After spending the first week without my boys sailing, and organising myself into this whole travelling malarkey, I headed off to Waiheke Island to gather my thoughts and visit this paradise Island that everyone kept talking about.
“Waiheke wine is the best!”
As I arrived on the island I was immediately picked up by a kind Maori chap called Cooper, who dropped me off at the nicest Youth Hostel I have ever seen in, but hey, that doesn’t mean much, I’ve only ever stayed in 3 of them in my life! Being up for more new experiences, I thought “Why not?” Situated at the top of Onetangi Beach with incredible views of the ocean, I grounded very quickly. I headed down to The Boathouse for dinner for prawn tacos, which I highly recommend, and a glass of Pino Gris and enjoyed the rest of the book I was ready, before walking back along the beach talking with my partner, not wanting to tease him too much that he was in Sheffield landlocked and here I was on a paradise beach walking in the sea. The tables had turned and it was good to be playful.
The next day I was collected by the wonderful woman who I was staying with, and taken to Little Oneroa. We hit it off instantly and not only did she teach me how to play 7 pack Canasta and show me around the island, we cooked together, did some gardening together and enjoyed lots of different music, me having an education in New Zealand bands from as far back as the 60’s.
Taking time out to gather my thoughts, work my body in the garden and be able to write in such a lovely setting, I allowed the universe to just deliver. And deliver She did!
I met up with a friend of a friend back home in the UK, and we went to the Waiheke Cinema to watch a film about a Maori sculptor and artist. It was also about the Piritahi Marae which has been built to bring together all the Maori community on the Island – Piritahi means ‘together as one’ and brings together the different Maori tribes that have been on Waiheke Island for 800 years. Hearing the word Marae was too close to comfort for me, as my beloved Baaba (father in Arabic), my ex husband’s father, was called Marei, spelt differently but pronounced the same. I miss him but hearing his name, and the meaning of Piritahi made me feel at peace. He is watching over me. Giving me his blessing for what I am doing, and that helped me to centre myself.
As the week continued I met and spoke with some incredible people. I bagged myself a spot on Waiheke Radio with Jon Armistead, a very cool guy who has lived n the island for a number of years and lived in the UK not far from where I used to live. I then went to the library and met with the lovely Rhiannon, senior librarian, and between the two of us, we organised an event for the 21st February, my last night on the island.
The event was a free event to share my life journey as an author and to encourage others to either take up writing or get that book that is deep down inside them written and published. It was a great night! We even needed extra seats for all those who turned up!
Swimming in the sea was an absolute given, I mean come on, what kind of mermaid am I if I don’t swim in the ocean? My friend of 23 years who lives in Auckland came to visit me as he had never been to Waiheke before, With it’s special energy and beautiful land and seascapes, it really is a slice of paradise.
Whilst learning about the island I soon came to understand there was a regular problem of water shortages, and the islanders relied heavily on rain water. A massive problem, amongst many environmental issues and marine life contamination if the Kennedy Point Marina gets the go ahead. (www.skp.org.nz) A marina the size the developers are talking about willcreate untold problems for the island, and the environment, especially as the tourists that go there now (me being one of them) need to learn about the water usage, the best way to travel, and how to protect the island and it’s eco system.
Waiheke is a beautiful place to go, full of creative people, environmentalists and some incredible vineyards; one of them I got to visit and sample some of their wine. Man O’ War vineyard does an incredibly smooth and velvelty Pino Gris called Exiled, and if you ever get the chance to order it, DO!! It is hmm mm mm!!
During my second week, I started to get emotional about being away from my boys. This is now the longest I have ever been away from them and my heart longs to hear their giggles, have conversations with them over breakfast and have one of their hugs. I miss my dogs, but like my mum said to me “you’ve got two choice, give up and come home, or carry on and do what you set out to do. Either way, you need to make the choice and be happy with it” Yes Mother.
I know I have to do this. I have to heal from the last decade, especially the last 4 years. I have to be on the ocean. I have to travel, and if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it. It is challenging, especially not knowing where I am going next, or how to get around, finding boats to crew for, places to find Wi-FI to be in touch with my coaching clients, write this blog and of course speak with my boys and my partener on video calls, but I am up for the challenge. I’m already doing it, and I have already learnt so much about myself.
During my last week on Waiheke, I had the pleasure of staying with an incredibly empowered and inspiring woman who has travelled the world, been involved with the start of a global movement that is now a household name, and a true soul sister. The journey we had in that one week was incredible and not only did we launch her lyrical abstract painting Facebook Page, we have already started teh very beginning of her biography and we will be collobarating on a Coffee Table Book of her paintings. Excited much!
Having appeared in several local newspapers and my radio interview, I started to get noticed and recognised around the island, even in Auckland I was recognised; great news, not just for me, but also for one of my sponsors, who I will tell you about very soon.
But for now, I have to sign off because I am off sailing for the weekend with two more fab people, helping them to get their RYA Yacht Master qualifications. Then I’m off down south for more fun and adventures! I will of course keep you posted!
In the meantime, head on over to www.facebook.com/dawnbates to see The Mermaid’s Guide To New Zealand photos.
With love from Waiheke and now Auckland, have a fabulous weekend everyone!
Much love Dawn