|Up at 6am to catch the bus to Waitomo, a little town near the west coast about four hours south of Auckland. After a sleep ride and a 1.5km walk to the hostel, I settled in there and around 12pm, walked over to the Legendary Blackwater Rafting Company.
At 1pm, nine people gathered to embark on an adventure called the "Black Abyss". (Read all about this in the entry "Waitomo Caves".) We returned from the caves around 6pm to some hot food and drink - much needed and enjoyed I might add.
Tonight was pretty quiet at the hostel ... no-one felt much like chatting - so we were all given to a movie before calling it a night.
This afternoon, I met a couple of English blokes who were on a week's "shore leave". They were part of the crew of one of the boats in the "Global Challenge". The Global Challenge is an around-the-world yacht race, like the Whitbread I believe, except that it runs in the opposite direction. This means contrary to the prevailing ocean currents and winds which makes it somewhat more difficult I expect. The race starts in Portsmouth, England, and ends there 10 months later via South America, Wellington (NZ), Sydney (Australia), Capetown (South Africa), and La Rochelle (France). They said they are one or two crew short and don't leave for another couple of weeks. I got the email address of the company to see if it is possible to join the crew from Wellington to Sydney.
Postscript: I did email Global Challenge and they replied a week later saying that there wasn't enough time to put me through the various tests I would have to complete in order to join the crew. Oh well, perhaps another year. They did say they have another global race starting in 2006/7 called the Bluewater Challenge and the next Global Challenge is 2008/9.
"Picturesque country" - Typical view of the countryside between Auckland and Waitomo.
"Juno Hall" - The hostel where I stayed two nights. The Legendary Blackwater Rafting Company is across the road behind me.
"The hostel's grounds" - Shot of Juno Hall from the road showing (almost) the grounds around it and the paddock with the horses they used for horse-riding tours.