Friday, January 18, 2008

Of New Zealand Summer and Irrational Fears

Whitianga Estuary. Five images stitched, High Dynamic Range.

I was lucky and unlucky this week. Lucky to be able to get away and go and stay, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of New Zealand. But unlucky in that I was only able to get away for two days, and not two weeks or more!

I went down to visit my father and his wife of 30 years. They sold up everything about 15 years ago, and moved down to Whitianga, a small seaside town on the east coast of New Zealand, on the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula. Now that old age has crept up on them, and that Whitianga doesn’t have a hospital, they have their house on the market and are returning to Auckland to be nearer good medical facilities, so they don’t have to drive around the country every time they have an appointment with a specialist.

View of Estuary from house. Six images stitched together.

Whangapoua Beach Entrance with Pohutakawa Tree

The Coromandel Peninsula is the land of one lane bridges, of pristine countryside, farms, and thick New Zealand Bush. It has miles and miles of turquoise coastline that glitters like jewels in the summer sun, with golden or white sands. Beautiful clear rivers lined with rocks full of crystals, huge hills that offer fabulous views, winding roads, and sparse population. It’s really quite something, and I’m going to miss visiting once the house is sold.

View from top of hill looking toward Coromandel Township. Two images stitched together.

My visit this week, was all the more beautiful, as we’re basking in a fantastic summer this year – gentle sea breezes, not too much humidity, and fantastic blue skies with the odd puffy white cloud. And it’s hot – temperatures are ranging between 27 and 32 C. So visiting the beaches are a must.
Whangapoua Beach looking north.

After our train trip (as per last entry), we called in to Whangapoua Beach on the way home to have a look. I love this beach. It’s not too big, and the water is crystal clear to swim in. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my togs, so I had to suffice in wading in knee deep instead to cool down. I was quite happy with this, as to be perfectly honest, I don’t enjoy swimming as much as I used to when I was younger. It has a lot to do with the fact that I have to take my implant off, and once this is off, I’m totally utterly deaf. I don’t even hear anything without it on at the 140db mark. That’s like lying underneath a jet plane taking off. Sure – my eyes rattle, but I don’t hear anything!

With this, there is a fear. And like most fears, it is totally irrational. I’m afraid that I won’t hear the sharks coming. Yeah yeah – I know, I know, I wouldn’t anyway, but there it is. No more irrational than the fear of spiders in New Zealand when none of our spiders are poisonous. No more irrational than the fear of snakes when we don’t have any. No more irrational than the fear of wide open spaces. But still irrational.

Funnily enough, I will swim in the sea when there is another person with me, someone that can hear those darn sharks! But what’s weird, is that this fear also applies to swimming pools, when I’m alone in the pool. Weird! I wonder if it’s just simply part of being a bottled blonde?

Back to Whangapoua Beach – I had my feet in the water, and I took heaps of photographs. The surf was quite something and there were lots of people in the water with and without boogie boards, diving under the waves and body surfing. I really did want to swim that day, but I wasn’t going to strip to pants and bra as there were slightly too many people around!

Surfers enjoying the Surf and looking for sharks! Whangapoua Beach.

After a while, we headed back to Kauatunu Beach and stopped for an icecream in a cone. One of the few dairies that still offer this service, and they are really really generous with their servings. Because most places are usually stingy, I decided as it was so hot, to have a double scoop. It ended up being a weight watchers special – looks like there was about a whole litre of icecream in the two scoops!!! Very nice on such a hot day.

The next day Dad bought the front page of our newspaper to me to show me the following article..

Traffic Jams at Matarangi and Whangapoua Beach!!

Perhaps my fear is not so irrational afterall???

Taking a Breath or has a Shark got her foot?


kw said...

Beautiful Pics!! Just Fabulous! And I'm sitting here feeling so cold cuz we have snow on the ground, so it was delightful to hear about your hot summer swim at the beach.

Bron said...

Well! I thought my fear of movies was weird... but sharks in a swimming pool!!???!!!!