The boat glided through the water; the only sound to be heard was the gentle thunk of the oar and the water running over it. There were twenty or so people on board but everyone was far too captivated to make a noise. Besides, if you made a noise you might scare them.
For you see, there were thousands of glowworms above us. They are what made the Waitomo Caves famous. It was spectacular.
It was as if the Milky Way was all around me. I knew it was still the middle of the day, but sailing through the cave, I could have been floating through space. No photos or videos were allowed and it forced you to sit back and somehow try to take it all in.
I had only seen glowworms once before in my life – during my walk down to Hot Water Beach in the middle of the night. That walk was like seeing a couple of stars on a cloudy night, whereas this was like seeing constellations radiating as far as the eye could see.
There was a part of me that felt somewhat ridiculous for finding bugs this beautiful, but I couldn’t help myself. Everyone else and I spent the entire boat trip in silent awe.
Waitomo Caves offered adrenaline activities too: black water rafting, abseiling, climbing, and more, but I was perfectly happy with the cheapest and easiest option of simply walking around the caves with a boat trip at the end.
Besides, I got my adrenaline pumping in another way.
During our exploring of the caves earlier, we arrived at the cathedral. Our guide made the group sing, pointing out that despite the wide expanse of the cave there were no echoes – there were Christmas Carol concerts hosted in there every year because of this. She said you could really take note of it with a solo voice. “Do we have any singers in the group?” the guide asked.
I was desperately curious to hear what it would sound like with one voice. I just didn’t want it to be mine. I loved singing, but definitely more so in the shower rather than on stage. There was a whisper in the back of my head: You could do it.
The guide looked straight at me, as if reading my thoughts. My sheer curiosity won over my stage fright and I agreed, adding with haste that I wasn’t much of a singer. In a moment of panic, I picked a song from my singing lessons back at school. I tentatively sang the first verse of “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square,” and there was polite applause afterwards. It wasn’t a performance to write home about and I doubt I would have made it through to Boot Camp on X Factor, but hey ho.
I couldn’t quite believe I did it, but was pretty over the moon I did – here I could say this feeling continued until later when I felt I was among the stars and quite easily make a reference to “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars,” but that quote can get in the bin can’t it?
I was proud of myself for doing something I never thought I would, perhaps this independent travelling was making me braver than I realised.
My personal, little, accomplishment aside the Waitomo caves were absolutely astounding. It is a wonderful sensation to feel as if you’re stargazing in a cave.
Have you been before? Or would you love to go? Let me know.