Monday, November 14, 2011

The Dolphin Photo Booth

This past weekend we went to Bay of Islands to view dolphins in their natural habitat.  This may make us sound like the wimpy Steve Irwins of the New Zealand nature world.  But apparently I am good at catching animals (on film) and should maybe think about making my career in dolphin portraiture.  I’ve thought of worse career moves.

It's Flipper, Flipper, Faster than lightning

The first stop on our dolphin weekend was Paihia, a sunny 4 hours north from our consistently rainy Auckland.  Now downtown Paihia is nothing to write home about, but it is cute and quaint in that beach town type of way.  It is also a good, central location to get a hotel in Bay of Islands, and there are some decent restaurants to get your seafood fill.  Namely the 35° Aquarium Restaurant with its large aquarium in the middle of the room.  There are wonderful views across the water, and the seafood dishes are quite tasty (even if the aquarium fish are secretly planning an attack on you for eating Sammy and Bobby Jo).

Home to Sammy and Bobby Jo

Then on Sunday morning, we took off on our “Dolphin Viewing/ Hole in the Rock” boat ride with Fullers Great Discoveries.  The dolphin safari was a great way to see some of the Bay’s 140 odd islands.  And of course, a fun way to see dolphins.  My recommendation is to stand at the back of the boat because the dolphins love to play in the bubbles/ jet spray.  Seriously, it’s like Sea World back there.  Lots of dolphins flipping and racing and generally having lots of fun chasing their interactive bathtub toy (us).  Just think if we unleashed the giant rubber ducky here!

Russell, Bay of Islands

We also went through the “Hole in the Rock”, a much-too-tiny-hole (in-a-rock).  It was touch and go for a minute as to whether our boat would clear the passage.

Wait, are you sure our boat will fit?

Oh and a last word of warning: don’t wear shorts on the boat ride.  No matter how “warm” it may seem, boats are windy places.

- Meredith

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