Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Sailing in the City of Sails

Try saying that 5 times fast…
360 Discovery Cruises offers a hop-on and hop off option that gave us the ability to explore some of the islands in the Auckland Harbor.  Sunday was beautiful and the kiwi were out in force with their boats. image imageThe main stop on the cruise was Rangitoto Island that contains the youngest of the volcanoes in Auckland.  This one was active only 600 years ago.   Exploring the island would take an entire day, but we had only two hours – so we chose the hike up to the summit.  The trail begins among a lot of volcanic rock.  My first thoughts were - “What construction projects are going on - just look at all the debris here?”  We didn’t go far before I learned the trail runs right through the lava fields.  It turns out the lava cooled forming a crust and then the flowing lava beneath the crust shattered the crust creating all this debris. Much of the trail I also think was on the levees – or where the lava flowed despite the crust formations.  image It’s taken a number of centuries for the rocks to break down to the point of forming enough soil for plants to grow.  Much of the island does have growing vegetation, but there are still areas of nothing but rock.   It was inspiring to see a small single plant finding it’s way.  This one is the Pohutukawa Tree – which is affectionately known as the Christmas tree since it blooms red at Christmas.image The views from the summit were fantastic.  We wish we hadn’t had that ferry to catch and could have just sat for a while.
imageInstead we caught the ferry and decided to get off at Kelly Tarlton’s – our one extremely touristy thing to do for the day.  The one thing that drew us up there was an underwater tunnel so we could experience what diving could be like.  I enjoy watching the fish swim, but there were no good pics.  Despite that, James still wanted you to see this one.  Do you hear the Jaws theme???
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Theresa said...

Good gosh, that's one big sharky maw isn't it. Stick some antlers and the red nose on him and you have next years Xmas card! ;-)
The sailing looks wonderful. I love taking ferry's around.
We have lava rock debris hills and mountains locally due to long ago eruptions. Hard to hike on though.
Thank you for the trip Jennifer and James, I know I'm completely enjoying the sights.

Life Looms Large said...

The sailing does look fantastic!

Lava is so interesting. It's amazing that it's taken a few centuries to support just small plants.

I'm struck somewhat speechless by the giant shark face that I somehow can't avoid as I type this comment. Ugh!

I'm a huge snorkeling fan, but diving not so much. Too technical (for me - the engineer!)

Have fun!