Ok, I have been bad. I am sorry. For all you know I could still be stuck in hurricane force winds on the beach in Fiji, but alas, I am not. I made it back to Whangarei, New Zealand just in time for the clouds to roll in and an icy wind to pipe up. And although the weather has been average as (as the Kiwis say), I am happy to be "home".
I had conflicting feelings about leaving Slow Dance and Fiji and in general. I would have been gutted to miss out on cruising to the Lau group and surf the epic waves Fiji has to offer, but I will be back in Fiji in a few months, so leaving was bearable. AND, I actually got to surf before I left Fiji - a totally unexpected bonus.
The backpackers I was staying in at Smuggler's Cove usually does not have any waves on the beach, but due to the high winds there were sloppy little wind waves breaking in front of the hostel. The night before my flight I was laying on my bunk feeling a bit sorry for myself, just wanting to pop a xanax and pass out until I had to leave.
Being that it was only about 6 PM I decided to cruise around the hostel and see if anything interesting was going on. I noticed some local guys stand up paddling on the waves and even though it was windy and rainy, I jumped into my bathing suit and went out to join them. They were not too keen to let me use a board for free, but I charmed them with my incessant pleading to take a board out and they relented.
Even though the waves and weather were crap, I was so stoked to get out in the water - as usual. Nothing changes my attitude like a surf, and I went from wanting to sleep all evening to ordering drinks from the pool and heckling the fire dancers who were putting on a tourist show. It was a good last night in Fiji, although I woke up with a pounding headache. My flight was on time and I was able to fly back to NZ without incident, and although I was tempted to get a drink at the bar before my flight (that is what living on Slow Dance will do to you) - I didn't.
I flew into Auckland and as the parents are road tripping around the South Island, I had nobody to greet me/pick me up from the airport. I took a bus into downtown Auckland but had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do. In complete honesty I was so partied out, so tired of traveling and meeting people and drinking and putting myself out there, I just wanted to go home to my nice cozy home - S/V Rutea.
Regardless, I followed the crowd of backpackers off the bus and into the ACB Backpackers in Auckland. I went into the lobby and checked the rates for a night's stay, but when I saw the huge pyramid of empty Jagermeister bottles and heard an announcement for free drinks for all the ladies for the next hour, I walked out. I had no desire to take part.
After trekking around the city for a while I found a bus that would take me right to Whangarei, hopped on, and fell asleep only to wake up right at the marina office. Although you might think I would be excited to have the boat to myself, I was very glad that my good friend Mark (from Merkava) is staying on the boat while his is torn apart. He was on the boat when I got home and it was very nice to have somebody to recount my crazy travels to. It was also very nice to fall asleep in my own bed.
For the past (almost) week now I have been cruising around Whangarei. I spent the weekend out at Ocean Beach with the lifeguards and while it was cold, cloudy, rainy, windy, and crap surf, I still had a good time. I know that I need to do something constructive/productive with the rest of my time in NZ, and am currently working on landing myself a little job, practicing to get my lifeguard award, and planning a little road trip to Raglan. I will keep you updated on how things go.
Here is a link to photos I posted on Facekook: