It's full moon time and there's a palpable sense of excitement in the txt messages I receive from tonight's group of intrepid paddlers. While it's still only 4pm and the waters sparkle as the tide rolls in across Ohiwa Harbour, I sense that tonight's moonrise is going to be something special.
October in the Eastern Bay of Plenty is full of promise. The Godwits have returned after their long flight from the Northern hemisphere, shoals of kahawai are seen regularly feeding in the channels and on the Harbour margins, kingfishers are abundant and regularly seen, swooping down from ancient overhanging pohutakawa trees to snatch unsuspecting juvenile fish from their watery slumber.
By 7pm it's time to head out on the water and the sky is a multitude of colours as the sun goes down over the Maori settlement of Hiwarau . It's a stunningly beautiful evening now and the kayaks glide easily across the glassy waters, with the only ripples being the fish fleeing before us.
As we pass some abandoned, half submerged old fishing boats I glance over my shoulder to catch the first sight of a golden moon as it rises from the hills by Opotiki. "Wow" I hear some of the group cry. "I never expected it to be such a colour". We stop paddling and turn our kayaks in the direction of the moon and sit awestruck for several minutes, captivated by natures majesty.
An exciting start to the trip and for my group of kayakers it's just what they came to see. I promise them more excitement when we encounter phosphorescence in the water, but they shrug and say "can it be better?" I laugh with them and say "you'll see!"
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