9- Hot Water Beach

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

After the Crossing, I headed back North to scoop up Markus from Mount Maunganui so we could travel the Coromandel together. We stayed in Hahei where we met some new friends to discover the mysteries of Hot Water Beach together. At this unique beach, you can mine hot water for two hours on either side of low tide to create a personal spa pool in the sand.

When we arrived, we had three spades between five of us, and we had no idea what we were doing. We aimlessly tried to figure out where to dig or even how to find hot water, and as the masses of tourists trickled in, I started to wonder if this was another Kiwi conspiracy in the making. We poked around for a bit, but it didn’t take us very long to find the jackpot. You knew you dug a good one when steam came pouring from your discarded sand. The manger at our backpackers told us that if you dig directly over a vent, the water temperature is 65°C or 145°F, and he wasn’t joking. They should rename this the Very Hot Water Beach!

At first the waves were still crashing close to our excavations, swallowing the newly built architectural designs, but the boys had a genius idea to build a protective wall. We were already the envy of everyone else. We also quickly figured out that in order to make our beach hot tub a comfortable temperature, we needed to mix our very hot water with cooler water. So I found my job with digging (with my foot) a tunnel to connect the two sources, not even 4 or 5 feet apart.

It probably took us a good half an hour to get situated, but it was worth getting there early. I felt like we were such primitive pioneers with everyone else trying to copy our technique. Once the beach was crowded, we found great joy in people hurrying over to our cold water pool only to find that it was not even a little bit warm. Our hot tub comfortably fit all five of us, but what was most interesting to us was how the waters didn’t so much mix, but more or less stayed to each respective side. If one person laid down dividing the hot water from the cold water, you could distinctively feel a difference when they stood up. We were fascinated with how bloody hot it was. And I mean, really freaking hot! Like so hot it burned your feet if you accidently stepped in the wrong puddle. It never got old watching some unfortunate soul act like a human Mexican jumping bean, screaming profanities in the process of trying to race into the chilly ocean to cool down.

The night was hazy, and mixed with the steam rolling off the hot water, it felt like a true spa, and so relaxing with the sound of waves crashing next to us. Here is a picture of the five architectural geniuses: Franz from Italy, Me, Kathi from Austria, Markus and Eric from outside Philly.

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