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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Edge

The Island of the Rainbow Warrior...and many ducks

Kia ora! I’ve made it to Waiheke! (That’s how they say hello here)

Wow what a place. I think at least 6 ducks have waddled up to me today and there are these black birds with a white throat that make a rubber chicken sound. You know exactly the sound I am thinking of.

Getting here was quite the adventure though. I hopped on the bus from Paihia which was fortunately uneventful, but when I arrived in Auckland, I swear the rain felt like little icicles. Apparently when they get winds and rain from the sound, which means you are literally getting blasts from the Arctic. Frigid.

Catching the ferry was another matter. I walked/ran 3 miles with 50 lbs of backpack on me, almost missing the ferry because no one could tell me where it was. Luckily I ran into a nice man, I think his name was Ryan, who helped me carry my stuff as we had to retrace our steps to get to the ferry.

Luckily, I made it and arrive at my hostel only slightly in pain (just kidding I was so sore) and promptly collapsed on my bottom bunk and passed out.

I’ve met a number of backpackers the next few days. One girl was from Charleston named Kat! She was traveling with her boyfriend from Belgium. We had a lot of fun walking to the beach, drinking coffee and eating truffle fries, and walking to one of the vineyards called Obsidian where we got to try four different wines for $12! It really is nice to hear that American accent every now and then.

The farm I am staying at is called Awaroa Organic Vineyard. My host is a funny man named John who is an environmental activist and casual singer who loves his “dodies” (his chickens, ducks, quail, and soon to be geese). The farm is a vineyard and has olive groves. There are extensive weeds, marmalade, full feasts for every meal, and adorable newborn quail. I swear though that the quail smell like parmesan cheese. No one else seems to agree.

This is one of the views from the farm.

This is the back yard!

There were two other WWOOFer girls with me this past week. Sophie was from France (she is in the purple) and Michelle was from Switzerland (she is in the grey) . They unfortunately had to leave today, what traitors. Leaving me to finish the weeding. We painted Johns kitchen and dining room, weeded four gardens, did the dishes, and made a lot of tea. There is supposedly another WWOOFer named James from America coming. I hope he is at least half as fun as these girls were.

The three of us girls watched Lord of the Rings, chatted about our different lives, pretended to mimic each others accents, and made a delicious chocolate cake just because we felt like we needed one.

Our host John and us all participated in community activities as well. We ate at the town hall cafe that is open one day a week, went to the slightly illegal pub in John's friend's home, attended a Tea, Scones, and Nuclear Disbarment meeting, and went to the local cinema to watch a documentary on the rainbow warrior (a boat that stopped whalers, made by greenpeace, that started the organization).

It turns out that many of the original members of Greenpeace all live in the island and came to the showing! So cool.

Today is Friday, and John dropped me off at the sustainability center where the community comes together to make food for people who need a healthy meal. It was called Kai Cafe and it was delicious!! "Kai" means food in Maui I believe.

I had a lot of fun cutting fruit with this little boy named Hendricks. Man, that 6 year old could work a knife. I met so many locals and loved hearing about their lives and how they all came to this close knit island.

I am now sitting at the beach watching three older men in bucket hats carry a tiny rainbow sail boat up the beach. The water is so still, with only a slight surf, and you can see the outline of the closest island in the distance.

Little kids and more ducks poke around the sand looking for treasures.

It’s a good day to read a book and enjoy the breeze.

This last picture is one of the iconic scenes on Waiheke Island. Whenever I see it, all I can hear is the Beetles classic "All You Need Is Love" playing in my head.

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