Four Beaches and a Birthday

As most people (reading this) know, my 30th birthday was a week ago tomorrow. Samuel and I were in Whangarei that weekend (a story for another time), so I spent my birthday with my parents – I think possibly the first time in a decade.

We had a very nice day – I did a little bit of shopping in the morning (two bookstores and a video store – Whangarei is basically closed on Sunday!), then we went to Wellington’s Bay / Whangaumu for a picnic lunch. Many other people (I’m sure they weren’t all turning 30) had the same idea (the weather was fantastic and it was a long weekend) had the same idea, so the beach was very full, but we found a spot up the opposite end of the beach from normal and had a nice swim and then a picnic by the car.

Samuel was getting a bit tired at that point (he didn’t sleep on the way there, unfortunately), so we headed back home for a bit of a rest and then a nice evening meal.

I had my ‘official’ birthday celebration today – I decided that what I’d most like to do was spend 12 hours at the beach with Samuel and anyone else that wanted to come along. We would be there from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (including lunch and dinner) and people could come along whenever they liked, for however long they liked, super-casual style.

I didn’t quite manage this – it ended up being 11 hours over three beaches, but it was a nice day anyway. Although Samuel woke up at 6:30 a.m. we didn’t manage to leave on time, so got there a little late, but the beach (Campbell’s Beach) was great. The weather was again really nice, and the tide was quite far in, which meant that it looked great, but there was still enough room to play on the beach (when the tide is all the way in, there’s only about 1m of beach).

Samuel had a great time playing on the playground and on the beach (building castles, and reading “box”, “truck”, “car”, and “ball”, as well as individual letters). As usual, he got a bit grumpy around 9:30, so we had a nice walk along the beach from the boat ramp to the point and back again while he cheered up (the 9:30 grump doesn’t really need a sleep, just a rest). We then had a snack and Sam read me some stories (Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book and My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes, which are his favourites at the moment). Olyvia then headed back home to check on Sebastian, and Samuel and I had a swim, then I walked him around until he fell asleep. Sam tripped over while walking after the swim and got a few new cuts and abrasions, but he didn’t seem to bothered by it.

After Olyvia got back, we read for a while (Sam was still sleeping), and then Simon, Jolene, Adam, and Reagan turned up. Unfortunately, it had got quite windy by this stage, so much so that it was starting to get a little uncomfortable. To keep the peace, Simon and I checked out Baddeley’s Beach (not attractive at all, although sheltered), and Point Wells, and then we moved everyone there (including Olyvia’s parents, brother and brother’s girlfriend, who turned up as we were doing this).

Point Wells is ok – it has a small playground, and it’s probably nice to swim at (for adults), and it looks like a good place to launch a boat, but there isn’t really much in the way of beach. When the tide is out (as it was by now), it’s also not particularly attractive, although with the tide out there is a lot of mudflat that can be run around on. Simon, Adam, Reagan, Samuel and did some of this for a while, and everyone had a bit more to eat. The kids played on the playground for a while, and although it’s smaller, seemed to have just as much fun.

Unfortunately, I was distracted by Reagan (the kid can climb!) and Sam assumed that I was ready to catch him (which I wasn’t) and jumped off the top of the playground, right to the ground (probably 1.5m high). This won’t come as much of a surprise to those that have seen Samuel play – it was bound to happen sooner or later (and may well happen again) since he has no fear jumping and does not always announce that he is going to do it. Happily, he just got a fright (hopefully encouraging him to make sure someone is ready next time) and wasn’t hurt in any way (the earlier stumble did more damage). After a cuddle he was quite ready to play again.

Olyvia and Jolene headed back to our place at that point, and the rest of us did more walking, splashing, eating, and playground’ing. Eventually Tim (+1), Liv’s parents, and then Si/Adam/Reagan headed off, leaving just me and Samuel again. We had a bit more of a walk around Point Wells – I discovered that the spot where the kids swim when the tide is low is not safe to walk – I got sucked down to my thigh (which would be Samuel’s neck – I swung him back to steady ground before he sunk) in the rather smelly muck. That rather put me off any more exploration of Point Wells, so we headed off to Omaha Beach (Google Maps doesn’t really show much of the beach!) for a final swim (which I needed to get clean at that point!).

We had a reasonably nice swim, although the waves were pretty strong, so we didn’t go out far and mostly I stayed on my feet. Samuel started to get tired (it was around 7:15 p.m. by this stage), so we headed back to the car, stopping off at the playground for a few more slides before arriving home around 7:30 p.m.

Now, I suppose, I ought to get to work!

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