By: Blonde Two

Mr B2 and I are in a state of excitement… we have booked our flights and are off to visit my family in New Zealand in just a few short weeks. There are many things about visiting New Zealand (not the long-haul flights) that I am looking forward to, the scenery would be a good starting point, the giant bonfire we are going to build on Norm’s farm is to the forefront of my mind, road trips in Norm’s ‘ute’ on long empty roads will be a joy as will the giant vegetables and abundant fresh produce. My most anticipated aspect of New Zealand for this trip however has come as a bit of a surprise to me… it is the prospective water temperature.

It started when Norm emailed to say how much he was looking forward to seeing us and let me know the current temperature of his swimming pool (I know! An actual swimming pool!) The pool is currently a balmy 22 degrees, which is 15 degrees warmer than today’s Devon sea temperature. Most of my previous trips to New Zealand have been officially winter, in July and August, during which time I have swam in Norm’s pool only when it has reached 16 degrees (it is heated by solar panels in the paddock) and much to the consternation of the locals. The water felt cold then, which just shows how acclimatised I have become to colder water (because even a Blonde can work out that 7 is less than half of 16). 16 degrees in Torbay sea swimming terms is positively tropical.

My excitement about the temperature of the swimming pool extended even further after I had checked out the seasonal water temperatures for the Bay of Islands (one element of our proposed road trip). I had been expecting ‘chilly’ to ‘shivery’ but had forgotten that, instead of spring (when sea water is at its coldest), it is going to be autumn (when sea water temperatures have had all summer to warm up). The average sea temperature for May in the Bay of Islands is 19 degrees centigrade (‘bearable’ to ‘positively balmy’ for an English sea swimmer).

I have mentioned seasonal confusion before… it happens a lot on NZ trips. This year I will go from spring to autumn to summer in the space of five weeks!