Piha - New Year's Eve

January 2nd already! Damn this year is going by quick!

Heh.

Hopefully if you are reading this, you survived your New Years celebrations and emerged into 2010 intact. New Years for me was quite chilled. It was nice, but also weird. Ended up heading out to Piha, a remote beach on Auckland’s west coast. It is not far away from the city, but the journey out there is quite arduous. There is only one road in, over a range of hills, and the roading is narrow and windy the whole way. It takes a lot of concentration to navigate it. Knowing all this, I knew it would not be a messy night for me, as I would have to navigate back home safely in the dark a drive that I had just found difficult in the daylight. Once out there, we hung with some friends of ours who live out there. I’m quite jealous of that in some ways. It’s a beautiful spot on this planet, and they were living out there. Able to take in the natural forrest or the beach any time of the day. The trade off of course is, they have to make that drive for any events in town. A small price to pay I guess.

After a decent catch up, and a couple of quiet beers we headed into the township to see what activity was happening there. We stopped in at a local watering hole grabbed ourselves a quick drink as the countdown began. It was quiet, there were people around, but a cold wind coming off the ocean wasn’t making it a very welcome place to be outside. Eventually the clock counted over and we were all ushering in the new year with raised glasses. A siren starts whining over the small town, like an air raid siren. It’s right on midnight. We just kind of shrug it off like, oh well, they’re celebrating the arrival of New Years.

Our party decides that it might be a good idea to see what kind of activities might be waiting for us down at the beach, so a one minute car ride later we arrive on the beach front to see little activity. Not on the beach itself however. A few houses close by are in celebration mode, but there are mostly just drunken teenagers on the beach itself. The mood of the evening took a dramatic turn as we look to North Piha and see a gigantic forrest fire raging up the mountain range. It was like “Shit! Where the hell did that come from?”. It was now extremely obvious to us why the siren was alarmed before. Being a small town though. The first response is really only one small fire truck, and the extra support would be a 40-50 minute drive away. With the coastal winds pushing the fire out in an ever expanding direction, it was certainly a buzz kill.

My wife and I decide that the night is pretty much over from there and after a quick excursion back to our friends house we make our way back home sort of reflecting on the weird turn of events. The fire was reported in the news the next day. From where we were it looked like there was a lot that was burning up. It turns out that officially it was 8 hectares that went up in flames, and it took fire crews and two helicopters equipped with monsoon buckets to help get it under control and eventually taken care of. Sounds like it was some idiot with a flare gun that had started that mess. Fired it into the air, but then the embers started it all.

Like I said, it was a weird one. I’m going to follow this post up with another one soon about New Years ten years ago. Which was a night that was not only epic for myself and a small group of friends, but helped set me on this path for this comic series. It is a bit more up beat than this post. Ha ha!

Any New Years story you’d like to share with me? How were your celebrations?

Thanks for reading!
Marc