Wednesday, 21 March 2012

St. Patrick's Day on Waiheke Island

Jess and I finally organized our schedules so that we can have Saturday’s off together. This past Saturday we decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Waiheke Island, (See previous Waiheke post: Waiheke Island). Jess found a ferry trip and car rental deal so that we could afford our usual food and drink treats.

We picked up our Shamrock colored Mazda Familia and set off driving around the island. It is actually pretty tricky navigating, if you make a wrong turn you’ll end up on the other side of the island. The benefit to getting lost is that every part of the island is cool and not very far from your final destination may be.
Eventually we made our way to Onetangi Beach. It is one of the larger beaches on the island and we were dreading the potential crowds. We lucked out because we were the only people there.

It was a beautiful morning and we decided that we would try Stand Up Paddle Boarding- SUP. SUP is the world fastest growing water sport because of the easy learning curve. All you need is balance, agility and a reasonable level of fitness. Unfortunately I have none of the prerequisites and a bad ankle to boot. We have wanted to try SUP for years since seeing it in Hawaii. We rented equipment from “Fabio”, who gave us vague instructions to paddle up wind to avoid being blown too far from the entry point. We, of course, suck at following instructions and were quickly blown down the beach. The water was choppy and the wind picked up as we went along. Jess being Jess was up and paddling around like she’d been doing it forever. I ended up learning all the painful and embarrassing ways to eject myself from the surface of the board. My specialty is the “Face-Plant-and-Roll” followed by the “How-is-the-Surface-of-This-Thing-Like-Standing-on-Ice-in-a-Tsunami?” By the time we were both more comfortable we had drifted most of the way down the beach and the wind was only getting worse. We both caught a couple waves and headed into shore. This was the first St. Patrick’s day where I spent a considerable amount of time on my knees without spewing green beer. We both really enjoyed SUP and plan on going again here in Auckland.

(Jess: Look where Jeff is... I could have been attacked by sharks and he wouldn't have known)

After working up an appetite we hit the road in search of food, wine, and beer or any combination of the three. Luckily we came across “Wild on Waiheke”, a vineyard/brewery with a restaurant. This place has great atmosphere and food. I started my lunch with local ale and a “Drunken Oyster”. Apparently I am one of the only people who think that throwing an Oyster in your beer is a genius idea (I ended up having two and only stopped because I was driving). I got a fancy steak sandwich and Jess went for the pizza. We try to include as much “Food Porn” as we can since my Pops complained about the number of food pics.  

After our late lunch we headed to Palm Beach and stumbled onto the “Nude” area. It was pretty cool but I decided to keep my Shamrock in my pants. Jess also decided to keep her Four Leaf Clover hidden for better weather. I guess we’ll have to make another trip to Waiheke...

Monday, 12 March 2012

Auckland Dolphin Safari

When we first arrived in Auckland we thought we would do the tourist thing and go on a Dolphin Safari. We got on board and 5 hours later didn't see a thing. We were issued a voucher to try again, and this second round was a great success!

This cool fish was created entirely of old flip flops and flippers.
This has nothing to do with the safari, we just saw it on our way to the boat this day.

Just moments after Jeff left for a washroom break the captain announced his first sighting and we all rushed up to the front of the boat to see flipper and his friends.
Once we came upon this dolphin gang, (about 2-3 hours into our trip), we had to act fast. They were tricky to get on camera, but we managed to capture some great moments. They really liked to speed in front of the boat. Show offs...
All in all we came across three groups of dolphins. We were able to get close to two sets, but the third was in a large eating frenzy and the captain didn't want to get too close and disrupt their meal with the birds above and sharks below.

An island that we passed on our way back into Auckland. You can see the tip of the sky tower in the background.

Two happy sailors.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Ten Years Together!!!

It was ten years ago that I met the girl that would become my best friend, wife, and the love of my life. Here are some good pics, in no particular order. As you can see I change a alot (mostly getting fat) and Jess is always beautiful.