The road to Whakatane

I had been in Napier for 8 days now – it was time to head out. The morning of my departure I didn’t have a certain direction so I just picked one at relative random given my location – Mt. Ruapehu. I’d try snowboarding in New Zealand before the ski slopes closed. While there a few days, I’d look for my next WWOOF/HelpX host in the centers of Taupo or Rotorua, 1-2 hours to the north of Mt. Ruapehu. As I piled my stuff into my car, my phone rang. It was a call-back from a telephone interview I had for the day before – I got the position, starting in 4 days! Since I’d be working in the shadow of Mt. Ruapehu and would have numerous chances to hit the slopes before the season closed in November, I quickly changed my plans…and checked the weather forecast for Whakatane. You may recall that Whakatane was where I attempted to step foot onto an active marine volcano, but the weather cancelled the tours. Forecast – Sunny, clear, calm winds and warm. Off I went.

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Take me out to the ball-game…

One of the things I had looked forward to doing while in Napier was to see my very first Rugby game, and one that featured Canada to boot. I avoided buying a ticket before getting to Napier, just in case I didn’t make it in time to see a game. It turned out I was in town 7 days before the game against Japan, so I had lots of time to get everything in order. One problem – the game sold out 2 days before I got to Napier!

So I tried my best to find a ticket before the game – I scoured the internet for tickets, I went back to the ticket agent in Napier daily, just in case more tickets became available, and I asked around at the hostel and posted a notice on their board. All to no avail. No tickets were forthcoming.

After looking for 7 days, it was 3 hours before kickoff and I was still without a ticket. So now it was to the old fashioned way – standing outside the stadium and hope to find someone with an extra ticket. Since I disliked the idea of constantly yelling to find a ticket, I created a simple billboard using the cardboard of one of my granola bar boxes. I just wish I took a picture of the thing, it was a work of art. This is a close recreation.

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Kidnapping Gannets

Cape Kidnappers has 2 things that make it one of the main tourist attractions in Hawke’s Bay – Great and unique scenery, and Gannets. You may recall I saw some Gannets out in Muriwai, on the west coast of New Zealand. Cape Kidnappers is a much larger spot for Gannets during nesting season, which is approaching now.

The thing about getting to Cape Kidnappers? You can only go at certain times, determined by the tide. The day I went, I had to start my walk at 815am. The DOC estimated time for the hike there and back was 4-5 hours, which for once, proved to be about right since it was 16km round trip, including some good uphills at the far end. Since I’m usually up before 7am anyways, this wasn’t too big a deal though.

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Everything happens on the same day

1. Hiked to Cape Kidnappers and saw Boobie relatives (Gannets). 8km each way.

2. Had telephone interview during return hike.

3. Returned to car to find battery dead.

4. After about an hour, found another car with jumper cables. Got boost.

5. Checked one last time in vain for Canada/Japan rugby tickets. Still sold out.

6. Went to stadium with cardboard sign reading ‘Looking to buy 1 Ticket (Canada Flag)’. I should have taken a picture.

7. Within 15 minutes scored a $72 ticket (highest price) for $40, with 2 kiwi ladies and 1 husband. Other husband had been called into work.

8. Proceeded to drink a lot with new kiwi friends as Canada and Japan played a hard fought match…to a draw. Sounds like a soccer match, but it certainly wasn’t – 23-23 was the score. And the beards were out en force.

9. Going to bed early because of exhaustion. Will update more thoroughly tomorrow. Where I might be for that update – still to be determined. This is my last night in Napier, where I go from here is still to be decided. Something to figure out tomorrow morning. For now, sleep. Before the horrible snoring person returns, whom has cost me many hours of sleep the last 2 nights, despite my ipod and earplugs (justifiable homicide?). Gnight!

Hiking to Te Mata Peak

While I had driven to the peak of Te Mata a few days back, it just left me wanting to hike the darn thing, on a beautiful sunny day. Today was that day. After getting new brake pads on my car (just kind of necessary maintenance given the hills here), I headed south of Napier, back to Te Mata. This time I parked at the base car park and took a look at the map. 

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Back in Canada

At least, one can be mistaken from time to time here in Napier.

Right outside my hostel and up and down the nearby street, Canadian flags are flying everywhere. There were also pictures of the Loonie in store windows – something about a contest. Heck, I don’t think WE fly the flag this often in Canada. It’s all very enjoyable – Napier hosts 2 Rugby World Cup games, featuring Canada both games, against France and Japan. Other streets have done themselves up in a similar French or Japanese fashion. And the town has the distinction of selling out both of their games. Unfortunately, I’ve still been unable to find a ticket for myself, and the game day is only 2 days away now. Not looking good, but worst case I hit a pub that night and enjoy what should be a good match between evenly matched teams. I’m holding out a little hope still, but it’s waning by now.

Pushing Boundaries

A few days delayed getting this one up, but a couple days ago I awoke to a gorgeous sunny day. Having sufficiently rested from the hiking Steff and I had done on our way to Napier, I packed my daypack with a banana, several granola bars, filled my water, and added extra weight – my laptop, AC adapter, Kindle, extra sweater, and a light jacket. I was on a mission – do a half-day (4-6 hour), relatively strenuous hike.

I hadn’t made mention of my hip bursitis recently because I had hoped that it was fully in the past. There are still twinges of pain every now and then during steep ascents, but nothing lasting nor debilitating. But all of my hikes in the last few weeks had been of the 1-2 hour max. I needed something to test my legs out a bit more thoroughly, along with getting used to carrying weight on my back/shoulders for longer periods of time. What I needed was an endurance hike – I found it at Boundary Stream Reserve.

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