Day 9 Northland, The Rainbow Warrior and my 100th blog!!!

Wow, 100 blog postings. I think I started this thing in August 2006 and I'm still going. It's been good to do, especially looking back and it's good to have something in life to stick with. I guess I'm locked in now, oh shit, I better keep this thing exciting!

Day 9 of the Northland trip was one of the best. Headed out from Paihia for a 45 minute shuttle to Matauri Bay where the Rainbow Warrior lies. This was a Green Peace boat causing the French Weapons testers all kinds of problems off the coast of NZ in 1985. While in port a couple of French associates placed bombs on the hull and drop her in Auckland Harbour. Outrage by the New Zealanders followed, the French associates were banished to a secluded tropical island for 3 years or so and the Kiwis are still sore about it to this day. In, I think, 1987 it was floated and brought up to Matauri Bay where it took about 10 hours to sink again (that's a long time for a planned sinking). Read more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_Rainbow_Warrior).

Matauri Bay, preparing for our dive. The Italian freelance dive master behind me checking out the boat tractor.

The First dive was amazing! We went to a cove about 10 minutes from the Warrior for a 12 to 15 m dive, 50 mins and were bombarded by fish looking for a Kinna feed (Sea egg?). My favourite was these pinkish, longer type fish with a rainbow collar that were so friendly you could pet them. It was a bit scary at first because they were all over my head waiting for me to get the egg open so they could feast. After that I relaxed and really got into it. I need to get an underwater camera.

Lunch on a quiet island

Off in the distance a lady takes her dog for a boat ride after a run on shore.

Second dive was great too! We went down to 26 m to get to the Rainbow Warrior in a group of 4, plus the Dive guide/owner/cool guy Kelly who reminded everyone of a young Robert Redford that could free dive 25 metres, holy shit! Moving along the healthy sized ship the Danish couple with us kept posing for photos and my dive buddy Nick and I tried not to get nipped at by the cleaning fish on the deck. After a couple of swim throughs and a Christmas tree? we made it to the end of the boat. The couple stopped and the guy pulled out a laminated piece of paper and got on one knee. One bubble for Yes and two for No. He put a ring on her finger while Kelly took photos and Nick and I stood in the back as witnesses. Cool. Check out the video to hear the Bob Marley going and the champagne flowing as the Danes sit at the front of the boat.

Best day of diving for me and I almost didn't go because of my equipment problem. Kelly said the day before, "I'd rather you go diving with a free regulator from me than miss the dive". Cool guy. Highly recommend Dive HQ in Paihia for the Rainbow Warrior dive.


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