Summer Lovin’

Nothing screams summer to me like a cold Pinot Gris in one hand and swatting a pesky mosquito with the other.

I like to feel loved. Not however by mosquitos. Welcome to New Zealand’s far north — better beaches and better mozzies.

By day 4 camping I normally look like I have mild chicken pox. Just what you want while prancing about in bikinis and skimpy beach apparel. Luckily my deep summer tan almost disguises the bites. Almost.

Mosquitos are forgiven though, as it’s summer holidays. I get to swim in the ocean countless times daily. I wake up, gaze at an expanse of blue skies and waters, and do what I feel.

Summer has always been my favourite season, I remember as a child always being so disappointed my birthday had to be in winter.

I love the way summer feels. Sultry days and balmy evenings. Sun, sunnies, smiles, surf,  sand, salty hair, sunkissed skin and a large splash of serenity. It feels like happiness.

I’ve chased endless summer around the globe, perpetually following the sun and avoiding the cold. I love the adventure and possibilities of summer abroad, but there is something special about summers here at home.

New Zealand and New Zealander’s are just uber chill, and summer epitomises the ultimate chill. I can walk around barefoot, makeup free, untamed salted curls — and still feel attractive. It’s liberating.

The beaches may be lacking in amping parties but they are beautiful, vast and untouched. Think retreat meets private beach filled with friends. It’s nice.

I travelled the world, searching for the perfect beach, and a utopian paradise not yet claimed (yes I may have been quite taken by the Beach) That utopia was never found, yet I think I’ve got a little slice of it here. Call it my happy place.

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Bounced by a shark

Stranger things have happened. Was it all a delusion, or was I actually bounced by a shark?

I’m back in beginner surf land, up in the sharky waters of New Zealand’s far north. I can’t help but reminisce of one afternoon last summer.

I get the thing with surfing, I really do. The road trip, the stunning backdrops, the adrenaline rush… but it still kinda terrifies me. There’s attempting to Eskimo roll when a giant wave is coming, and then there’s sharks. I still sometimes hear jaws music when I’m clutching my board.

Last summer I did a fair bit of attempting to surf. A beginner’s board was lying around where I was staying, and so I was playing with that.

I must have been getting ballsy, because one day I found myself out quite far from the shore in some deep water. A rather large wave came roaring towards me, so I chucked my board away and dove underneath in an attempt to avoid the onslaught.

I was flung at the wrath of the wave in various directions. Next thing I hit into a large, rather smooth, solid mass and bounced back to the surface of the water.

My board was to my far right, and being so buoyant, there’s no way it could’ve been under me. The next thing to rule out was the ocean floor. I was miles out, far from the shallows. The next step in the process of elimination was of course a shark.

In a state of sheer terror, I exited the water at an accelerated speed. I paced the beach, and considered what has just happened. What had I bumped into down in the deep sea?

After much deep breathing and rationality I reasoned that even if it was a shark, it must have been a friendly fellow. I could probably safely go back into the water now. I was being ridiculous. I went back in, but clutched my board tighter than usual.

I still wonder, what was a bounced by? A sand bank? A large fish? A shark?