Tag Archives: Whale_Island

Whale Island

Whale Island, or Moutohora in Maori (meaning whale), lies five and half miles off the coast of Whakatane, in the Bay of Plenty, of North Island, NZ. It is the remnant of a volcano. Purchased by the government in 1984, the island still displays its history with active hot springs– including a warm sand beach where access is not allowed.  The Department of Conservation has eradicated goats and rats and reintroduced native birds, bushes and trees. 

Meg and I enjoyed a late afternoon kayaking adventure paddling around the island with an outfitter, KG Kayaks. We returned in a gorgeous sunset. We had hoped to see blue penguins coming back on shore for the night, and dolphin. No such luck, but we were well entertained by seals doing wonderful ballet movements as we paddled close to the rocks where they hung out. We also enjoyed the lovely pohutukawa trees that bloom in December and are only found on coastal areas of North Island. We had missed doing this trip on earlier visits.  In the future, it is now on our “to do” list.

Whale Island from Air New Zealand flight to Whakatane

Meg paddling around Whale Island with KG Kayaks

Whale Island, KG_Kayaks

Kayaker with seal on right on rocks

Seal, Whale Island

Whale Island from Ohope beach

First days with family in New Zealand

Meg and I arrived on Friday, December 7, New Zealand time.  We enjoyed an easy flight from Portland to Vancouver, BC to Auckland to Whakatane, on the Bay of Plenty, southeast of Auckland.  Ambien makes sleeping the plane very easy, particularly after a glass a great New Zealand pinot 🙂 As always, Meg and I are amazed not at the miles we have come to get here, but at the complete change of geography and seasons.  Instead of snow in La Grande, we are enjoying surf, sand, and sun in Ohope.

Landing at Whakatane.  Whale Island

Norfolk Pines

Ohope Beach

God’s Mercy

“In the world of the Bible, the real explanation for the force shaping the course of things is gathered up in one radiant word: mercy. Creation in its entirety is a work of God’s love and though it is fractured by every sort of strife, it cannot escape the gravity of mercy.  God’s mercy fills the earth (Psalm 35:5). Mercy is the deepest quality of God’s love, the most stunning, unexpected evidence of God’s generosity, the most enduring commitment of God’s sovereignty…. Flexible and strong, mercy is capable of bearing sorrow’s weight and of supporting every honest effort to build new life.”

                                                         John S. Mogabgab
Seven Devils Mts in Idaho, taken near Hat Point, OR

Whale Island, Ohope Beach, North Island, NZ

New Zealand arrival

Meg and I arrived in Auckland on April 11.  The overnight flight was easy as usual.  We took a self portrait shot, enjoyed coffee/tea and a muffin at the domestic terminal before we flew to Whakatane.  Teresa, Sebastian, and Emma met us.  Impressively, they immediately picked up our luggage and carried it the car–and to the house when we arrived.  Then Sebastian opened his birthday present–a radio controlled helicopter.  He is well on his way to mastering its flight maneuvers.  We have enjoyed the beach and surf.  And the weather has provided some beautiful scenes and colors. So, many good days with family lie ahead is this great country!


This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday which, next to Easter, is the most important event in the life of the Church and of the followers of Christ. The incarnation of Christ is more than a story.  At Pentecost, through the Holy Spirit, His presence becomes personal to each of us ordinary people, regardless of the time or place in which we live. Each of us continues to “receive this gift of God dwelling within us to provide direction, courage, comfort, hope, companionship, and peace.” It is a power that gives us the strength to do far more than we can ever possibly imagine. 

“My soul is restless until it rests in you, O Lord.”

Early morning in Auckland, having just arrived from an all night flight from San Francisco, I enjoyed this March 27 reading from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest: “The only way a servant can remain true to God is to be ready for the Lord’s surprise visits.  This readiness will not be brought about be service, but through intense spiritual reality, expecting Jesus Christ at every turn. This sense of expectation will give our life the attitude of child like wonder He wants us to have. If we are going to be ready for Jesus Christ, we have to stop being religious.  In other words, we must stop using religion as if it were some kind of lofty lifestyle–we must be spiritually real.”

As we serve and seek, we must remain ready and recognize His unexpected appearance.