I'm a wedding and portrait photographer living in Vancouver, BC with my husband Randy.  I photographed my first wedding when I was only 17 years old - and I've photographed over 200 weddings since! I am an avid bookworm, lover of green tea, pretty nail polish & my Labradoodle Harley. Thanks for visiting!

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Bay of Islands

February 11, 2015


For three weeks, we’re traveling the country of New Zealand (#WatsonsdriveNZ) and blogging our way through it. Follow along + catch up by reading Part One and Part Two and Part Three.

As the morning sun rose, I opened the floral curtains a crack, spilling sunlight into our room and crawled back into bed with my journal and a cup of green tea. Randy slept soundly beside me. (Okay, Randy was sleeping soundly beside me before I started rustling around the room and doing annoying things like opening curtains at six thirty in the morning. God bless my husband.) There’s something about a king bed with the ocean breeze.

After toast and eggs in the dining room, we were headed north to Whangerai, what looked like the last “big town” before the Bay of Islands. Well, here’s a tip. (Hopefully no readers from Whangerai find this post.) Don’t stop here. We wasted an hour trying to find a cafe that was open to stop (in the town’s defense – it was a public holiday but still – it was dead) and in the end, went to the bathroom at McDonald’s and left. We drove into Paihia around lunchtime and caught a ferry across the bay to an island called Russell. We explored the little island before boarding a sailboat with ten other people to sail around the bay for a couple hours! It was so windy (everywhere!) and I had my hood up and tied tight and wore sunglasses and still got a red nose-burn. ;) Even though my legs had goosebumps most of the trip!

This is completely unrelated to anything anybody needs to know – but while we were waiting to get on the sailboat in Russell, we noticed a couple taking pictures with their selfie sticks. If there’s anything I enjoy laughing at more than Segweys, it is selfie sticks. I mean, I understand the practical purpose of the selfie stick. And hey, have one, look over your shoulder before you use it, take a cute picture and put it away. This couple was posing for probably ten minutes? Halfway through the sail, Randy says, “Where’s her husband?” and we look to other side of the boat and he’s nowhere to be found! But guess what is? THE SELFIE STICK. She’s sitting and posing and smiling and turning her face every which way, selfie stick in front of her face. I guess we didn’t notice he never boarded the boat? We never saw him the rest of the trip. Or he fell overboard.

After the ferry back to Paihia, we ate at 35 Degrees, a restaurant with great views overlooking the water. Hm, correction, a restaurant with forty tables with great views overlooking the water, but the one we were seated at was against a wall and near the bar with a sliver of an ocean view. I’m serious. I’m a little “I get what I want” so when the waitress came over, I said, “Is there nowhere else we could be seated?” “No, we’re full tonight.” “Really? Like… even if we wait 30 minutes for a better table?” “Sorry. No.” “Ok.” “Are you ready to order?” “No.

I told Randy, “I am ready to order I’m just mad.” I’m going to stop my story right here (don’t worry I didn’t say anything else to her) – but there was twenty tables free with a view of the water and that were STILL FREE when we left an hour later. The food at 35 Degrees was excellent but I give their customer service a big fat ZERO. (Rant over. I told Randy if we were in Canada I would have argued with her big time, but… we’re ambassadors of our nation in a new nation and I do not want to ruin the reputation of Canadians everywhere by getting what I want.)

Following our dinner without a view, we drove twenty minutes through some of the most beautiful countryside, picture green rolling hills full of cows and sheep that made me dream of owning twenty acres and living in the country with an online business that could make us independently wealthy. We arrived at KeriKeri Homestead Motel as the sun was setting and rested up for tomorrow’s big day.

P.S. A few iPhone photos to finish it off this post.

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  1. shotbymel

    February 11th, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Gorgeous! A pity about your restaurant experience though :(

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