So here's the low down on Craig's life:
School is in full swing. For the first few weeks it was a nice leisurely pace of classes from 10am till 3pm. As of this week we completed our Maths (Kiwis pluralize Math when saying it) and English compentency tests. We now enter a slightly busier routine of 9am to 4pm. Nothing we Prime Dips (our shortened version of Post Graduate Primary Diplomaers) can't handle.
The kitchen here at Salmond FINALLY opened this week too. Thus freeing up much time from food acquisition (I shouldn't complain. The grocery store is only twice the distance from my room then the kitchen I've been using) and more importantly food preperation. Where's that time going. Well into such productive things as my blog!
Lastly hit the town on the eve of this past weekend in preperation of any and all future beach/ocean outings.
This is the main acquisition from that outing. My new 7mm wetsuit. Only set me back a couple hundred. I also supplemented her with a new set of fins, and a mask and snorkel set (my only complaint. As I brought my mask from Canada, but it was the ONLY thing damaged during my flights to NZ a month ago).
With all this gear I was ready for the beach. Fortuently I didn't have all that long to wait.
On the weekend I had a day out with the boys (which is something of a novelity since there are only 8 of us in the program). My main dudes Jason and Andrew (same order in the pic as typed). We headed out all Sunday in search of Sun, Surf, and Swim. In total we hit 2 different beaches which was sweet.
Also accompanying us was Kia, Jason's dog. He was every bit the beacher that we were. He followed us out in for swims whenever we went (impressive as at one point we were in 2 meter high waves where Kia couldn't standup). More importantly Kia was a critical factor in my learning to play Cricket. Sadly not the most positive, as whenever we hit the ball Kia would try and intercept it, and thus set the game back a few minutes each time he succeeded.
I put this picture up simply cause I don't have one of us playing Cricket sadly.
Of course what outing to the beach won't be complete without swimming. Here I am at Long Beach, New Zealand, entering the water without my wetsuit for protection from the "cold" water. It was very nice considering the 25 degree weather.
I also got to use my snorkelling and wetsuit at a different beach this day to check out a rocky cove, and check out the local kelps and spounges. Sadly no fish, but the tide was coming in and kicking up a lot of sand. Still was good to see that the gear all worked.
Also along Long Beach we checked out a rather impressive cave. It's perhaps a "good" thing I don't have a Camcorder as a million movie ideas jumped in my head walking into this thing. Its a pretty deep cave. Sadly this is the only picture that turned out okay (it's been hard taking pics in NZ as the sun is usually so bright I can't see the LCD display on the back of my camera).
Wow Gollum! Oh never mind it's just me. A wannabe Gollum rather. Well that was the weekend, and after this outing had to return to skool.
However this week we'd all get a bonus day off.
In the form of Waitangi Day, a national holiday "celebrating" the signing of the Treaty between the Maori and the British back in the colonial days. Sadly in modern times it has become a heated time of the year, and up on the Northren Island there were some dodgey (NZ slang) demonstrations and clashes. Fortunently (but the rest of the time unfortunently) there isn't a significant population of Maori around Dunedin so it was a nice calm day. Meaning you guessed it, more time for the beach!!!
Here is half the gang we got together for this outing heading out to a place called Doctor's Point. Where the intention was to get up to nothing but fun.
Here's a good view of our chunk of beach. In the middle of the channel you'll see a little black dot in the water. That's a Craig, who over the course of the day swam across there 3 times in total. Was a bit daunting as the water got pretty deep in the middle. I'm desperately trying to overcome my slight phobea of unseen bottom water.
Now sadly as I'd stayed up late the night before watching the Superbowl I got up way too close to our departure time, and didn't pack properly. Leaving my snorkeling gear behind. Oh well there will be plenty more times after this.
It also worked out cause there was a nice rocky out crop down the beach from our spot. Of course you know what that means...
Critters will be abound under them there rocks. Where you find critters you'll find a Craig. Was an okay selection. I give you only the two prime finds of the day. Not cause the others weren't cool. Just my camera didn't take very good close up pics of these guys. I'll have to try the Macro function next time.
This is a signficant find in a way. A spider crab. I'd only ever caught one of these once before in BC. It was an adult, and very impressive at about 5cm in body and 20cm in leg width. Here in NZ turns out you can catch TONS of them as babies. Took some of the crazy coolness out of the first one I caught to find out their everywhere (I caught the first 20 min into my hunt. So it seemed like a rare find. Turns out I just wasn't looking in the right spot. Other crabs are stuck on the ground when you flip the rock over. The spiders cling to the sides of them!)
This is my other exciting discovery. A new species of Crab I've never seen before with HUGE claws. Despite their impressive makeup these guys are the MOST docile crabs I've ever caught. They just chill out in your hand once picked up.
A fitting conclusion with the relative of a Lobster, as it turns out after all this time in the sun I now look like a Lobster myself. The Oozone hole is at its worst here in NZ out of the habatiated world, and as of such all that swimming in the water added up to a really nice BODY burn. Today during the tests I was in a LOT of pain.
Oh well it was worth it!
Don't expect this to be a lone entry on the Beach. I highly suspect I'll be heading there a LOT more yet.