Friday, May 23, 2008


Yesterday we woke up in Whakatane at Steve and Vicky's house, set on a beautiful hillside above the ocean, with great views of White Island and the beach towns below.

Unfortunately our White Island tour was canceled due to winds (which make it hard to land the boat), though it was a gorgeous sunny day. We did a morning walk to Toi's Pa, a significant Maori fortification - not too far from the house, then had lunch at a cute place in town with delicious sandwiches. The downtown of Whakatane is great - we both commented that it's our favorite town we've visited so far on this trip.

In the afternoon we walked along the Whakatane river front, on a path that lead from the statue of Wairaka to several other important Maori sites, and finally the botanical gardens which included beautiful autumn foliage, roses and a Japanese garden.

Last night we attended a party! Steve and Vicky are going to be traveling for the next six months, and the staff at their office planned a farewell party at a restaurant with dinner and some excellent karaoke. We forgot the camera, so all you blog readers will have to close your eyes and imagine Dylan up there singing California Dreamin'. We loved it and felt that it was very special for us to be included. Steve and Vicky made us feel incredibly welcomed in their home, and it was great for us to meet their friends and co-workers - a terrific group of people.

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