Just arrived back on ship after a lovely jaunt into Pahai, Bay of Islands, NZ.
Once you look around, the name of the location is obvious. There are islands everywhere; 118 is the official count. Hole in the Rock being the iconic symbol of the area and Russell being the settlement site of the first Europeans.
After yesterday’s rush for everyone to get off ship in Aukland I decided that I would attempt to take the first tender out. It should have been obvious to me at the beginning but struck home rapidly after I arrived in town. There was no rush for the tender and no lines. Nothing in town (other than the coffee shops) open before 0900 normally and often 1000 on a Sunday. Getting a coffee was not an issue. WiFi on the other hand was not associated with coffee shops. The one location which sold access was not open on Sunday.
But there were local crafts persons and the occasional souvenir peddler who opened early so I was able to write and mail off post cards before having to decided on activities. After wandering around what is essentially a small community (population ~3k if you include the whole bay area) I caught the ferry over to Russell. There were the usual seagulls tracking us, but also got to see a cormorant or two. It is likely the Europeans landed and chose to settle on that particular island because the Maori as a group were not there.
Besides the museum, the old mission (French) and dozens of houses dating from the late 1800s there were also shops and cafes galore. Again – internet is not them. The only place in town which had it didn’t do WiFi and mentioned that people with Macs had serious issues connecting. I think I understand why when they offered me a USB to old iPad connection and said it should work with my Airbook (not).
(and now you know why there are no photos at the moment).
Off I went again being a tourist, taking a few photos and enjoying the scents of a couple of gardens. Eventually taking the ferry back, I walked back to the tender docking area rather than riding the free shuttle bus. The driver in that morning had been hysterically funny – New Zealand had triumphed over Australia the previous night in Rugby….. so we got to listen to Aussie jokes and a couple of fan cheering tracks over the bus PA. If I had seen his bus, I might have boarded again, but figured the walk would do me good.
I stopped at first the park where there were carvings representing various significant elders/warriors over the years. Quite interesting, some of the carving is obviously representational. After looking at them – I wonder how the English settlers reacted especially since it seems that the carvers were clearly exemplifying the manliness of the chiefs. across the inlet and past the local boat docks, I arrived at the treaty grounds (where the peace treaty between the late invaders and the earlier settlers was signed. Since the Maori actually settled in ~700-800 CE it is not like either group was really native. More like a question of possession, weapons and once again – religion. Not that a simple discussion ever solved the problem of who controls what.) Since there were some ropes up around both the totems and the central treaty rock, I stayed out of the center figuring there was a reason. Not so other tourists.
It was a brisk ride back to the ship on the tender.
The sun is still shining and I think I will put on some more sun block and catch a few rays.
(photos to follow when I have the band-width and you will understand my comments about the well endowed statues)