I’m on a Boat
Riding a boat in New Zealand is something we all knew we wanted to do before we had even arrived in the country. We had seen tons of photos and videos of whales and dolphin’s showing off in the sea and people in awe of the beauty. So when we booked our airbnb in Cooks Beach right next to the water we knew this was the place to make this dream come true. We started really looking at all the different options while we were still in Auckland and found all sorts of amazing opportunities out there to purchase and make your boat dreams come true. Just about anything you can think of from glass bottoms boats, boats that promise that 90% of the time you will see a dolphin 100% of the time, and boats that take you on fast adrenaline rides of your life. They all sounded so amazing!!! There was however one problem…they cost a fortune when paying for a family of four. We went back and forth about weather or not to go ahead and book something and make compromises elsewhere in our lives to adjust for the cost.
Can we eat ramen for dinner several times during the month in order to pay for this? Not eat out for an entire month? Not drink wine for the month-hahaha. UGH!!! My families health versus my families enjoyment which do we pick? Eating eggs and potatoes for breakfast everyday for a week versus eating a variety of fresh fruits, yogurts, and pancakes is ok right? Ramen for dinner instead of chicken, veggies, and rice isn’t that unhealthy is it? I’m willing to not eat out in order to save money to do other things but surviving on a diet or ramen, eggs, and potatoes is something I just can not do. So we decided to wait, to think about it, and to try and fine some ways to make some extra cash. I opened an etsy shop and put some of my travel photos up for sale. Sean would keep working on his book and if things panned out we would be rich in no time. However in the meantime we planned on not eating out much in order to save some money to try and make this boat thing happen (this did not actually happen we ate out a lot more then we would like to admit while in Auckland).
Ok, we made it to Cooks Beach now its time to get real. How are we going to make this happen? I started looking for coupons and deals online from websites like groupon, bookme, and other random sites. In an attempt to save my family money and take them on an adventure of a lifetime I probably gave my computer a virus and may have end up costing us money. Whoops, oh well worry about that latter is what I say. When we got to Cooks Beach we were so very lucky in that our airbnb host had bikes, kayaks, and a boat and said we were welcome to use the bikes and the kayaks free of charge anytime and he even said he could take us out on his boat sometime if we wanted!!! WHAT!!! How awesome is that!!! We were so excited. So when the day came to go out on the water we were all super pumped. It didn’t have a fancy glass bottom but it had something better-John (our airbnb host and now our friend). He told us all about the Islands we rode past and how they had filmed movies in some of the locations we saw, like The Chronicles or Narnia. He even told us about the time a shark trailed him in the waters and stole his days worth of fishing. He has had such an interesting life and we really enjoy spending time with him and hearing not only about the interesting things about New Zealand but also learning more about him and hearing all the crazy things he has done or been through. We hope someday we can be as cool as him and have some pretty amazing stories to tell. In some ways I feel like we are doing that now.
Traveling really does open up your eyes to such a big world. You get to met so many interesting people and hear such different stories. You know that saying “traveling leaves you speechless then turns you into a storysteller” by Ibn Battuta I think it really is true. Our boating adventure didn’t involve any sharks thank goodness but it did involve fish and what we thought was going to be our first boat ride in NZ also turned into our first snorkling experience, but it probably isn’t what you are picturing in your head. First of all we did not have swim suits on so we weren’t actually submerged/swimming in the water and we didn’t see a huge variety of colorful fish. It involved us hanging off the side of Johns boat with a face mask on getting close and personal with some delicious snapper. It was probably one of the silliest and funniest things I’ve ever done.
We rode around Mercury Bay and saw lots of different sacred islands, Cathedral Cove, and beyond. We even saw some stingrays along the way. This would not be the first time we saw stingrays while enjoying the waters of Mercury Bay. We had been to Cathedral Cove several times and had even swam in the waters there but it was so interesting seeing it from a different perspective. We saw people hanging out on the beach, taking photos in the cave, and even people out kayaking. This is also were we saw them, jumping up out of the water big huge dolphins! Just kidding, we didn’t see dolphins. Instead we saw a huge school of extremely large snapper!!!
We had turned the boat off and were just hanging out enjoying the view so when we saw them, so of course we all immediately leaned over and looked in the water, and sure enough there they were loads of enormous snapper. John was prepared, he had snorkel gear ready to go. He didn’t hesitate and quickly asked Mireya to hand over the gear, to be honest I wasn’t sure what was about to happen. Was he about to jump off the boat fully clothed into the water and grab some of these fish for dinner? I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it weren’t a reserve however he just put on the mask and held onto the boat and dipped his head in the water as we stood in amazement watching him. He came back up and was like yep! There are some huge snapper in there. Check it out! Before any of us could say anything Gaby was like ME! I’m next!!! So we proceeded to put the mask on her tiny face and dangle our six year old off the side of Johns boat. However a couple inches from the water she started to freak out a bit and had us pull her back up. She took the mask off and handed it to me.
So I said “looks like I’m next”, I bend over the side of the boat, took hold of the handle, and dunked my face in. To be honest at first I was a little freaked out. They were right there!! In my face and they were big! I mean really big at least a good 3 feet long *I may be exaggerating a tiny bit. However when they saw my face and realized I was not food they backed up a bit and just swam there letting me admire them. They weren’t colorful tiny little fish like you see in films like Finding Nemo but still in their own way they were beautiful. I watched them for a while in awe then a little voice inside my head reminded me of the story John had just told us about the shark and I started getting a bit freaked out again and decided my time was up. We proceeded to take turns and Gaby even decided to not only give it another try but wanted to keep doing it over and over again.
We then proceeded to head back to Cooks beach with water soaked hair, salty lips, smiles on our faces, and a new story to tell.