Day 401...The Return of The Caged Tiger

Wednesday 30 November 2016

I have tried hard from the start of today to keep busy and occupied. There hasn’t been a day like this for a while; a high sweeping across my part of New Zealand and an almost two-metre swell predicted all day tomorrow. I look to the sky and ask for the swells, please, to drop by tonight. Then Bianca and I go onto the beach for a run. We get sand in our shoes and try to dodge a small, rambling stream in an effort to keep our shoes dry. Well, that didn’t happen, so we had to run with wet, sandy shoes this morning.

Back beside Cuzzie, we did a few weight-bearing exercises, then made the most of this little campsite, eating breakfast outside on a picnic table. Then it was time to head off towards some very winding and extremely dusty roads; the type on which Cuzzie loves to inhale dust so that it seeps into the camper-van and you can feel it in your mouth and at the back of your throat. We checked out a possible landing spot, one at which Paul Caffyn had landed in Mitimiti.

We had to laugh at the state of Cuzzie’s insides and also at the horses and cows sunbathing on this beach; a very funny scene! We stopped to talk to a local, then headed to catch a car ferry to make this journey a little shorter. We ate lunch as we crossed over from Kohukohu to Rawene, then wound along the Hokianga coast again for a little while, ducking down a farmer’s bumpy track but only getting a little way before finding a large gate with a notice saying “Private Property”.

By this stage we are very dusty inside and out so we decide to stop at about 4.30pm and take a short walk to stretch our legs. We stop and stare up at Tane Mahuta, the largest and oldest Kauri in the Waipoua Forest, the so-called "Lord of the Forest". It is absolutely spectacular and a feeling of total calmness sweeps over me. The impression of peace around this amazing tree is wonderful, I could have stayed there all night but I didn't! Then it was down another dusty road to Aranga Beach, another beauty on a blue-sky day and this always makes a huge difference.

Now, as the end of the day nears, we drive towards Dargaville but decide to turn into Kai Iwi lakes for a few hours to cook dinner and roll the darn weather report. Then we have to decide whether to stay or go south to get ready to paddle just in case Mother Nature happens to be kind. But, unfortunately, she decides otherwise!! The swells are still much too big for a safe Kaipara crossing and I must wait another day. Perhaps understandably, I become a tad grumpy but what else can I do? Cook dinner,? Look and re-look at the weather report? I’m on the receiving end of some wonderful, commonsense comments from Bianca which do help a little. Then I sit out on my favourite old picnic rug and eat dinner. I continue to cuss and frown but, as we all know, especially in light of the recent boating tragedy, Kaipara Harbour mouth is not one with which to play games, so I suck it up. After all, in the grand scheme of things, what is one more day?

Bianca goes for a late swim in the lake to wash off all the day's dust while I sit and watch from a safe distance, promising myself that I will have a morning swim before breakfast tomorrow. The day’s adventures have been epic. The sunshine has made our day. We have seen so much and driven so many back roads that I’m probably never going to see again in this lifetime. The scenery is way more spectacular; the best-looking forests so far. There are so many places I can hardly wait to get to and spend time in and around. Hokianga is one of those places and, as we passed by today, it looked even more gorgeous than ever. We had a glorious pink sky tonight and the Kai Iwi lakes are calm. I was able to chat to an equally calming friend who helped me get over my caged tiger moment, letting me offload my thoughts and helping me become more rational (well, sort of!) about the next section and my next couple of days of paddling. Plenty of time to be reckless on the east coast where, hopefully, I’ll be able to let the caged tiger out; perhaps even let it escape!

My smiles today:
A sunny coastline with some very beautiful beaches.
Running on Ahipara beach. I really wanted to stay.
Crossing on the car ferry.
Cows and horses sunbathing on the Mitimiti Beach. How that made us both laugh!
The peace I felt at the base of Tane Matua, the majestic Kauri.
Redz caged-tiger attitude today.
Cuzzie on the gravel roads. We love her continuing stamina and reliability, with 200kms on the clock today, she is a true rock star!

My thoughts today:
Look in the mirror. You are now looking at the person responsible for your happiness.

Goodnight from Red, Bianca and a very dusty Cuzzie. 

Ma Te Wa.


Sunbathing animals. Mitimiti Beach.

Lord of the Forest.

Lord of the Forest.