A few months ago, my friend and travel buddy Daz suggested a trip to Niue. "Where's that?" I said. After the year I've had, I thought it would be good to get away for my birthday. So the trip was booked. It was a welcome reprieve as I've been quite stressed with all the work I've been putting in to expand my well-being centre. It's been all work work work. Time to play.
Here are some facts about Niue:
|Smashing coconuts on the sharp rock|
|Climbing down into the chasm|
My motto for the week was: "Do something every single day that scares you". I understand the meaning of that statement after my week in Niue. Not because Niue was scary, but because there were opportunities to challenge myself each and every single day. When you feel the fear and do it anyway, you are allowing yourself an opportunity to grow. You are challenging your limits and stretching your potential. I thrive on adrenaline. That's a fact. My body loves it. The higher my adrenaline, the better my body seems to function. I realize that this is not healthy for most people but I've already established that I am not normal.
|Up close and personal with a Humpback in Niue|
|Watching her descend|
Here's my video... just remember about the adrenaline... it's a bit shaky. You can watch the experience from my eyes.
|That's me to the left blowing bubbles.|
|I'm the one on top with the split fins.|
|Matapa Chasm - Great snorkeling|
Later that day I went on my first ever night dive. I conquered more fears - sharks and the dark. The adrenaline was pumping when I jumped in from the wharf that night. Once again it was a heart pounding moment with my head telling me not to do it. The team were phenomenal and once I gave the "ok" under the sea, I knew I was going to be just fine. I didn't see any sharks that night but maybe that's because I didn't want to see any. Just navigating around in the dark was enough for me. The visibility in Niue is incredible, a great spot to attempt a night dive.
The following day I did a double dive at Limu Cavern and the Maze. It's been a number of years since I did my last dive and I made a promise with myself to get back into it this year. The feeling of utter peace and calm one feels when diving is inexplicable. Under the sea you are weightless and the sounds of the ocean are so serene. It's just the sound of your own breath and if you're lucky you might hear whale song. Diving is meditation in action.
Niue was the perfect holiday destination for me. There was a lot of opportunities to explore and play. You don't really go to Niue to sit around by the pool. I guess for some people that's what a holiday is, to sit around a pool drinking cocktails and relaxing with a book. But I have that life in New Zealand. I love exploring and meeting the locals and learning about the culture. Niue is all about raw beauty. The rugged landscape make for interesting treks and the coral chasms make for hours and hours of snorkeling exploration. It's hard to choose a favourite spot because they're all special.
|The rugged landscape at Togo Chasm.|
|My new Czech friends|
|Looking down into Avaiki from the cliff|
|Daz and the Blue Flame|
|Coconut crabs bound up ready to buy|
There are no cows, sheep or goats on the island so all milk and red meat is imported from New Zealand.
There are chickens everywhere and I was amazed that the dogs and the cats don't chase them (or each other for that matter) constantly. Even the animals were laid back and chilled out!
|Congratulating the achievers at Niue Primary|
|The outstanding students of the week|
And finally, on the day we were leaving we dropped in at the Primary School for their Friday morning open assembly. A personal experience for me because there are Canadian flags painted all over the school property. The Niueans are grateful for the financial help the Canadian government sent after the cyclone in 2004. It's great to see old fashioned values still being taught in school. The children sang and performed with their ukelele's (which you can watch in my video). I brought some little items for some of the children which I passed on to the school principal Itzy (her name). I was so taken by the school that I asked Itzy if I could send something every month for a special student who achieves high marks. She invited me to speak to the children and asked me to hand out the certificates of achievement for the week. I was honored. It was such a simple thing to do but one of the highlights of my week.
Niue is well worth a trip. If you love camping, seafood and trying new and different cuisine, diving and snorkeling, want to get to know the locals and hate constantly complaining tourists then you won't be disappointed with Niue. If you require luxury, pampering, getting waited on hand and foot, big buffet dinners with Western food and lying on sandy beaches baking in the sun then this is not the holiday destination for you.
If you decide to go, let me know and I'll give you some ideas of what to take with you, who to contact and what to see while you're there. If you don't want to travel alone, I think I can be easily convinced to be a travel companion. :) Leave a message and let me know when you want to go!
Fakaaue lahi mahaki.