It’s getting late, but I’ll get this one off. 

I’d been telling all the microscopists who wondered what I’d do on my day off that I’d probably head to Waiheke Island for the wine festival, and then in a breathtaking but ultimately irrelevant display of inconsistency I changed my mind this morning and headed to Rangitoto, if only because saying “Rangitoto” is much more fun.  Björn Heijstra, a converted Dutchman, had suggested Rangitoto to me and it seemed more appealing than crowds of people.  Of course I met Allan from the conference on the boat. 

I also met Ashley, a Californian fresh off the plane, and the two of us decided to walk the island together.  We headed out along the road to the causeway to the neighboring island, Motutapu.  After a short spell exploring the beach we took the coastal trail back to the main wharf, which started off a sealed trail, only to turn into a meandering roller-coaster of basaltic rock piles.  Every now and then, a strange plant caught my eye – mostly because of color.  Closer inspection would have revealed that nearly all plants there were strange to me. 

After about three hours of walking we arrived back at the wharf and tried to find a water fountain.  Neither food nor drink is for sale on the island, and we’d both run out of water.  We approached a bach (pronounced “batch” – see also in this dictionary) under restoration and they offered us water from their tap.  After chatting with the volunteer workers for a while we headed up the mountain to the crater summit, which gave us a wide view across the Hauraki gulf.  The Canadian we met who compared Auckland to Vancouver wasn’t far off. 

We were quite possibly the last ones off the mountain – the last ferry was to leave at five.  We made it down at 4:30, sunburned and tired.  That an avid ultimate frisbee player and outdoorswoman like Ashley was tired I put down to her jet lag – my tiredness to not having hiked in ages.  We parted in the Auckland drizzle, her to check in at her hostel and me to get a dinner after missing two out of my last three meals. 

Now I do need to get to bed so I make the morning flight. 

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