it’s the last day of our trip and we’re sitting at the wharf, waiting for our ferry back to the mainland:
there is a thin layer of dust covering everything in the car, the outside is worse…
we have sun and wind burnt faces, dirty feet, and the mister is sporting a six-day beard….
earlier this month, we holidayed on Great Barrier Island.
we caught the car ferry over, laden with food and camping gear.
4.5 hours of sun, wind, ocean
common dolphins come to play in the waves at the bow of the ferry
then bottle-nosed dolphins a little later
both times, i’d just been meditating on dolphins, asking them to visit and i wonder if they came because of it
or if that is arrogance to even imagine
our campsite chosen from reading a few descriptions online – it turns out we chose the best one. there’s big old trees and plenty of shelter, a babbling stream behind us and kaka screeching in the trees above us. noisy, funny, beautiful parrots.
there’s so much to do here that it’s difficult to relax, but we do try. this place feels like part of new zealand but with a heartbeat of it’s very own. the people here are super-friendly and relaxed, and everyone seems to choose practicality over style (summery tops cover swimwear, t-shirts, jandals, sunblock and hats).
we make friends with another couple on the campsite – we speak of home-made cheese, pickling parties, gardening, how beautiful this place is.
most days, we drive to where a road ends, then walk… sometimes it’s a beach, sometimes it’s native bush.
we pack a lunch, set off early(ish) and climb to the top of mt. hobson,
along the ridgelines
climbing staircases that feel like they go on forever upwards
a 360degree view of the island is our reward
we delightfully discover the community gardens, picking a few veges to take home, leaving a koha (donation) in the box
and a sandcastle competition
we swim in the sea,
and in the cold pool beneath the waterfall at the end of warren’s track,
and (just before twilight) we take a brisk 30-minute walk in the bush to have a quiet soak in the natural hot springs at kaitoke.
we chat to locals..
+ a grandfather who came and never left,
+ a granddaughter who grew up here,
+ a wood carver that has lived here for 35+ years.
we wonder if there is a place here for us,
if we will tell our stories to island visitors some years down the line,
this island gets under our skin, into our blood
little remnants of it coming home in our memories.
wild wind and sea water tangle my hair,
my thoughts – flotsam and jetsam – like things washed up by the tide,
i dream of conversations with feather and bone,
barefoot, a bee sting (sorry bee),
kina shells – one, two, three, four
kaka + pateke + banded rail + tui feathers into my bag, for my altar