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Posts Tagged ‘Taupo Bay’

So but a few weeks later we were back at Taupo Bay again.  (with a trip to actual Taupo in between, but that’s for another post).

Another lovely stay, totally decompressed, fantastic food, company and fun.

My personal highlight of this trip was the metre long sand Lego man (see photo below!) getting some early morning and late night photography action in and driving most of the way home old skool (i.e. no DVD player running).  Back to games and chatting.  Eye Spy, Word Association, making up words to the Star Wars theme and on.

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Not to be confused with actual Taupo… the town next to the huge lake in central north island.  Taupo bay is due north and about 4 hours away.  It’s a small group of houses and bachs on a lovely crescent bay with no mobile reception.  The waves roll in and the sand is fine and golden.  Sunsets and sun rises have the potential to be oil paintings by over enthusiastic beginners.  Nature appears to not understand that too much saturation is a bit gaudy.  It just goes for it.

It was such a fantastic break, playing games and cards, walking on the beach, body boarding and eating and drinking.  I tried to surf our new kayak on some waves with about 1.5 metre faces.  Doesn’t sound much does it.  Pretty daunting when they are hurtling towards you.  I stuck to some of the bubbly white stuff at first and that was a hairy ride for a beginner but I managed to stay upright.  I got completely dumped by the second wave due to poor timing and indecision.  A lack of commitment here earns you a thumping.  I caught a few more then thought I heard a crack in the paddle.  On reflection it was probably just my nerve going.

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Paihia to Russell

The most usual way of getting from Paihia to Russell (or more accurately from Russell to Paihia) is on a boat.  But once a year a bunch of salt-obsessed, neoprene clad freaks hurl themselves into the water to make the 3.3km crossing entirely under their own steam.

The Bay of islands is spectacular.  There’s no point in mincing words, it’s just lovely.  Paihia and Russell face each other across a big chunk of water, Paihia on the South western side and Russell to the North East.  Russell was once the capital of New Zealand before moving to Auckland and eventually ending up in it’s current home, Wellington.

This event was the first of the Ocean Swim series which I have taken part in for the last three years.   A small group of us have been training all the way through the winter in an attempt to hit the season in good shape.  It appears this worked better for some of us than others.

The conditions for the swim could not have been better.  The sun was shining in the blue sky and the water was flat calm – unheard of according to the locals.

My swim started off very well.  I was using a pacing device to keep a regular stroke rate and kept up a good pace for me for the first two km.  Then as I could see the far shore come closer my dreaded nemesis returned.  My leg cramps were uncomfortable but not fully developed.  I could feel my legs were in a ‘pre-cramp’ state that is still very painful but not that solid, full contracted painful that I know will happen if I make a wrong move.  this means my stroke has to slow, so I don’t have to kick as hard so I can manage the situation.  This means I finish the last km at a much slower pace, dropping right back.  In the end I managed 1h38m which is ok.  My average pace has sped up slightly over last years harbour swim and I’m higher in the rankings (although not by much really).   However, it’s difficult to compare different events because the conditions are so critical.

Ultimately though only around 600 people felt able to even attempt this race and some of those didn’t manage to finish, so to get the result I got is still a pretty special achievement that I’m quite proud of.

I’ve included a couple of photos from a sunrise photo shoot I did the day after the swim up in Taupo Bay where we were staying.  It was still, quiet and beautiful.

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