It’s that time of year for our annual fun reunion. These reunions began fifteen years ago. After the death of a friend, some of my husband’s Navy intake pledged to meet once a year. The alternative appeared to be meeting at funerals. So we take turns to organise an event. Every Feb/Mar we travel from around the North Island to somewhere and spend a weekend together. Always a long-anticipated and fun reunion.
For this year’s reunion, we congregated at Ohope Beach, near Whakatane. Our organiser ferreted out the most amazing house to stay in. High on the hill above the beach, the steep driveway initially scared the daylights out of me. But my trusty stead zoomed up no trouble at all. The weather was beautiful except for a ten-minute downpour one evening which had us scurrying to retrieve drying swimming gear. The view was amazing.
Whakaari/White Island sat two hours boat ride away and was fascinating to watch. At different times smoke/steam was clearly visible as the volcano smoldered. Often a plume puffed high into the sky. The island’s closure since its eruption in late 2019 didn’t faze us. No one had Whakaari on our bucket lists.
Ohope has a long, sandy beach and safe swimming. Unfortunately, due to tide times, our swims occurred in the afternoon. Probably more fun then, anyway. Afternoon winds made the surf more unpredictable and the waves bigger. Trying to stay within the lifeguard flags often proved difficult. We were all exhausted by the time we decided to call it a day. I loved being in the sea again. I haven’t done that for a long time.
Reunions are times filled with memories and heaps of laughter. Although I have noticed our reunions now are less filled with early Navy memories. Instead, they seemed filled with more recent memories of times spent together. Times these old sailors have shared with their wives. I’m thankful to them all for the fun reunions we are privileged to share.