You put your whole self in,
You put your whole self out,
You put your whole self in,
And you shake yourself about.
You do the hokey pokey,
And turn yourself about.
That’s what it’s all about!
I think about my family and friends all the time when I’m traveling. I see reminders everywhere. When I was searching the grocery aisles for a snack, I had to buy the Hockey Pokey cookies. The ingredients said they contained hockey pockey. How much more fun can you get?
My Grandama loved to do the hokey pokey and her enthusiasm was catching. She’d get us all up shaking ourselves about. Imagine if you could capture all that happiness and energy in a cookie. They’d be on the menu everyday.
The cookies were ok, but I still didn’t know what a hokey pokey was. I found out later here in New Zealand it’s a honeycomb like toffee.
I’m bummed a bit that it’s not a singing dancing cookie. I enjoyed the memories though.
I think about Robin when I see a rock, which there are a lot of here. I asked her what she wanted for her birthday and she said a rock. We passed a bakery with a cake in the window with Zac written on it.
We see Orion in the sky everynight, Matt. We wondered if Lee would like to fly over the glaciers. Rob would enjoy the Lord of the Rings stuff. If Dawn was here, she’d probably try bungy jumping with me.
Today was a Pops day. Kevin’s ears were probably tired of hearing me say, “I need a picture for Pops!” But I really needed a picture for Pops .
We wanted to go to Cape Kidnappers, not only because of it’s super cool piratey sounding name, but to see a gannet colony. A gannet is a large bird with a six foot wing span.
It’s related to the albatross. You can get really close to where they are raising their young on the tip of the cape. You just have to get there.
We read about three ways to get out to see the birds. Take a long hike on the beach when the tide is out. You have to time it just right so you don’t get stuck when the tide comes back in. You could take a 4 wheel drive bus over a back road. Or, you could ride on a trailer being pulled by a tractor. Of course we went with option three.
My favorite chore growing up was mowing the grass. We had a big old red farm tractor. I’d hop up on the seat, bounce around and sing songs while enjoying being outside. I didn’t know the neighbors were being entertained by me until recently when my mom said someone missed seeing me bop around on the tractor. Anyways, I loved to put it into third gear, when I thought no one was looking, and race it around the yard.
After the wild ride we were on today, I wanted to ask Pops if I could borrow the tractor. It was a big old tractor that bounced and joggled us over the beach, over the rocks, through the water, all the way out to the gannet colony. It went over the biggest rocks. Sometimes we were so sure it would get stuck, but it kept on going. One time it sunk down into the sand. We all had to get off.
The tractor churned and churned up the sand with it’s big tires. We all cheered when it broke free. Our feet got wet in the waves and splashed on to our clothes.
The driver would stop to talk about the things we saw along the way. He talked about the layers of rocks. Some of the layers were caused by slow moving water, some by fast, some by fresh water, some by the ocean. We could see fault lines caused by earthquakes. In the 1930’s a quake shifted the land by 1.8 meters. At some point in time there’d been a huge quake that caused an 11 meter shift.
When we got out near the gannet colony we had to get off again and walk.It was a very steep climb up. We paused for a water break a couple of times. Our breathing was a bit ragged when we finally reached the birds. We are so glad we didn’t do the 5km hike on the beach, too. The tractor was the major highlight of the day.
The gannet offspring were flapping their wings preparing to fly to Australia in April. Their parents were busy keeping them fed. Many were just tired out and taking naps. There was only a rope separating us from them. We’re not seen as a threat, so they ignored us. It was neat to see them fly and all the goings on while they completely zoned us out.
Oh Daddy, can’t I borrow the tractor? You can come, too.
I really do think of everyone, from aunt’s and uncles to nephews and nieces to neighbors and childhood friends. I’m not lonely, because you are all here with me. Where are some other places in NZ that you’ve been to?
You had a wonderful time on a mile long sky trek over the forest canopy.
The trip started off with a big whoosh. Your hair was blown back and you sped along high up in the air.
Some of those trees are at least 1,600 years old.
Then the chairs slowed down and you glided peacefully over the treetops. There wasn’t a soul around. Like a bird you soared in the sky.
When you reached the end of the line, you did the same trip in reverse.
Another day you took a walk in the Abel Tasman National Park at the northern tip of the South Island.
You had to board a ferry to get out to the trail. You got there early and found a good seat on the top deck, but the people coming late stood in front of you by the railing. You couldn’t see anything. A couple of men were boasting about their hunting escapades instead of looking at the scenery. You decide to tune them out, close your eyes and just feel the sunshine.
The person traveling with you is taller. He stands up once and a while to snap a few camera shots that he’ll share with you later.
The split Apple Rock is cool.
The hike turns out to be much better than the boat ride. It is shady with look outs along the way.
Your calves are tight and sore. It’s not a flat trail. You pass other people along the way speaking languages from all over the world. After about 2 hours, you find a nice spot to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. When the sand flies start to bite, you decide to get back to walking.
Your reward at the end is a beautiful bay and beach. You’ll build sandcastles, look for shells, swim in the cool water, keep your chips away from the gulls until the ferry comes to get you again. The boat isn’t as crowded as it was in the morning. You watch the kayakers and birds. Feeling drained of energy you close your eyes.
The Lord of the Rings is calling again. Your traveling buddy found the river where the barrel scene was shot. There’s a campsite in the park. You put on your hiking shoes and set out to explore.
There are plenty of rocks to climb on.
The water looks inviting. Several people are jumping but there are the rocks in the river. You stop to watch, but decide to keep dry yourself.
New Zealand roads are exhausting. You have to be aware at all times, no room for mistakes. They wind about the mountains. One slip and you’ll go tumbling over the cliffside.
It takes twice as long to get anywhere than what you’d expect. So when you see a chance for a break you take it.
There’s another swinging bridge to cross.
It leads to a quiet path. There is a nice trail along a fault line.
Where you spy a Weka chick and it’s parent searching for bugs. You use your foot to stir up the ground. They come closer to have a look. You spot another chick in the brush.
It was a good stop. You are more awake and ready to tackle the road again.
You arrive at a small campground next to an estuary.
Walking on the wet sand is a bit tricky. You tend to sink. The birds don’t have any problems. Some of them don’t appreciate your intrusion and give out warning. Most just go about their business. There are plenty of snails for them to find. You have a discovery of your own.
You are having a wonderful trip in New Zealand. Thanks for coming with me.