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Our Trip We've left our jobs as banker and teacher in order to see the Southern Hemisphere. Why not?

Curio Bay and Porpoise Bay

NEW ZEALAND | Monday, 26 January 2009 | Views [721] | Comments [1]

Learning to Surf, retiring from Surfing

So Erin and I were driving through Southland, New Zealand with no plans.  Erin had read that there was a petrified forest somewhere on the coast so we went to check it out.  We got there around 4PM (at low tide) and started scouring the rocks for wood and fossils.  We found some and it was cool, but then something really cool happened.  I looked up and saw two odd looking birds floating in the water, they jumped onto shore and sure enough, Yellow Eyed Penguins.  I had been wanting to see penguins since we got to NZ.  We had even gone to several penguin spotting areas with no success and then out of nowhere, here I was, 10 meters (the minimum distance requirement) from two of them. 

After about an hour of watching penguins and taking pictures we went to find a place to stay.  We saw a cool bay and decided to get some scenery shots.  Then we saw something else - dolphins jumping out of the water.  What the heck, I have been looking for dolphins and penguins for four months now and within ten minutes I see both.

With this luck we decided to stay in Porpoise Bay (where we saw the dolphins) so we found the nearest backpackers.  That night I was recounting my stories with the manager and he mentioned that the bay was a great place to learn to surf and that the dolphins would swim right up to you.  He even called the owner of "The Surf School" (Nick) to give me a run down.  I couldn't talk Erin into it, but I signed up for the 9AM class.

My excitement got me out of bed at 7AM and was lucky to see the sky was clear and the dolphins were out and about.  I checked into my lesson and slipped into my wet suit.  After an introduction I hit the water.  The first time I didn't get up, but Nick said "no worries, you're a natural."  The second time I got up and rode the wave all the way to shore.  Pumped, I paddled back out and waited for Nick to call me over.  He gave me the the signal and I started to turn around.  Then I felt it, the feeling I had felt so many times before.  The feeling of "Oh sh**, there goes the rest of my day and I am going to be in pain for two weeks."  Sure enough, my shoulder was dislocated again.  It was shallow enough to walk in and when Nick saw what happened he grabbed my board.  I could tell it was bad, but still tried to get it relocated on the beach.  After a half hour of trying we headed up to the surf school where I used a picnic table, then a flat bed truck to try and relocate the shoulder.  No go and I spent the next hour lying in a the back of the flat bed waiting for the ambualnce to arrive.  A nurse showed up and gave me some nitrous which got rid of the pain for about 10 minutes.  Then an ambulance showed up.  The voluteers looked fresh off the farm, but were very helpful and had plenty of drugs to keep me comfortable for the 2-hour long ride to the nearest town.

The ride was aweful, but entertaining.  The paramedics told me all about farming in NZ and even pointed out sights along the way including the famous "Peter Hayes Farm".  They got me to the hospital, where the American Doctor assured me he was a pro at relocating shoulders, but of course nothing worked so they shot me full of morphine.  I guess I spoke jibberish for about 2 minutes until passing out.  Five minutes later I woke up to find my shoulder relocated, my wet suit off, and sling on my arm.  They took an x-ray, explained that New Zealand would cover all expenses and sent me on my way about 20 minutes later.  Erin and I found a backpackers for the night and I officially retired from surfing.     



OH No! I hadn't heard anything about his mishap Pete. I hope you are feeling better and decide that the next time the surfing itch gets you, you decide a nice walk on the beach would be better. Albeit with shoes on so you don't step on a jelly fish.

Even with this mishap, it sounds like you both are enjoying your time in NZ. You should go back and check out the Peter Hayes Farm! Take care, have fun and be careful! Hugs, Kim

  Kim Legato Jan 29, 2009 12:37 PM

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