Sunday 21 February
After a breakfast of fresh mussels I waited for my tent to dry and packed up T2. I was off for a short paddle round to the next bay. There were lots of gusts but I had a tail wind and I slipped though the passage. About two kms into the paddle I saw a hunters hut and stopped to say hi. They are fully covered and protected from the sandflies, they asked me if I wanted to stop but I said I would keep going as I had heard Bulling Bay was sandy.
The gusts were strong but with no waves or swell to contend with the next three kms were covered with no troubles. Jase was right, Builling Bay was a great beach to land on. Amazing tall trees, a little grass area to pitch my trusty tent in and best of all, no sandflies! There were a few sand hoppers but these do not bother me. The tide was in, and I thought twice about turning back to the warmth of the hunters hut but decided I could always head back if the weather got worse.
As I made my way into shore, I saw that I had a welcoming party, there was a big seal swimming towards me to say hi. I gave him a wave with my paddle and he turned and swam away, perhaps he did not want to be friends after all. This beach and grassy area has seen many hunting groups, there was a cast iron grill for the fire, so the first thing I did was get the fire going, there was a good chance I would feel better about life if I could get a little warmer.
There was heaps of bark and twigs around so soon I had a fire roaring and a tent erected. I pulled T2 up and unloaded my gear, the sun was out so I grabbed my solar charger and got things charging, this always seems to be an urgent task. There are so many pipi and cockle shells around so maybe I will find a nice dinner in the sand once low tide arrives. While waiting I cooked up some sweet damper bread on the grill plate, mmm. Eventually the tide was out as far as I thought it would go and I went foraging. I pulled up a feast of cockles and pipis, and was pleased to be able to cook on a fire and spend another day not using my precious gas and food supplies. I am impressed with myself. Builling Bay you have been nice to me, thank you.
I wander around and look for wood, I sit in the sun out of the wind and smile, hoping that my support team are not too stressed, as I am honestly happy out here. There is plenty to keep me busy, just routine stuff really to make the time pass quickly. I have enough food and even some chocolate for desert, T2 is smiling next to my tent and I, beside a glowing fire. I can hear the birds calling, I am not sure which ones. I have seen deer footprints on the beach, but I am way to noisy to see them.
Tomorrow, I may be paddling, fingers crossed, Mother Nature please be kind. Stewart Island is a place I will be returning to for sure, I want to hike all your trails and stay in all your many huts, a truly stunning place. It gives me an idea of how New Zealand may have been before it was populated. With a full tummy and dry in my tent, I am tired and will go to sleep.
My smiles today;
The look on the hunter's faces when I showed up.
This amazing, nearly untouched sliver of the world.
A couple of yachts hiding from the wind in lagoons always reminds me of my fantastic uncle and auntie, Leith and Jeanette.
Again, my fire. I love open fires.
The wind in the tops of the trees.
Foraging for food and being succesful
My thoughts today:
To the people who worry about me, thank you. I will be back soon.