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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Gas masks at the ready

A great adventure befell us today and it started very early at 7.30am. We made sure then that the alarm was set for 6 so we could be up in plenty of time. This was one adventure we did not want to miss.  We had booked to go on the White Island tours leaving from Whakatane on the Bay of Plenty. This 6-hour tour involved a walk to the crater of an active volcano. Nearly 50 km from the coast the journey on the high-speed Catarman took about 90 minutes.

Whakatane (to act as a man) - This story springs from the 12th Century Great Migration. The women of the Mataatua Canoe, left to themselves when the men went ashore for the first time, found a waka (canoe) drifting out to sea again. The paddles were tapu to women, but a high spirited teenager, Wairaka, who was the daughter of Chief Toroa, boldly seized one of the paddles and paddled the waka back to shore. As she did this, she shouted, Kia Whakatane au i ahau:, and her actions saved the women but also coined the name of the town. A bronze statue of Wairaka stands on a rock at the Whakatane Heads to commemorate this act. Exert was taken from Wairaka statue

Sea was a tad rough on the way out. Great fun for sure.
White Island

The literature on the brochure said a level of fitness was required for this tour. We soon saw why. Getting into a dingy from the boat as well as climbing up a ladder to get on shore was not for the fainthearted!

No, we didn't land gently on the beach. There was a gap of about 3 foot to stretch across just get onto the pontoon ladder and then a walk across boulders before we got to the beach!

This was the reason for the gas masks. The sulphur got you right at the back of your throat. And as for the eyes.... was I glad to be wearing glasses!

That's Ian in the middle of the group, strippy T-Shirt and shorts.

'May the force be with you'!

And me!!!

Looking into the crater.

There are freshwater streams on the island. Well, I say fresh. We all had a taste and decided sour lemons with a touch of salt was more like it!

To read about the mining on the island click here
 Once back on board, we had time for a swim before setting off back to Whakatane. It was during the journey back we encountered the Dolphins.

Gannets nest on the island.
We are doing a 'Duck tour' tomorrow. More on that in the next post!

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