OFF THE GRID: GREAT BARRIER ISLAND
100km off the coast of New Zealand's North Island sits Great Barrier Island. A mere 285 square km wide and population of 950 people it is one of the most raw and natural islands we have ever visited. We set out from Vancouver to live on the island for a couple of weeks and explore it by bike, boat and live off the sea.
We spent 2 days in Auckland stocking up on food supplies for our time on the island ensuring we had excess coffee. After a short and vibrant hour long flight to Great Barrier Island we unloaded our food supplies and headed up to our home for the next couple weeks. On the way up to the batch (NZ word for beach house) we saw a huge pod of dolphins in the bay below jumping out of the water 6-9 feet in the air. A pretty insane welcome to the island scene. We unpacked and grabbed the fishing rods to head down to the dock to try and catch some squid for dinner. On our first outing we caught a couple nice ones and Billy and Connor showed us how to prep them for calamari. As we walked up the driveway we grabbed lemons off the tree and 30 minutes later had fresh calamari rings sitting on the table.
Only one of our phones had service on the island which was a refreshing reset. One morning we took a brake from our daily rifle practice and checked our satellite phone only to see a bunch of texts from Canada. Apparently NZ had experienced a 7.6 earthquake and there was a tsunami warning. Its called Great Barrier Island because it serves as a barrier for NZ to the entire West Pacific ocean... not an ideal zone to be during a tsunami. The locals all seemed relaxed about the news so we carried on with our routine and nothing came of the warning.
Our days consisted on hopping on the motorbikes with some gear (wetsuits, fishing rods) and seeing what we could find. Although there is a local population on the island you often have entire beaches to your self, minus the sharks, fish and birds.