Dolphins and the hole in the wall – Monday 23rd January 2012

As part of our motel deal at Triton Suite Motel, we have a tour to see the famous Hole in the Rock. The company, Fullers Dolphin Cruises seem to have cornered the market and offer a wide range of tours including swimming with dolphins.
We leave Russell in a large catamaran and sail towards Motuarohia. The crew already know where the dolphin are today, so that is where we go.
I’ve seen dolphin before, miles off from a boat in the Greek Islands and freshwater pink dolphin in the Amazon but, I’ve always wanted a close encounter with the bottlenose.
We saw some swim round the corner of Mornington Peninsular near Melbourne, as readers of this blog may remember, leaping the strong currents with strength, making good speed.
But I wanted to get closer.
Today, a huge pod of dolphins were playing with a group of tourists who were to swim in the sea with them. When the dolphin saw our boat approach they leapt clear out of the water in 2s and 3s, and swam right up, and under, the boat.

When I first saw a lion in the Rhuaha, in Tanzania, tears came to my eyes for the magnificence of the beast and the honor of being able to see him in the wild. Exactly the same thing happened now! All I wanted to do was look! The thought of glimpsing this from behind a camera lens seemed too awful. I wanted to drink it in! Those lithe, playful dolphin were so aware of us. Totally wonderful!

All too soon we moved on, swept off to the hole in the rock. This massive tunnel just allowed our huge vessel to crawl through leaving just 2 meters each side for maneuver. I was impressed. Neat driving!



We stopped off on Urupukapuka island, the only one in the Bay of Islands where you can send the night, if you wish. Up one hill, see the view, up the next hill – more views. But what views they were! Spectacular!



For the afternoon we were dropped off at Paiha, toured the shops And bought John a new baseball cap. Then had fish and chips at Vinnies Takeaway out of plain newspaper. (massive portions and very good) Yes, I know that is fish and chips, two days in a row, but I have been told that this is the place to eat them, so its now or never!

We walked along the beach front and crossed the bridge to Waitangi to visit the Treaty Grounds.
Following the outrageous behaviour of the Brits in New Zealand, Busby was sent out to ‘sort it out’ and worked on a treaty between the original Maori settlers and the British. Captain William Hobson came to sign on behalf of his Majesty in 1840. This treaty holds good still, although it offers a point of disagreement for some Maori descendants even today.
It’s well worth a visit and makes an aspect of history that I had not been aware of, very clear. I especially liked the introductory film.

I was surprised how small Busby’s original house was, but he certainly chose a fantastic location



The most beautiful Moari canoe was housed here, apparently in the Guinness book of records as being the longest! The meeting house was really interesting as the carving represented all the tribes and areas around New Zealand
We ended our day with a walk to Long Beach with the idea of a swim, but as we approached the shore we saw two large Sting Ray cruising along looking for left over bait. We decided it was wise not to go in, just in case!


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