Sailing up the river on a starry night. Does that sound romantic? How about sailing up a pitch-dark river surrounding by worms?What if the worms are glowing, giving the same illusion of a starry night? Would you? When you visit New Zealand, you should visit the Waitomo caves and experience them yourself. I am not sure whether romantic is the right word to describe the journey, but it is definitely interesting.
We went to New Zealand after very little research, and after two days of hunting good coffee and its alternatives in Auckland, we ventured out the city. Our first stop was the Waitomo Caves. When I heard their specialty, the glow worms (not to eat but to look at), it reminded me of the tiny transparent sea snakes we saw at the SEA aquarium. I was super wrong.
We entered through a small entrance into the cave. Decorated fully with stalactites, in various golden-brown colors, it was beautiful. In some parts, the water was still dripping from the top. We walked further into the cave and stopped at a huge empty space which, get this, was soundproof! And the guide, who has been guarding the cave for generations, started to sing beautifully. He told us that there are professionals who sing the Christmas Carol there every year.
We then walked through a much narrower path and started spotting glow worms on the other side of the area. We had to bend to see them, but man they were fascinating.
We went down the stairs as instructed. It was much darker because there was no more lighting. We could make out that there were several boats, waiting to take us around the caves which were filled with water. The thing was that everything was almost pitch black, the water was high, and we couldn’t even see the boat properly, let alone anything else surrounding us including the water. It was kinda like the beginning of the sequel to JAWS, where we watched and wondered why couldn’t see the danger that was staring them in the face. Some decided not to take the boat and went back up, the rest of us, went. I guess the curiosity got the better of us.
The more we sailed, the more we saw it. It was truly magnificent. The worms, millions of them, were glowing and creating the perfect effect of the starriest night. Everyone on the boat was quiet—it was one of those moments. I reached out to find Fafa’s hand. Partly because of being awed and also being terrified by the sudden thought that the cave looked like a perfect place for Harry Potter’s Basilisk to the hideout.
I think, to travel is to be blown out of our minds. I never saw myself as a nature lover, as I prefer to see skyscrapers from my window, but times like this make me feel how powerful mother nature is. I am thankful that I got the chance to see it.
Btw, the Christmas Carol opera got me thinking. What did people do there decades ago? Did they dance or throw parties surrounded by glow worms? Were glow worms considered to be blessings? I have this idea that the Waitomo caves might be a perfect place to propose to someone. Has it been done before? Or do you think my thoughts are crazy? Let me know! Don’t worry, it won’t be the first time someone labels me as cray.
Glow-worm caves, small places that contribute to such wonder to so many people. I have been thinking, if I get reincarnated as an animal, I would like to be a glow-worm, but only if the cat and fruit fly are already extinct by that time.