to the lodge by 3pm to help with the gardening again. Yesterday we spent most of the time cutting and hauling away flax stalks. Then I sat and repotted little Carex seedlings from off one of the paths. Bobbie had devised a new way to repot them using toilet paper rolls. Once replanted in them, the roll will decompose. She was very excited with this, admittedly, ingenuous idea. Another plant I learned about was the Potukawa, or the New Zealand christmas three. There are seven on their property. Around Christmas, this evergreen tree blooms into red flowers comprised of a bunch of needle-like stamens.

The road out to Piha is narrow and windy. But I am definitely getting the hang of driving on the left side and shifting with my left hand. Sitting in the garden now waiting for Bobbie to arrive and put me to work. A cup of Irish tea (thanks Clio!) and some cheese and crackers. Down on the beach yesterday I walked up to two young guys next to a rented campervan to say hi and see if they were going out surfing. Turns out they were German tourists who had to return their van that morning. They had two big boxes of leftover food they wanted to give away to someone. I was the lucky recipient! Tea, coffee, cheese, marmalade, three boxes of cereal, eggs, sugar, salt, spices, can of tuna fish, can of diced tomatoes, some onions, vegetable bouillon cubes, paper towels. Such a great score.

Still working on post about days in Auckland. Will get that up soon.

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