Last Sunday I went with two girlfriends to collect shells at Te Arai. We met for lunch at the Smashed Pipi in Mangawhai and I managed to get a few photos for my Friday Aquariums topic. I had hoped to get a few more out at the beach but wasn't happy with the results.
From Te Arai car park the beach stretches north to Mangawhai with a rocky headland on the southern end. South past this headland is very rocky and it was here we were headed, past the solitary fisherman trying his luck off the rocks.
It was mid afternoon by the time we reached the beach and quite hot despite the sea breeze. A glorious summer day.
I could sit, watch and listen for hours to the surf as it rolls in and crashes against rocks, a sight and sound I love.
Heading back to the carpark we heard another sound I love. The sound of kids laughing and having fun. A group of lads were leaping into the sea from the high rocks on either side of what I think is best described as a gutway. This was obviously not the first time they had entertained themselves this way. And we three ladies were in no way fearful that they would injure themselves - they knew what they were doing! Maybe they were showing off a little for the camera but not too much. The lad who wasn't as confident from the highest ledge still climbed down to a lower jumping point. Each lad timed his jump to co-incide with a breaker as it rolled in and swelled as it forced it's way through the narrow opening.
Gosh, it was wonderful watching them. They were so carefree and happy! One minute they were jumping from one side, the next they would be leaping from the other, scampering from the sea up to their launching site like happy rabbits.
A little later as we sat under a tree and discussed a possible camping holiday next summer the lads came past us and asked did I get any good photos. I gave them the camera to have a look and was amused by the bunch of their young heads gathered around the camera. When they handed it back I asked them to stay as they were so I could get a photo of them and they happily obliged. (I promised to make them famous, too!)
Then the little sister of one of them appeared in front of us and they all went running off up the beach with her in hot pursuit.
Even if I had not gathered enough shells to make the shell heart I would have been perfectly happy with my day at the beach.