I’m back at home again after my winter escape to a month of summer in New Zealand, and if I can get my cat Leo to stop walking back and forth between me and my computer screen and rubbing up against my hands for a few minutes, I’ll bring you a few of my fresh memories. During my second weekend there, Squiddy and Batty whisked us all off for a mystery surprise, which turned out to be three nights in a bach (it’s pronounced “batch” and is the New Zealand term for a short-term vacation rental property) in the town of Leigh, a drive of an hour and a half north of Auckland. My knee is not yet permitting me to undertake any strenuous hiking, but I am able to get around fairly well if I’m careful. The bach was very happily situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and the deck looked down through a magnificent pohutukawa (poe-hoo-too-KAH-wah) tree to a lovely cove.
One of the great things about this location is its proximity (a drive of only ten minutes or so) to Goat Island Marine Reserve, where we were able to go snorkeling twice.
Since it was a weekend and the weather was perfect, there were lots of other snorkelers, so the water wasn’t as clear as when there’s less activity churning it up. Consequently, I was able to make only two fairly-decent underwater photos, one of the kelp and another of a few fish between a couple of kelp beds.
The Maori name for the larger fish is hiwihiwi (strangely enough, its common name is kelpfish) and the three smaller ones are varieties of triplefins. I’ll be bringing you more of my month’s adventures in the near future.