Our first stop was to meet Tony More, my “best mate” here in NZ. We took his boat out to a spot on the Waikato river for some waterskiing and a ride on “the biscuit” with Liz and Elias. We tied up the boat at the river edge, and Tony guided us up a stream of warm water, through suck-in-your-gut narrow rock walls, finally arriving at a waterfall of thermal hot water. This was one of the most incredible, unspoiled true Kiwi natural wonders we’ve seen. Liz and I are pretty sure Tony is trying to convince us to move back to Taupo.
Before you can actually think about spearing a fish, you have to figure out how to snorkel and dive. We cruised our boat to a location that was about twelve feet deep. Diving below about six feet put serious pressure on my ears, which took about an hour to final equalize. After that I could pretty comfortably dive down to look for fish, but only saw a couple and didn’t spear any. But I got some cool underwater video (thanks GoPro!). Altogether our group got about thirty-five fish, which was up from the total of six from last year, so we felt pretty good about that. Until we went to the weigh-in and a young lady who said it was her first time showed up with 101 fish by herself. So yeah, low expectations were appropriate. Still, a sunny warm day in a crystal clear lake with a fun group of guys wasn’t the worst way to spend a Saturday.
While I was out pretending to spearfish, Liz and the boys spent the day catching up with old friends. She met up at the lakefront with the Russells, Goddards, and the Meikles. I met back up with them at Tony and Jo More’s for dinner. Elias and Cohen played with Matt and Dan More and George and James Russell, until Dan got smashed somehow on the trampoline, resulting in a broken distal radius and ulna. A quick trip to the Taupo ED, and Dan was back shortly with a cool new splint.
Next day we went to one of our favorite spots on Lake Taupo. It’s a short little hike to Whakamoenga point, a rocky outcropping with spectacular views toward the mountains. Despite the cold waters, Liz was determined to have a swim, and Elias was excited to snorkel a bit. We spent the rest of that afternoon with Graeme and Susan Smith. Their middle daughter Grace is Elias’s age and they have kept in contact via skype over the years. Their youngest is Calvin, who is Cohen’s age. They were all fast friends, as if they had never been apart. Graeme has gotten into leather works, and had my birthday present waiting for me: a Smith Brothers original designed leather jacket that Liz ordered for my several month ago. I feel like I’m ready for a bar fight now.
I had to head back to Rotorua so I could be at work early the next morning. Liz and the boys stayed another night at More’s. We were all exhausted by the end of the weekend, but it was great to catch up with old friends making new memories.