Round the world without odour eaters
Easter Island (7)
French Polynesia (11)
Hong Kong (8)
New Zealand/Aotearoa (50)
* The End
* Day 189: London baby!
* Day 188: Museums
* Day 187: MTR
* Day 186: Kowloon Park
* Day 185: Peak tram
* Day 184: Central and Admiralty
* Day 183: Fly away
* Day 182: last day in Kiwiland
* Day 181: Auckland
* Day 180: Bouncy pillow
* Day 179: Christchurch
* Day 178: Christchurch
* Day 177: Fairlie
* Day 176: Hooker valley
* Day 175: Mt Cook/Aoraki NP
* Day 174: Oamaru
* Day 173: Dunedin cafe culture
* Day 172: Taieri Gorge Railway
* Day 171: Otago Peninsula
March 01, 2005
Day 140: The Excitor...
Keiron and I got up at 8 (it's not all fun and games you know...) and after breakfast we took the ferry across to Paihia, a slightly bigger and more touristy town in the Bay.
Outside the office of the Excitor, we saw lots of people looking silly in red waterproof vests and lifesaver jackets and we soon joined them.
The Excitor III ('Don't ask what happened to the other two' our skipper joked) pulled in and we all piled on. This jetboat has 1600 horse power, 40 knot top speed, drinks 140 litre of petrol per hour per engine and has a 38 literage (a normal car being about 2.5). Not that all this means anything to me, but there you go.
We got our health and safety talk and were off, cruising along the bay, where there is a speed limit of 5 knots. We stopped in one of the bays where there was a nudist beach (the skipper telling us to close our eyes if we saw any and if it offended us) and we had time to walk through the Nautilu, a semi-submergible you can see the fish in. We were waiting for the helicopter to take off, as we were being filmed for Australian television. We could see it hovering over us occasionally and trying to get the best shots.
When we were off, we were met by the competition, Mack Attack, who went right in front of us and drenched the front rows, a game I am sure they have played before. We reached Percy Island, named by (then) Lieutenant James Cook (who discovered loads of places in the Pacific and is an inescapable figure around here) who thought he'd return the favour as Percy had been nice enough to let a mere lieutenant sail the Endeavour.
We went through the hole in the rock, twice for the film crew, and the skipper parked the boat in Cathedral Coive, which would take another 15000 years before you could go through it entirely ('but we are taking bookings, ladies and gentlemen') There were loads of fish around and the captain quipped: 'You may wonder why the crew don't wear life jackets. That's because life expectancy in these waters is about 2 minutes... (ominous pause)... because of the sharks. So if wedo capsize, the tourists can entertain the sharks floating around in their lifevests, while we can swim to shore'. The illusion of safety...
On the way back we saw some bottlenose dolhins frolicking around the boat, but they took off as soon as they heard the chopper. They dropped us off at Russell and we both agreed that for a boat with the name 'Excitor' it was all a bit sedate and we'd expected a bit more.
We had lunch at the Duke of Marlborough, the first licensed hotel in New Zealand (established in 1827). We had fish and chips, the fish being succulent dory, very nice. In the afternoon we did our laundry, sat on the swings and relaxed. We had a huge icecream and a duck and seagull were eying them up for scraps, but we left nothing...
Posted by Nathalie on March 1, 2005 07:02 AM
Category: New Zealand/Aotearoa
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