The view from the lighthouse at Cape Reinga is stunning.
The northernmost tip of New Zealand, where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean feels like the end of the world. The currents from the two waters collide in a pile of white foam and swirling whirlpools at the point where the Maori believed the departed spirits of their dead came to enter the next world.
We had intended to sled on the giant dunes today, and walk on the silica sand beach on the Pacific coast of the peninsula. We’d hoped to find the pink sand beaches that our friends recommended to us. We did none of those things.
Instead we blew out a tire.
We’re not sure how it happened, but all of a sudden there was a prodigious flapping sound on the driver’s side and the tire was completely, and utterly flat. This was not a slow leak, it was either popped, or the seal on the rim was breached, or something. There’s no obvious puncture.
Naturally, it happened in the middle of a long steep incline, with no where to get off of the road and well beyond the reach of cell service. Gabe and I scurried for big rocks, roadside, to wedge behind the wheels. Tony surveyed the damage and set about preparing to change a tire, right in the middle of the road. Happily, in New Zealand, at the far end of their world, there’s not a ton of traffic.
Gabe and Tony joked about how much nicer it is to change a tire in broad daylight, on a sunny day, on a deserted road, in a first world country, when passers by speak English than it is to change one on a dark, rainy night on the non-existent shoulder of the pot-holed donkey track that masquerades as the main highway that runs the length of Borneo, with huge palm oil trucks bearing down in the darkness and snakes in the grass. They were almost giddy about it, as Tony extended the tire iron with another tube and jumped up and down on it to break the lug nuts loose. It took a good hour to get us back on the road, and naturally there are no tire repair shops open until Monday, so for two days we must drive gingerly and hope for the best. We haven’t needed our spare once in five and a half months, what are the odds we’ll need it twice in one weekend?
Maybe I shouldn’t ask, for fear Mr. Murphy will answer.