My second day on the Stray travel bus brought us into the town of Raglan, known as the best surf town in New Zealand, and I must say, I agree. We drove onto the lodge grounds, were told to hurry check in and change so that we could get in a land lesson about surfing before heading out to the beach and getting in the water. I had a lesson earlier this year, but still found myself nervous as I walked with the rest of the group up the hill to the lesson building. We were shown a 1, 2, 3, 4 stepping up method that had me thinking too much and I found that once we got out into the water I was worrying too much about my balance instead of just letting it happen. Though I did stand up and ride a couple waves, I do think the best thing about that day was the picture of me doing my best Pamela Anderson beach run.
Less than a week later I was back on the travel bus and onto the Waitomo Caves, which I think was the coolest thing to be in a wet suit for. The area has underground caves; systems I don’t even want to know how people figured out were there and set up the route visitors would take. Through the company, Waitomo Adventures, you were able to take different adventures, such as TumuTumu Toobing, Haggas Honking Holes, and Lost World. I went with the 8/10 Rambo rating Haggas Honking Holes, and even though I’ve never done any sort of abseiling or rock climbing, I felt I was up for the challenge. And again in a wet suit, I was making my way down with the group to caves, which we discovered were very much needed after saw the waves of steam rising from our bodies. This is not an adventure for people who are: scared of heights, fearful of water, timid of the dark, or in any way claustrophobic. I am stupid enough not to worry about any of those things and thus I found myself propelling down a 20 meter waterfall, crawling through a narrow tunnel in water up to my up to my wrist, and climbing my way up a rock wall. It was the most tiring thing I have done in that amount of time, but well worth it in the end when I climbed out on the ladder into the light and didn’t collapse on the ground due to exhaustion (mainly because I knew I wouldn’t have been able to make myself get back up and walk up the hill if I did).
The next morning’s activity was white water rafting, and this time I had putting on the wet suit like a pro. This time it wasn’t needed as much as the first two times, I kinda just put it on because it was there and I could. Plus you never know when it will be better to wear one than not.
Rafting was so awesome, a rush I can’t wait to experience again! A quick tutorial and we were in the raft floating down a class 5 river. Our group picked it up fairly quickly, though I will say there were some scary points, such as when one girl found herself going head first into the river…and this was after we went over the 6 meter drop and had no one fall out.
All in all, it was a great and adventure packed week of wet suit fun. And even though the whole pull, tug, and shimmy of getting in and out of the suits is time consuming and a little embarrassing, I look forward to getting back out there and trying my hand at perfecting the fastest and least humiliating way of getting into a wet suit.