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Yesterday evening we arrived at Ninety Mile Beach, which is a stretch of sandy beach on the northern tip of New Zealand.  I drove to the end of the gravel road and it stops at the beach with two steep rocky spurs offering the driver to go north or south.  Seeing how steep and jagged the ramp was, I decided it wasn't the wisest move to try and negotiate this with our Toyota camper van called the Jucy "Condo" and Carolyn also encourages me to park the van.
Intelligently, I turn around and park behind the enormous sand dunes and we get out and . . .

  walk to the sandy beach.  When I get out of the van there is a sign warning of the hazards of driving along this beach because, "many vehicles have been taken by the tide".  Yes, I did make a good decision.
     Standing on the beach is exhilarating and humbling at the same time.  The wind is blowing and the waves are crashing.  Here we are the four of us walking towards the Pacific and as far as the eye can see, there is endless beach bound by the Pacific on one side and these enormous sand dunes on the other. 
    The next morning after having breakfast we head back to the beach and Birch and Allegra are ready to jump into the Pacific.  When we get there Birch, Allegra and I change into our swim wear.  Carolyn, who has a good memory, (WINDY, WINDY, WINDY) politely declines and says she would like to catch up on some sleep.  The three of us run up the dune and WHOOSH the wind is blowing, the waves are crashing and yes it is SUNNY.  As we head towards the Pacific, we hear a sound, VROOM, a touring bus arrives with its cargo and drives down to the beach, stops and out come some other tourists.  They stand around with their cameras, take a few photos, jump back in and the driver heads north on the beach.  This is so weird seeing a vehicle drive on the beach: we don't do this in Canada!!!
    Now our feet are in the water and it is pretty cold, not west coast Pacific cold but cool none the less and yes the wind is blowing BUT it is sunny.  Birch is already waist deep.  Allegra and I make it to her knees, her belly button and we stand there, staring out.  Now Birch is already diving into the waves and motions us to come on.  Allegra says she is quite content jumping in the waves at this depth, so I move on towards Birch, it is cold, keep going, finally I jump under a wave and it's not so bad.  I reach Birch and we go out a little further to some bigger waves and start diving at them head first. After ten minutes I motion to Birch to head back and we ride a couple of waves back to shore.  Now I am standing out of the water and it is COLD, but SUNNY.  We ask Allegra if she wants to jump in further and she is quite happy getting only half wet.  Birch wants to go back in and so he does and Allegra and I watch him dive into the waves.
What a nice way to start our day.  I am grateful.
John


Jackie
10/22/2011 06:02:08 pm

What a beautiful picture! Sounds like your trip is off to a wonderful start - hope everyday is just as good!

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Danny
10/23/2011 06:29:12 pm

You paint a good picture. I could imagine it all. I like your last line...I am grateful. If you don't opt to sleep at historic places (hint!!!), you may just have a life altering trip. Keep up the blogs. Be careful, have fun...buy me a t shirt.

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Dagmar
10/23/2011 07:48:41 pm

Wow, this sounds and looks like an incredible trip! Love to all of you, Dagmar

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Dagmar
10/23/2011 07:52:58 pm

Forgot to add - one of my favourite New Zealand places was Kaikoura on the South Island. I also loved the Great Barrier Reef region and Melbourne in Australia.

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10/23/2011 08:21:45 pm

Hey where'd you go? Turned around and there you were: gone! Have a great trip and we'll follow your trip here. See if you can post geo co-ordinates.

PS: Really enjoyed having you (back) as our summer neighbours.

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Annette
10/23/2011 11:51:31 pm

Hi Carolyn,John,BIrch and Allegra,
what a great way to share your journey with us!I guess it is spring time where you are and it sounds fantastic!
We are all busy and well,I opened my practice 3 weeks ago,
with lots and lots and lots of love
the McCalls


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Ross & Barb
10/24/2011 12:11:55 pm

Good for you guys to do this.
We did it 54 years ago -.
Keep making good decisions !
Enjoy each minute !

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Becki Salmon
10/25/2011 11:19:24 pm

Yeah!!!!

I was so happy to get your e-mail. Excellent way to start the trip. Bowen misses all of you, including our fluffy black friend, but the world is so lucky to have you out there exploring.

Love to you all!!! Bret will check in with Allegra soon!

xoxoxoxoxo b

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