Middle Earth Day 33: Snorkeling

So much for being creative with my titles; I’ll save the inspiration for the text. After breakfast, I joined a German girl that I met the day before at Cathedral Cove to do some more snorkeling. Lucky for me, the hostel offered free snorkel fins for borrow. The views in Hahei all the way to Gemstone Bay were just as incredible as the first two times around but today the sun chose to be oppressively hot to my chagrin. Time was no factor so we spent quite awhile in Gemstone Bay exploring the water. Unfortunately, the tide must have been turning since I was constantly sloshed to and fro with the current a good few meters at a time if I simply just floated. I couldn’t seem to find much activity under the surface with the exception of a few two foot long tan and green striped fish but I was perfectly content floating and kicking along in the cool temperatures that shielded me from the relentless sunlight. As I soon found out, much of the upper crust of the water was covered with what appeared to be air bubbles but as I let them through my hands my opinion changed. They seemed to be small spheres of jelly, clear and open to pervading light; I was left to assume along with the German girl that they were jellyfish eggs. Atop Stingray Bay I found the same abandoned waters that I had the previous days rounded out by the mounted white and tan stone etched by the continuous artistic strokes of the oncoming water. With the water so clear and the sun so bright, I could see from above where the reef was planted as well as where the unlivable sandy basin resided. Again, I couldn’t find much worth revealing but with some patience I saw some of the same majestic purple and blue fish shining and glimmering brightly although quite smaller than the behemoth I saw the day before. Circling the entirety of the bay all I my eyes came across were choppy, unsettled waters. Upon an initial glance I saw a large dark figure resting on the surface of the sand below. As mostly every other dark, black figure I saw in the water, I assumed it was just another ready to further disappoint me. When the sand began to relax and settle down, this figure seemed to grow wings with a span of a little more than five feet or close to two meters. This figure was in fact a stingray, much larger than the first stingrays I discovered in Sydney. Its stinger jutting out sharply from its behind was longer than my arm’s length, a threatening sight to behold. Being a thorough curiosity, it became my sole purpose to be its lone audience, watching it wait for its prey while the magnanimous creature sat patiently unhidden to the trained eye. Every so often a tide would turn me away or a measure of sand would block my view but sure enough I would return. After returning once more, I found the creature rising up, its tip seemingly having no idea. Not wishing to become the next Steve Erwin, I quickly swam away in a rush towards shore. We continued our walk to Cathedral Cove mostly for her since I knew it would be crowded by the onslaught of tourists. Before long, we reversed our direction back to Hahei while she told me about her travels through India and Nepal. She gave me advice on what to see and what to avoid. Before hitching a ride back toward the ferry, I noticed the two English girls I had met while in Picton and then in Wellington. After a quick double take, we caught up for a short while wondering why they had been stalking me all the way here up north. Hitching a ride with a girl ended up being quite easy, no surprise there. We went for a short walk to Lonely Bay and met a couple others from the hostel before continuing on to a viewpoint that overlooked Mercury Bay. The one Finnish girl was quite humorous trying take that perfect picture while I made a joke of it with odd, awkward poses. Not much was left in the day since I needed to make it an early night but I still managed supper and scrounged up some scraps for tomorrow. Sometimes I feel like I am on the Food Channel show Chopped but the hobo version. The mystery ingredients are the free food items that I find left over from previous travelers and the pantry is basically what you would find at a typical gas station with a few given exceptions. Good and bad, I somehow make food edible for myself. Looking back on the day I was able to be cheap and frugal all the while not feeling as though I were missing out on what a place has to offer. Instead of hiring a boat cruise for a few hours at well over five times the price, I got to enjoy the same sites and views, snorkeling at my own pace and leisure. What a great last day it was to be in New Zealand.

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