Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Island Hopping

After a thoroughly enjoyable few days on the Barrier with Clem, we made our way back to Auckland by way of a flight and a bus from the airport to Queen Street ready to set off towards our New Year's plans on Waiheke Island.

A flatmate of my best friend Charlie had offered to host a group of us at her dad's place out there so we decided we'd all have a backyard campout in true kiwi style to see in 2015.

Clem and I organised our tickets for the ferry over and killed time shopping for last minute camping supplies before we were supposed to meet up with Charlie and board. He ended up running slightly later than planned so we weren't sure for a while whether we'd make the boat we were hoping for or if we'd have to wait on the next one. He ended up getting there right on time for us to all board together which was helpful for navigation purposes once we got to the other side.

With a conspicuous and uncomfortable amount of gear with us, we found ourselves a few seats on the boat to spread across and settled in. Charlie and I got set up with a couple of beers from the bar/tuck shop thing because there's nothing better than drinking on a boat in the midst of a glorious summer day.

He had a bit to talk about, having just spent a significant amount of time with his other half's family, who I'm pretty sure he'd only just met. She's an Aucklander so I guess he figured the Waiheke plan was a good excuse to tie in spending some time in Auckland and meeting her folks.

On the other side, we offloaded ourselves and our stuff, eventually finding our way to the correct bus stop to get us where we needed to be. This is where having Charlie there came in handy. I had very little idea of where we were supposed to be going or how best to get there. He at least had a vague idea and knew what bus we needed to be on.

Fortunately for us the bus stop we needed was right at the end of the line so there wasn't a lot of real effort involved in finding our way there. We arrived to find the other handful of our people chilling out in a giant marquee which fit a couple of couches, a food table, an air mattress and all of our gear with ample room to move about.

We spent what was left of the day which wasn't a huge expanse of time chatting, drinking and setting up sleeping arrangements (tent in the back yard). Charlie and I took a bit of a walk later on after it got dark which gave me a better idea of the geography around us and ended up down on the beach chatting for a while which was nice. 

The next day was December 31st and absolutely stunning weather-wise. We decided we'd do something with the day and catch the bus into the town-y part of the island where most of the shops and cafes seemed to be to get lunch and spend some time at the beach. 

We wandered around a bit before finally all agreeing to duck into a very busy restaurant where if memory serves correctly Charlie met up with us, having left to collect his other half Lucy who'd just arrived across from auckland on the ferry.

It was a nice spot to sit for a while, with a lovely outdoor area which had a table capable of seating us all (I think there were 8 of us all up) and allowed for a good amount of people watching. We sat and chatted for a bit over a light lunch and a few drinks before clearing out and heading down to the beach not far from there.

There was a bit of a breeze coming through at this point but a few of us were still game to go swimming. I didn't stay in long but it was nice to get some time in the ocean, having grown up spending significant portions of my Summer in and around it. In recent years I've been doing less and less ocean swimming in the Summer months and I definitely miss the feel of salt water on my skin when I've not been in for a good while.

After our swim, we got dried off and headed back over to the house. We organised a troupe to take part in an excursion the the local liquor store and service station to stock up for the night by way of several of us crammed into a four seater car.

With ample supplies acquired we set ourselves up back in our marquee with good music run through a halfway decent speaker and settled in to our intimate celebration of the New Year. 

As the night rolled on and we arrived at the all important moment of truth that is the countdown, I found myself flat on my back in the dewy grass outside the marquee in the most wonderful state of inebriation imaginable. I was with it enough to participate in the countdown and share a New Year's kiss with the woman I love but out of it enough to fully appreciate the magic of the moment, to feel the joy of new beginnings as they should be felt whenever the December 31st clock strikes midnight and rings in January 1st.

Clem, Charlie, Lucy and I all left the next day once everyone had fully woken up and we'd organised our things enough to pack the tent. We'd had a great couple of days on the island but having constantly been in close quarters with other people for the past week or so, I was looking forward to having some decent one on one hangout time with Clem.

We said our goodbyes to the rest of the group, the four of us took the same boat back to Auckland and we all got lunch together at Mad Mex before going our separate ways. It was a nice end to one of the best New Year's celebrations I've yet experienced and it was nice to spend a bit more time with Charlie and Lucy getting to know them as a couple as well.

Our celebration on Waiheke was one I will remember and tell stories of for many year's yet. It was the perfect way to see in 2015 and the group of people that were there are an awesome bunch of humans. I hope next New Year's is at least half as cool as this one was.

The next post here will be about my explorations in Auckland in the early days of January 2015.

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