We head today towards the Bay of Plenty through Whangamata to Tauranga and Mount Maunganui. There is a good looking beach for swimming and suffing with plenty of people in the sea enjoying themselves and many others walking along the esplanade. The beach itself is a 20km long strand and our campsite is only separated from it by a public boardwalk allowing no privacy whatsoever for anyone wishing to walk past of which there is a considerable number. We play it safe and keep everything in the car rather than unload and set up camp in case anyone decides to have a look inside while we're away. The one plus side of this accomodation is that we have a fantastic view over the ocean and can gear the waves crash in the distance and panoramic view of the bay which is a beautiful sight.
We rent some boogie boards from a beach-side shop and hit the surf. The waves are huge and my first few attempts at getting out from the beach are thwarted as each wave staggers me backwards. As I work up momentum between each wave, riding over it and kicking hard with my legs, I make it out about 40/50 feet and get caught by a huge wave that carries me more than half way back where the crest breaks and I fall into about one foot of water. Ouch.
This temporary setback only furthered my determination to get back out there and try again depsite further successive waves battering me back landing several times on my sides and a wave hitting me squarely in the face leaving me gasping for breath.
We would have stayed out there further but the shell beach was having serious impact on our attempts to have fun and each time I was knocked onto the beach, my legs were grazed and scratched until I finally gave up after grazing enough to cause bleeding. Next time, a sandy beach only.
It was late afternoon by this point and we decided to head into Tauranga to buy dinner and check out the cinema. (We settled on a film called Fracture - entertaining and worth a watch on TV - 3/5). The sea air does make you sleepy and we were in bed by 11.30pm.