Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Aotearoa part 3

Beach we went swimming at and spent the whole day on
Fun in the hut with everyone
Stewart Island Chain Link, linking it to the rest of New Zealand (The whole Blue Light group)
On the vomit voyage back to the main land

Now my journey over my holiday goes to Stewart Island, the third and smallest of the main islands of NZ. Through school I got signed up to do a three day tramp across the island with a group called Blue Light. Its a group of police volunteers that try to set up better relations with youth by taking them on little trips. The trip started with a departure from Bluff (a place world renowned for oysters and also the most southern point on the South Island) by ferry to the island. The ferry crosses one of the roughest strips of water over the Foveaux Straight. It is where the Pacific Ocean meets another body of water (its either the Tasman Sea or Indian Ocean) and it gets very very shallow and makes the waves big and powerful. Luckily going there it was a very flat day and no one got sea sick. Upon arriving it was sussed out that there were 2 kids from each school around Invercargill and there were 12 of us in all with 3 leaders. 2 of the leaders were really cool while the other definitely had something against me. Whether it be I am from the US or my school got me into the group late or something else, he just did not like me.

We walked from the town of Oban off into the bush to reach our first hut. It was a very cold and rainy day but our spirits were not dampened because the island was so amazing to be on. Even though it is so close to Invercargill, they are nothing alike. It reminded me of a cold and rainier Bay of Islands. Very tropical with crystal clear water. Stewart Island is known for having Kiwis, the flightless bird to which NZ people are named after, Sea Lions, and penguins. Those are all very cool things but unfortunately we did not see any of those except for penguins on far off rocks. This is probably because we were so loud as we walked and anything that would have been alive around us would have been running as fast as it could in the other direction. The first hut was pretty cool and me and some of the mates I made went hunting for possums. A NZ pest that people kill all the time but it is quite different than the possums in the US. These are black and furry and look more like lemurs to me, but everyone HATES them. We saw a lot but never quite got one. We also had one of my Maori mates telling stories of the "waka days" basically taking the mickey of his own heritage, and it was so funny everyone was left in tears (more than half the people we were with were Maori). Waka in Maori means boat and that is what the Maori people came in to NZ with, and I swear with the made up stories he was telling he could do stand up comedy at all the major cities in NZ. It would not really work in any other country because no one would get the Maori humor but I have to say that it was pure genious.

The next day we made our way to Port William that was a little bay with glassy clear water. We were so hot and tired from all our walking, and even though it was raining and cold enough to see your breath we decided that we were going to go swimming. I also must say that there is nothing between NZ and Antarctica. So we went to the warf and stripped down to our poly props (like under armor) and dove in. FREEEEEEEEZZZZINNNGGGG! but at the same time SO awesome. We had our own bay to ourselves with a big beach and we stayed out there from 3 pm till about 10pm, not swimming anymore of course but just chilling on the beach with warm clothes. Great great day with lots of laughs and stories and hot chocolate.

The last day was not our best day... I had the worst blisters on the back of my heel, my shoes were completely soaked, we were all completely buggered, and it was rainy and windy as hell. I am not complaining at all thought because it was still freakin awesome but it was not as good as the first 2 days. But when we got back everyone bought the biggest meals of fish and chips that we have ever had and just demolished them... leading to what also made the day not so good. We arrive to catch the ferry only to hear to that the water is very very rough but that they are still going to take the chances of going across ensuring our safety was of the utmost concern. They did say however that if you could stay another night on the island and take the boat out the next day that would be the better option. I was not excited for this...

WARING: this is kinda gross and not completely necessary to read. If you dont want to, go to the next SAFE ZONE reading spot.

As the boat started to hit the big waves everyone was squealing with joy and even this one American guy came to the very front of the boat to ride the waves as this was the place that got the most air. The waves were taller than the boat at times and the fun lasted for about ummm, 5 minutes. Next thing I know a chick next to me is puking in a barf bag. I run away in the other direction to an old woman who has just puked on the ground. I look for another place to take safe refuge on the boat to realize that over half the people on it have their faces in a bag. Even the giddy american was embarrassingly handing used barf bag after used barf bag to the ship's crew. Fish and chips was not looking like the best choice at this moment, especially when I was looking at it all over the floor now. Not from me though, I do not get sea sick but I have to tell you I was on the verge from everyone else all around me. When we finally made it back I was very thankful and just glad to be able to stand solid (and not have puke bombs going off everywhere around me). I went home and got ready for the Routeburn Track which I would be leaving for the following morning for another 3 day tramp. I dont know if you are keeping count but it was 2 days tramping on north island, 3 days on Stewart island, and now 3 days on the Routeburn with less than a day between each. I was starting to feel pretty bloody knackered, but still having the best time of my life!

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