|Totaranui 12th – 14th March Blog 152
The alarm goes off 5am we snap wide awake instantly and turn on the radio, we don’t have to wait long the earthquake in Japan is headline news but thankfully for us the tsnuami threat to New Zealand waters has diminished, exhausted we snuggle back for a few more hours kip it was a tense night.
Now a more leisurely 9am we turn on the radio for more updates and find the earthquake was a horrific 8.9 closely followed by a tsunami. Having experienced the Christchurch one the enormitity of what has happened sinks in, not only that it is still very recent in our minds having travelled and camped all down the Sendai coast making friends and staying in the rider house on the coast. Our Japanese friends are very much in our thoughts as we busy ourselves with normal tasks.
We cannot do anything to change what has happened so decide to make full use of the fact that we are still alive especially as those we met in Japan were so enthusiastic about our travels we feel we owe it to them to pack as much into the next couple of years as we can.
We bid farewell to John who has shamed us by returning from a run to the next cove by the time we have got up, he is leaving today but we exchange numbers and hope our paths will cross again. After lunch we pack our swimming gear and head off to separation point. It’s a good tramp right alongside the sea, it alternates between cliff tops and then walking along a beach but it is all beautiful, it’s hard to believe what has happened the other side of these waters. After a good walk we return to Anapai Bay where we have a swim before drying off in the sun there are only two other people on this entire stretch of beach. We give ourselves an hour or so to walk back before dark. In the daylight we can see how large this campsite is, when full it could hold a 1000 or so people, there are about 200 now as we are out of season so still no mean feat to go round and individually warn everyone, understandably a lot left this morning after a sleepless night. We make dinner and retire for the night.
The sun is up it’s going to be another scorcher we head south deeper into Abel Tasman today. We cannot walk from the campground as there is a tidal estuary and it doesn’t fit timing wise but there is a shuttle boat which we hop on. We arrange to be picked up from a different beach than our landing the plan is to walk the difference. We get another chance to view seals as the boat passes an island they frequent before we are dropped off at Bark Bay along with most of the passengers. Abel Tasman is a mecca for walkers and this is the most tourists we’ve seen in a while. The route hugs the coast edge whilst walking through native bush and it is perfect temperature wise dappled shade and you can pick how far you wish to walk by using the water taxis. There is even an option to do the whole 4-5 day tramp and camp at set beaches and huts along the way.
We have lunch on the beach staring out at ‘seal’ island before starting our tramp. It is quite possibly the best walk we have done so far helped by the stunning views out to the coves and sea. Our route takes us past an old granite quarry before we arrive at Onetahuti Beach with enough time for a snorkle and swim after drying off in the sun we wait for our boat home.
We feel dinner may be a tad bland as we are running short on supplies but with a bit of creative cooking Kev rustles up a lovely risotto with soy sauce a can of tuna and sirfried veg washed down with a glass of wine or two. We chat to a family on our way back from the beach but our good day is marred by an hour long fight with the zip on the inner tent which we finally win. The zips are just about hanging in but with constant use they keep splitting open just when you need them most……must be time for bed.
Autumn is coming it is a little colder and dewy in the mornings we are in no hurry to leave this amazing paradise so allow the tent to dry before we ride out, we have that amazing ride back to look forward to, the switch back gravel road that weaves and twists over the mountains for about 25km ending up in Takaka where we find the library offers free wifi a rare thing in these parts we catch up on emails and see the first newspapers of Japan it seems it was even worse than we imagined with the nuclear threat as well. We post a message out to our Japanese friends. Kev gets chatting to the owner of another unusual machine outside, at first glance it looks just like a normal aluminium framed mountain bike but after a double take he spots some fins and a tiny engine. It has a 30cc superlight ally four stroke strimmer engine very cleverly built into it so that it can run purely on the engine or just pedal power or a combination of both. He was really taken with it, it’s owner plans to travel with it at some stage and it will be a great travelling machine for one person. It’s still light enough to pick up like a mountain bike and easily and cheaply shipped by air not to mention being able to ride mountain bike tracks and infinite amounts of off road trails brilliant !!! . It’s late when we head off to the lookout of Fairwell Spit, we can see the spit fairly clearly and just make out Mount Egmont/Taranaki at the bottom of the North Island. On the way back we visit Waikoropuru or Puru springs as it is locally known, reportedly the clearest springwater in Oceania. The water is most certainly clear and we can see many diffferent colours through the layers of water, blues, greens and oranges from the various plants. There is a nature walk around the outside on raised boardwalks as they are so pure they don’t want contamination. Back at the carpark we are eating lunch at 4pm…. when we are approached by two people who enthuse over us and the bike asking if they can take photos which of course we agree to, it now emerges they work for Marie Clare the woman’s magazine. You are just the thing they are looking for he exclaims snapping my best unwashed, been on the road three days with no shower look! It will be just my luck to appear in the July issue!
Fame over we head back over the beautiful Takaka hill road and on to Nelson it is dark and quite late so we stop for a pizza in town before we arrive back at Simons for a shower then bed.