16 May 2013 | Bay of Islands
As the wave receded, I noted a large clump of green mussels. "Danny, we have to be really careful here not to get caught by these waves." This was my son's first and likely only trip out in the Bay of Islands before we leave New Zealand and we'd stopped at Army Bay to collect fresh mussels for dinner. We'd both worn swim trunks in anticipation of getting wet, but I took off my vest and t-shirt as it seemed prudent now. We watched the waves for a bit, then I moved forward, squatted down and quickly began pulling the larger green shells from their hold on the rocks. 1,2,3 mussels... and suddenly I was awash in frothy sea. But this wave surged with such unexpected volume that I immediately found myself swimming where I'd just been standing. As the turbulence pulled me toward the sea, I reached into the rocks and held fast with my fingers. There was no time to stand before the next rush of water pushed me, face first toward the rocks. I held tight with my fingers as the forces reversed again then scrambled to my feet and out of the water. We both laughed as I examined myself for any major lacerations. Save for a few small cuts, the worst injury was to my pride. We quickly gathered enough for our dinner and headed back to the boat. After a quick jaunt over to Paradise cove, we set the hook and I started dinner. Friends on LaFiesta had hooked us up with ingredients for their excellent version of Indonesian curry laksa, and fresh green-lipped mussels were the perfect addition. It was interesting cooking with unfamiliar ingredients such as shredded lemon grass, lime leaves, palm sugar and fried shallots which Angelina had procured for us at an Asian specialty shop in Whangarei. With a bit of jasmine rice, the end result was awesome and we have some mussels left over for tomorrow too. Hmmm...maybe Italian style with pasta and garlic bread!