From Moleskin to Spot - Bay of Islands

The phosfluorescent algae last night may of well had been a dream. The kayak barely swayed in the water but I felt I was floating. When I moved my paddle or stuck my hand in the icy water, green lights appeared. When others floated by in their boats it was as though a trail of pixie dust followed them. Laying down and staring up was as though looking at the reflection of the ocean and the algae. Stars covered the sky, the milky way stretched across the sky and the two universes, the farthest we can see with the human eye, sat amongst the stars. Sprinting across the sky, the stars raced, and then looking back into the water, the algae mimicked the world above.

After the most surreal twenty minutes of of my life, we hopped back on the back of the boat, stripped down to our swim suits, and jumped into the freezing water, watching it light up as we rose to the top. Any movement triggered the algae to dance around us. Had we been able to feel our fingers and toes, we would have stayed in much longer.

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This morning I had another out of this world experience as well. (I am pretty sure there should be a limit of one out-of-this-world-experience per allotment of time because even though both are amazing, it kind of made me question everything way more than I should in a 24 hour period.) Anyway, we once again hopped in the chilly ocean; this time geared with a wetsuit and snorkel. Amazing. The ocean is a whole new world. Little creatures and plants and formations; I was one of the last ones out of the water and could have been in there twice as long. We dived for urchins, which we later cut open for a little snack. Diving was difficult, but after my 7th or 8th try I got it and used my newfound skill to go under and follow fish around. It was such a weird feeling but I absolutely loved it. It may not make sense, but snorkeling felt like the ultimate anthropological experience. In Anthro class we discuss similarities and differences between human cultures, but diving into this world has a whole new thing. Granted, humans aren't involved, but even on land sometimes animals are similar to humans. (Or are humans similar to animals?) Okay maybe it doesn't make sense (yet), but I will get back to this thought when the time comes.

Regardless, wow. So many new topics to think about. All I was left with when shivering back to near body temperature was interests anthropology-related and biology-related and just this general craving to explore more of the ocean.

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The Kāuri forest held the essence of life. The trees surrounded the Father of the Forest, a tree protected and preserved by mankind and his invention of cork. Spiritual significance grows from the deep roots of this tree for 3,500 years. Then, the God of the Forest. The 2nd oldest Kāuri and the largest tree known to man. Welcomed with a prayer, we gave a moment of silence. Cultural ties keep the Maori close to the tree; they respect nature and encourage us to do our part.