The storms and rain over the past few days have made the early winter weather in Fiordland seem calm and dry by comparison! More rain, thunder, lightning and (what have now become normal) stormy winds, woke me during the night. Hobo slept in a number of places: on me, on the sleeping bag and on the end of the bed. Up, with the fire blazing, reading, then getting my day sort of underway. It took me a while, as I had to wait until the insane rain had stopped and until I had managed to convince myself to head outwards and onwards in an effort to discover some new beaches.
But first, a trip into Collingwood, to send some unwanted gear back home via the Post Office, only to get blasted by another rain storm and more frantic winds. Safely back in Cuzzie, the sun starts to shine. There’s a place I’ve been meaning to go and look at for a couple of days, so I point Cuzzie in the direction of Patons Rock Beach and set off. As I start driving, I have second thoughts as we are being really badly blown about by the wind gusting down and over the vast ranges, making it hard to keep Cuzzie on the road. Honestly, if I could have turned round, I would have but it was easier just to keep going towards my location.
Would you believe it, the beach was totally sheltered! I parked up beside a wooden bench and picnic table in the sun and, although a small amount of rain did fall briefly, it was tranquil and I had the beach entirely to myself. Having sat on the bench and read for a while and the afternoon having calmed down somewhat, I threw on my kayak gear and went for a short paddle. Close to the shore it was okay but further out, it was not at all calm. But at least it gave my arms a good work out! Back on dry land I loaded up, then went for a gentle stroll along one section of this beach. Sand and small shells crunch under my feet and I marvel at how calm and beautiful it is. My foraging eyes spot numerous scallop shells as well so, maybe I can try to create a dredge off the back of my kayak. I’ll be returning to this gem of a location, that’s for sure!
I cook up popcorn and get busy doing another quick job, having forgotten to turn off the gas, and all of a sudden realise I have some rather crispy, charcoal-style popcorn for my afternoon snack! Not the best, I can assure you. By 5pm, I was heading back to meet Joyce and Mary to take part in an orienteering race, as part of a local fundraiser for a defibrillator. Now, imagine this: it’s nearly nightfall, we have a map, a clue page, head torches and trails to follow in the bush in the dark!! I forgot to bring my GPS with me, and did I mention I’m in the company of six teenage girls? But there was lots of fun to be had. I’m sure I helped us all to get lost at one stage! We were given one hour to complete the track but, heck, we did become rather disoriented. In the end, we just aimed towards the sound of the ocean in order to get back!!! Then, and only then, did Mary tell me they had named our team "Let's get lost". Brilliant! Because we very nearly did!! Anyhow, nice to spend some time with new people and a great way to have lots of fun. But, maybe next time, it would be easier to try this new sport during daylight hours!!
Back at the cottage, tired but happy. Hobo has come to visit and we are settled down for the night. This weekend I have a few plans and a couple of visits to make but, as a wonderful gentleman said to me today while chatting on the phone, “You’re living a wonderful nomad’s life, so enjoy the journey, enjoy wherever it takes you and enjoy your land-based time!”. You’ll be glad to know I fully intend to do so.
My smiles today:
Seeing hail falling heavily this morning, a first for this trip.
More snow on the ranges today.
A new, tranquil, flat bay to paddle on.
Orienteering. Another first.
My hot casserole tonight. Yum!
Sitting on a wooden seat in the sun reading. This is a rare occurrence.
My thoughts for today:
Every morning, a new page starts in your story. Today, make it a great one!
For now, “Goodnight” from Red. Ma Te Wa.