I strip to my underwear with the rumble of waves in the distance and the cold biting my skin. It is the middle of the night and the sky is full with stars. Within seconds I sink into a hot pool. The warmth is familiar, it’s just like getting into a bath, but so strange as you wouldn’t expect to find it in the middle of a beach during the early hours of the morning.
Speaking of strange, I am sharing this pool with strangers, one whom I met on the Kiwi Experience bus earlier and the other two German boys who I met just as we asked to share the pool they built. I am grateful for the dark to be covering my skin and mismatching bra. The wine I drank earlier gave me the liquid courage to get into the pool. Now I am tipsy, very much at ease with the situation but not quite numb to the surreality of it.
I lay back and look at the sky. It is covered with so many stars, with swirls of silver, in places its hard to distinguish whether the light is more silver or violet. I feel like I can see the galaxy.
I wish I knew more about constellations.
Earlier in the evening, during drinks at the hostel, we were stargazing. C had been pointing out constellations, their fingers confidently curving to gesture the shapes. I tried to follow but my brain couldn’t see the lines. Shortly after, a group of us decided to go the beach – wanting a better look at the night sky, away from the lights.
“Turn your lights off,” C demanded as we made our way down. Begrudgingly, I did. My steps became hesitant but I kept walking, reassured by the noises of others around me.
I was rewarded by the sight of glowworms, like starlight dotted among the trees. I had never seen them before and was so strangely delighted by such a small thing.
I try to remember those constellations now, as I lay in the pool but once again get lost. I don’t mind though, I will get happily lost in this view. I see a shooting star. And another. This may be a moment to contemplate my place in the universe but right now I’m so grateful that I get to see it.
* * *
A little note to those visiting NZ:
During the day I found Hot Water Beach pretty underwhelming. If you’re in the Coromandel I would suggest New Chums Beach or walk to Cathedral Cove.