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Vanesa/ Nicole’s Travel Diary

Monday, 02 Nov 2009

Location: Whitianga, New Zealand

MapNicole being the event planner that she is made sure that we had lots of activities planned for Vanesa’s Birthday. It was looking like it was going to be a long, but good day. We started off at 7:00 a.m., the alarm went off. I think we need 10 more minutes of sleep, sounds good. 9:00 a.m., what happened to our alarm? That’s okay, we are only two hours behind. Eggs, toast, strawberries, Nicole made a fantastic breakfast. With the finale being a banana bread cake which was to die for. Now we are off, walking to Cathedral Cove. So apparently we highly overestimated the size of the island, we seriously underestimated the length of this walk. After walking for 1 hour and 15 minutes all up hill (Boy we are going to have strong glutes by the end), it began to rain and a very kind elderly couple picked us up and drove us the rest of the way to the cove. Apparently we were only half way there, who knew it was that far away. Once at the parking lot it appeared that the weather was not going to turn around, it was cold and windy and we still had an additional 45 minute hike through the forest to the cove. After walking as far as we did there was no way that the weather was going to keep us from seeing the cove. After about 5 minutes of hiking the clouds parted and it became one of the nicest days we have had thus far. The weather here is kind of like Alberta if you don’t like it wait 5 minutes and it will change.

Cathedral Cove is one of the most beautiful places we have seen. It comes in a close second to the Northland – Bay of Islands. White sand, amazing rock cuts, and aqua blue water make up this secluded paradise. After sun tanning and walking around it was tradition for Vanesa to go swimming on her birthday. The ocean was not quite as cold as an Ontario lake in late October, but it was pretty close. 45 minute hike back it is now time for some cold beverages. On our way into the cafe we heard this out of place squawking noise. To our surprise it was a parrot sitting on the shoulder of the owner. Nicole fell in love once again, this time with the parrot. His name was Piaoff and he was left behind by a Canadian who couldn’t take him back to Canada with him. Nicole and Piaof became instant friends. He even posed for some pictures.

Okay, time to walk back home. After we got a ride to the main road we had a long hike back to the cafe. We calculated that we walked approximately 28 – 30 km during the day, we are going to be sore tomorrow. When we returned Paul and Jason had made Vanesa a delicious carrot cake. They sang happy birthday and we sat and hung out for a bit before we were off to our next activity. Youth Group, this was Vanesa’s first primal experience. It was a team challenge evening. It is incredible to see 50 youth out participating in the activities and interacting with one another. That is not something that you see often in Canada. Who knew Vanesa would be playing tug of war on her birthday? Yes, the kids did beat the leaders.

If you thought that was the end of our evening, you are terribly wrong. We told you, long day. Our evening was spent hanging out with our new friends, going out dancing and playing some pool.

Working the next day was a little interesting as we used little muscles the day before that we do not usually use. From the walk our calves and glutes were a little bit sore (remember, we did walk 28 – 30 km uphill), as long as we kept on moving and didn’t stop, we were okay.