I'm now in New Zealand, and getting heading out for a 5 day trek on the Routeburn/Greenstone track in a little bit. A quick update of what I've been up to:
Just when I think it cant get any better, it does ! I spent 2 days in a classroom and pool learning to dive in Cairns, Queensland, Australia and then had 3 days, 2 nights on a dive boat! So sweet! The 35 people on board were all tons of fun, and we did 9 dives total - the deepest to 30 meters! The fish and coral are just unbelievable! It is just like you have seen in the pictures, except it goes on and on... ! Some highlights - a BIG Morey eel, huge turtle (probably 4' + diameter!), Lionfish, Nemo, a Whitetip shark (on our night dive!), thousands of of other fish, all types of corals, etc. etc... I have a cd with pictures that I have to download if I get time (isn't that always the case?)
The only problem I had was adjusting my ears to the pressure; I was always the last one down, but it got easier as I went on more dives. Once down about 15 meters, it gets really easy to go down further because the relative pressure changes the most in the first 10 meters. Unfortunately, I now have ANOTHER sport I am stoked about, and I have my Open Water and Adventurer certifications, which means I can dive to 30 meters... now, just need more ocean near Idaho... damn!
I rented a 1994 Toyota 4Runner when I got to Christchurch, NZ (actually the rental company owner's hunting rig!) after chatting with they guy for about 2 hours. He has actually been to Idaho, Colorado, Alaska and trekked all over this country and he ended up lending me his tent, sleeping pad, stove, and gave me some good tips! Really swell guy!
I did an overnight, 20 km Cumberland trek on my way here, and got to sit in a great hot springs and watch the stars come out... that was pretty special!
The Routeburn is one of the most famous and popular treks in NZ, but I plan on camping out so hopefully I can avoid most of the people. Its raining and not planning on letting up, so it should be nice and wet for the next few days... ask me in 2 days how much fun I am having!
Anyway, all for now, more when I'm back in town!