One of the greatest decisions I made was coming to New Zealand as the past eight months have been nothing but an amazing adventure. I am extremely grateful to Unitec Student Council for the opportunity I received as a Student Rep to attend the Under the Stars Cruise in the Bay of Islands over the weekend.
After our first stop at the magical Whangarei Falls, we were headed to sunny Paihia to board the Rock boat for our 22-hour cruise. The cruise was off to a good start with target paintball shooting and fishing. The highlight of the trip for me was going night kayaking, as a first timer I was really excited to kayak and the experience was simply enchanting. The dark waters with its unknown depths added an element of mysteriousness with only the light from the full moon to guide us as a group. As we made our way from the boat-house, our guide Michelle shared a bit of history as we laid back on our kayaks and admired the beautiful starry night sky and the fairy dust that made the water glow.
I woke up on Sunday, swaying gently to the waves that rocked the boat, ready for another day of adventure. Soon after breakfast, we were all set for snorkelling. Coming from Sri Lanka, an island surrounded by the ocean I couldn’t believe I haven’t tried snorkelling before. As far as I remember, I have always had bathophobia (fear of depth) but as I was ecstatic about snorkelling for the first time my excitement overtook my fear. The icy waters and watching others dive down to catch sea urchins was amazing. If the waters weren’t that cold I could have stayed out all day.
Our next adventure was at Motuarohia Island that had a viewing platform through a 15-minute hike up the hill. The climb was painful but then again I was the only one struggling (note to self “hit the gym!”). Mattie, Emma and a staff member from the boat took it slow for my sake and we finally reached the top. The view was worth the pain! Soon we were all exploring various parts of this breathtakingly beautiful island which had me thinking I never want to go back.
Another highpoint of the day was trying out Kina also known as Sea Urchins. We do have sea urchins back at home but I never knew it could be eaten let alone that it was a delicacy. Putting on my “you can do this” attitude as I held the kina roe on the palm of my hand, to my surprise it actually tastes real good. I can’t wait to go back home and look like a total boss when I chug down kina.
My only regret is that I missed out on seeing dolphins that had graced a few of us earlier that day. However, this only means that I need to go back someday! Finally, what made this trip a whole lot better was the people I went with, we had such a fun bunch who actively took part in each activity and set good vibes throughout the trip. My advice to all you reading this would be to push yourself to experience something new every chance you get for it is these experiences that make you discover who you are and enriches your soul.