Darnit! I got bitten by another spider last night while I was asleep. Now there's two options that occurred here. It either wasn't a white-tailed spider, because it hasn't come up all horrible with a white pulsating centre (instead it's just slightly swollen and itchy), or it WAS a white-tailed spider, but the Reiki I did on it today prevented the poison from taking hold. Either way, it's just slightly swollen and itchy at the moment.
Anyway, we went caving this morning. It was excellent! We went for a drive into the hills to get to it, and that was fun. We got a couple quick geography lessons about the land and the fault lines and the limestone rock that formed the foundation of the earth, and all the rock formations we saw were because of the fault line having pushed up the rocks and it was layered because of storms and washouts over thousands of years and… Well, we finally got to the location and walked down this hill dodging sheep shit along the way. After putting on helmets and receiving instructions, we headed underground.
We took a few photos of rock formations and glow worms that could be seen in the lights, and heard about what life was like underground. It was all very fascinating. Then we all jumped into a large raft and, with lights off, silently made our way through the watery caves, our eyes adjusting to the darkness and the glow worms becoming more obvious. I tried a couple of long-exposure photos to try and get the glowing worms, but I couldn't get a long enough exposure or keep it still for long enough (an 8-second exposure didn't seem to be long enough…), so I'll use Mel's photos, which seemed to turn out ok.
We then made our way back outside, and had a cup of tea and biscuits while we watched the guide crush snails in his hands and feed the slugs to an eel in a stream. 'Alan, do you want to come and feed the eel?' Oh joy. NOT. I couldn't think of much worse at that moment than crushing snails and removing bits of crushed shell and feeding the poor little sluggy thing to the eel. I don't like killing or causing the death of anything (except spiders), so I watched while a couple of the others crushed snails and fed them to the eel that literally sucked them from their fingers.
It was all good fun, and by the time we'd come out of the caves, the sun was out – the first sun we'd seen since we'd left Wellington on Day One!
After getting dropped back near our car we then drove to Whangarei via Hamilton and Auckland. We stopped for lunch in Hamilton and then got lost for a few minutes trying to find our way out of the city. We got to Auckland around 4:30pm, just in time for peak hour traffic. Luckily the same highway took us straight through the city, and by about 5:30pm we were on the other side heading to Whangarei.
Finally arriving at Whangarei at around 7:30p we discovered that this backpackers felt more like someone's house than a backpackers. The oldish guy had rules that had to be abided by (fair enough), and where other backpackers had features that were free (linen and towels) he charged for hiring them. Uh huh. But he seemed to have a good sense of humour, so that was cool.
Mel and I have showered now, and ready to go out and hit the town for some dinner. The old guy (Peter) said we can use his phone line later, so I'll be able to copy and paste these journal entries. Woohoo! I'll do that after dinner, if I can, or tomorrow morning.
Off now to have dinner. I think we're having some seafood – appropriate, since we're in a lovely seaside town.
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