When Masoud, Mona and I celebrated her birthday at breakfast at Grant's summer house in Cooks Beach in New Zealand, we had no idea the adventures that lay ahead.
The weather was perfect and our friends were going to dive and we were offered to join them on the boat ride. It was a picturesque ride where we were surrounded by water and beautiful small islands that had sneaked out it. After their first dive we were dropped off at the Mercury Island to get over Mona’s sea sickness and explore the island while they went on the second dive. We were instructed to walk “straight across” and be picked up on the other side by them. Absence of a restroom turned out to be the LEAST of our troubles! We started our upward hike excited, happy and BAREFEET and even stopped and posed for pictures until we reached the top of the hill where we saw what was ahead: A rocky sharp drop without any trail. The brave and adventurous girls that we were, we inched our way down barefooted not knowing we are traveling the “easy” part because once we reached the sea level, we were welcomed by a beach that was completely covered, and surrounded, by sharp large rocks that we had no choice but to conquer. At one point I just yelled out, “this was a stupid plan” and I had the excuse of yelling it out several more times before the afternoon was over. We each made it to a rock large enough that we could sit on and catch our breath. My rock was smaller so it was noticeable how the water was rising! Not that we needed an additional matter to deal with but here we were: Not a soul in site, sitting on a couple of rocks at a remote island with the water rising!
To make matters more difficult, the color of our clothing was the same as the rocks so we could not have been spotted even if anyone was looking for us and Mona’s day dream was about being rescued by a helicopter! Oh, I forgot to mention we were each carrying a bag that contained electronic devices which added to our concerns because not only we had to think of our survival but we were both adamant about saving our camera and iPods as well. You know, there are priorities and then there are priorities!
We decided not to await the helicopter and yelled out to the first boat that was passing in a distance. Obviously they could not hear us but we remembered that Mona had a colorful top in her bag. We waved it like our lives depended on it (not to mention our lives DID depend on it). That caught their attention and as they turned their small vessel toward us we started celebrating until they disappeared behind the western wall that blocked us. What we didn’t know was that the aforementioned nasty rocks covered the ocean floor for quite a while. The poor man had to SNORKLE to us! Mona was wearing a bathing suit so she swam away with the snorkeling angle and right before my eyes, she turned into a rufti-tufti kiwi chick and left me and the electronic devices on a rock. I had moved to the highest rock around to escape from the water level that was rapidly rising all around me.
About 10 minutes later the same boat came back passing me by on high speed. The woman was waiving at me and I didn’t know what she was trying to tell me but what choice did I have but to just sit on my rock and wave back. A few minutes later, that felt like an hour, I could hear a female voice coming from the top of the hill we had climbed down from some time earlier. There were two women starting to climb down. I yelled back begging them not to come down because I knew what is ahead of them. They conveyed to me that a rescue team is coming! Shortly after, a very small boat carrying Mona and two middle-aged men appeared from another angle. By this time the water had reached the top of the first rock I had sat on! After I was picked up by two obviously tipsy Kiwis, one of them said with a wide smile: “We were told as young boys that one day we may pick up a mermaid from a rock. I didn’t know it is really going to happen one day and today is that day” and we all laughed. They took us to their fancy large boat and just as we were about to get on it and receive an upgrade to our accommodations, the divers returned and retrieved us and we were transferred back to reality!
We certainly celebrated Mona’s birthday with a series of unforgettable adventures and although I immediately turned back to a human form from being a mermaid and no helicopter came to rescue us but we were happy enough to still celebrate it by going out to dinner.
By the time we went to bed, the throbbing sensation in our feet and a few cuts and bruises and the unforgettable memories were all that was left from the day….
Mona said that she had read somewhere: “Happiness is seeing the beauty in small things” and we were surrounded by beauty of the concerns of fellow human beings all afternoon.
Link to the travel log!
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