Our trip around the Bay of Islands to see the Hole in the Rock was a highly enjoyable introduction to what our later travels around New Zealand would be like. The day was packed with beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery, and geologic processes that I've previously only read about in textbooks. Near the Hole in the Rock were were able to see the sea cave, sea arch, sea stack progression that we would later get a closer look at during our visit to Cathedral Cove. It was also interesting to see the result of rising sea level on the landscape, as the islands are hills that have been drowned in the last few thousand years. The trip provided a light history of some of the islands, as our boat guide told us stories of Cook's travels in the Bay of Islands and later Maori/Pakeha interactions in the area. I feel that the story of the "massacre" on one of the islands by a young Maori, and the Maori reactions to his subsequent arrest and trial by the British, helped to reinforce my awareness of underlying tensions that have existed between Maori and Pakeha since first contact.
The day trip offered a further glimpse into our future travels when we were unexpectedly left on one of the islands for about an hour. It was a gentle initiation into the fact that not everything will go as planned, and that this does not mean bad things will happen, but instead unanticipated opportunities to learn and explore may present themselves. It is definitely enjoyable to think back and realize that on the beach where we had impromptu lectures that day, there were a lot of shells and critters that I didn't know at the time but I could definitely identify now, such as the ever-present pipi.