Piha Rescue lives up to the hype

We headed west yesterday to see the dramatic coastline (and winds) of the west. The entire east coast will be explored on our cruise and so we chose Piha beach which is known for its wild surfing and black sands.

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The beach is pretty incredible. I have visited other black-sanded “volcanic” beaches but Piha’s sand is so fine and not the least bit rocky. When lovers walk hand in hand along the coast it looks like they are prancing around in black slippers. The landscape is exotic and even more so against the laid-back surf lifestyle in the village the beach surrounds.

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Since today was Saturday, Aucklanders traveled in droves to surf and lay in the warm sands. I have read about the popular and dangerous surf on this stretch of land. So dangerous that there is even a TV program called Piha Rescue. And sure enough, the lifeguards were out scanning with a 4-wheeler, 2 rescue boats and 10 or so in the crew. I saw lifeguards often in the water and I couldn’t tell if they were helping swimmers and surfers out of precaution or if they were checking from the water as well as from the shore.

Olivia was pretty scared of the surf and barely dared to get her toes wet before racing back to me for safety. It was a long and shallow coast though you could tell the rip tide underneath was strong. Out of no-where though, a wave came racing to shore and before Olivia and I could understand what was coming, she toppled over, rolled numerous times over and was dragged about 10 meters to shore. Before she could even gasp for air, a lifeguard had already snapped her up and handed her over to me. Olivia was crying and I was pretty stunned. We thanked him and decided to play somewhere else the rest of the day.

I noticed a sign walking back home on the beach with the warning, ‘Respect Piha’. Yes, I will do that in the future.

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Melissa

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