No Goats on Goat Island!

Posted on 18. Feb, 2011 by in Blogs

Goat Island
Thanks to mars-hill for the photo

I’ve never been snorkelling, I know it’s sad but true. I’ve perhaps put a snorkel on whilst in a swimming pool on holiday, but had a few issues with inhaling water and there’s not much to see in a swimming pool let’s be honest! So that means my holiday to New Zealand has been an eye opener (literally as well because I just can’t bring myself to open my eyes whilst underwater!)

My first experience was in Bay of Island when I chased dolphins, but my real initiation started at Goat Island. First stop is the snorkel shop… “Do you want a wet suit?” I’m asked. Well I have no idea, is it cold outside? Do I need a wetsuit? You tell me! Turns out that I probably didn’t need a wet suit but playing safe I got one anyway. This was my first time in a wetsuit as well…do they have to be so tight?! (I actually think mine was too small as I was left with sores behind my knees, possibly the only time I’ve been not been happy that someone thought I was a dress size smaller than reality).

Nevermind, I’m suited and booted (well not quite booted, flippered perhaps) and it’s time to head for the beach. I’ve been told to swim to Shag Rock which is all well and good but they failed to mention that Shag Rock is under water! Now for a seasoned snorkeller this obviously shouldn’t pose a problem as you have your face in the water. I on the other hand need to see where I’m going – on top of the water!

Despite all this I make it to Shag Rock and am delighted to see all the fishes! I just floated around for a while watching them whizz about their business, totally ignoring me, it was fascinating. I even found myself able to navigate and follow the fish, proud much? Yes I am!

However this is where I lost my cool. Something touched my hand as I’m happily floating enjoying being part of the fishes lives, and I freaked and spun around. That was bad enough until I realised it was a jellyfish. Even less cool! When they gave me the sheet of all the wonderful things I could see out there, a jellyfish was definitely NOT one of those things! Are they stingy jellyfish?? Why did it have to touch the one part of me that wasn’t covered by wetsuit?? Flashbacks of a Friends episode are coming to me…what if someone needs to pee on me and they don’ t want to!

It’s OK though, I’m not stung, or if I am it’s not painful, my brain says the wetsuit took the brunt. Besides, the fish have got my back, the offending jellyfish has now become dinner! Right below me the fish were circling it and taking nibbles at it. I knew I made a connection with those fish for a reason!

Time to go check out some other fish, it’s rude to watch someone eating after all. I’m composed, I’m over it, I’m a snorkeller now. NO I AM NOT!! I turn around to be surrounded by even more jellyfish – they’re out for revenge like cockroaches I’m sure. It started as a wall of jellyfish, then they expanded into a circle around me. I definitely have no cool left in me, instead it’s a fear saying “get me out of here, now!”

Expert navigation aka swimming like I’m being chased got me out of this situation and I just let myself relax a little (far away from the jellyfish) to get over my ordeal before going off. I’ve been told that sting rays are around the rocks  on the coast line, so head above water I make it over there. Deep breath as I prepare to make my underwater voyage and put my face back in the water. Straigh away I come face to face with one of my new fish friends and positively scream! I’m pretty sure this was one of those situations where I am more scared than it, luckily there was no-one to tell me the age old “It’s more scared of you, you know”! I see a sting-ray shortly after this and decide it’s time to head for shore, my snorkelling adventure is over

I didn’t see any goats on Goat Island, mainly because there aren’t any, but I did see enough to give me lasting memories and to furnish people with a story to make them laugh. I’m not giving up on snorkelling or Goat Island and will return to both, but for now I’ve had an experience and I’m happy with that!

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9 Responses to “No Goats on Goat Island!”

  1. Calum

    22. Feb, 2011

    Perhaps they got the dress size right and you’ve got fat knees? 😉 No, normal wetsuits are bad for swimming in. They do make thinner ones that don’t harm dainty knees 😉

    I have a comic book image of that scream coming out of the top of your snorkel.

    Glad to see you’re having fun. Dank, cold and drizzly here, so it’s good to hear your summer tales.

    Reply to this comment
    • Dayle

      18. Mar, 2011

      I always thought I had fat knees, you’re right! ha! I imagine it was fairly similar in real life, I can laugh now but was freaking at the time. Summer’s nearly over, I’ll keep it alive with my backlog of tales

      Reply to this comment
  2. paul

    22. Feb, 2011

    Did you find out why Goat Island is called Goat Island?
    We went there last year but it was soo cloudy..under the water..that we didnt see many fish 🙁 but sounds like you had a much better time..jellyfish aside..so if you go again let me know!

    Reply to this comment
    • Dayle

      18. Mar, 2011

      I didn’t, but looks like someone else did! This post was my first trip, we went a while ago and got a cloudy day too. Definitely happy go to again though!

      Reply to this comment
  3. Mark

    26. Feb, 2011

    Yeah we seem to be having a plague of micro jelly fish along our east coast beaches … I had a snorkel there last weekend and went through billions of these micro jelly fish … visiblity wasnt that great that day, I recommend that you try again, wait for at least 3 days without rain so there is less river run off, and calm seas, then bang a few rocks together underwater and you should be joined by a big snapper in no time.

    Reply to this comment
    • Dayle

      18. Mar, 2011

      Someone else told me to bang rocks under the water – guess it does work then! The second time I went we’d had a lot of rain and it was overcast. I’ll try make it before the good weather ends, thanks for the tips!

      Reply to this comment
  4. Mark

    26. Feb, 2011

    BTW I think I remember reading that Goat Island got its name from the famous pom Governor Grey who said “Not even a goat could live there”.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Simon Fenton

    02. Sep, 2011

    Hi – I just came across your blog and was pleased to see a fellow Fenton traveller. There can’t be many of us with a blog referencing goats….
    http://simonfenton.blogspot.com/2011/03/dances-with-goats.html

    Reply to this comment
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