March 28 - Sand Surfing
We left Opua at dawn, traveling up to Cape Reinga with our friends Martin and Angela of sv Katie-M II. There wasn't much traffic on the road, and we made good time to the northern most light house in New Zealand. There's a lot of Maori influence in the area, and many of the rocks and promontories are annotated in informational placards along the trail to the lighthouse. North Cape, a few miles to the east, is actually the northern most point of land in NZ, but the Cape Reinga lighthouse has been around a long time, is now automated, and the view is where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet. We then went to the Te Paki 'Giant' Sand Dunes, which are natural mountains of sand stretching over a large area. You bring or rent a boogie board that has been fiberglassed on the bottom, and then start the arduous climb up a 50 degree hill that is, at least the dune we rode down, 62 meters high. It doesn't sound like much until you finally get up there, but looking down the slope, using your feet as rudders to surf down the dune face, and taking off with the sand blowing past you as you realize you're gaining speed, is an exhilarating rush. After eating lunch at Tapotupotu Bay, we drove over to 90 Mile Beach, where you can drive your car the 90 mile length of sand, but you had better pay close attention to the tide; many cars have been stranded as the tide rose and the sand became too soft to drive thru. As an alternative, we chose to park nearby and walk a bit of the beach to do some shelling. After, we started back to Opua, but stopped at Manganui for a fish and chips dinner. OK now, who else wants to go sand surfing?
Pic: Michael is heading down...you can't see the finish, but it's at the bottom by a sm. creek. There was a tour bus there when we did our slides. Angela took the pictures of us-Thanks!