Big “Thanks” to Kim Jones and Family for hosting me in Whangarei

With Kim on top of Whangaroa’s Duke’s Nose.  What a climb! (Thanks Captain Olly my Nature Guide and Safety Net!)

I learned so much from Kim and was amazed at her knowledge about NZ freshwater ecosystems and her ability to calmly and enthusiastically teach about it to kids all over the Whangarei area.  She has created several programs for Whitebait Connection that have inspired me to get back to the Sonoran Desert and get our Tucson kids OUTSIDE to experience nature.  The “Experiencing Marine Reserves” snorkeling with Kim and  Springbank school kids in the Reotahi Marine Reserve was as colorful and beautiful as the clown nudibranch we watched laying eggs.  Several kids who were afraid of the water at first parted with sentiments regarding the need to have such marine reserves to preserve the wildness that is found there under water.

Kim and her new hubby, Blair (who for some reason I called “Glen” for the first few days) have begun a small and thoughtful boat charter business called”Bio DIVEersity”.  This photo of me with a green moray eel is from one of their dive trips to the Hen and Chicks Islands.  I highly recommend it!  We saw a hammerhead sunbathing on the surface, several dolphin, and a mako shark on the way out…and my favorite eagle rays and huge sting rays all around us.  It was a lovely dive and I felt safe in Kim and Blair’s hands.

How odd that Kim’s son, Zayne Johnson, has the same first and last name as my son, Zane Johnson, way back in Tucson.  The Kiwi Z-boy fearlessly accepted his Sonoran Desert gift of a scorpion lolly!

Along the sun-warmed Reotahi marine reserve by Kim's home.

A neighbor's chalk sign that seems to express what Kim taught me and many others.

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