10/24/2012 Greg and I hiked today from Awaroa Bay to Medlands Beach.
Again, because of our boat’s schedule, we had to be at a relatively fast pace in order to complete the hike on time. However, there were many more open areas in the trees from which to spy the coast. It was lovely and lovelier! Plus we got to spend more time walking across beaches then on the previous hike.
The boat trip out to our departure point was very cold due to the fact that G and I were in the very last seats right before the motor. It was uncovered and very windy. Artic cold! Brrr! However, we did get to see four seals resting themselves on Tonga Island. We also got to see the South Islands only penguin—a blue penguin. It really looked like a female mallard duck. Really unremarkable!
Have I told you how we are managing the trip from Motueka to Abel Tasman? Well, we purchased a Wilsons Abel Tasman National Park pass which allows us 3 days transportation to and from the park. We are picked up at the Laughing Kiwi at 8:35 in the morning (actually the bus is always late, so it’s really 8:45). It takes us 20 minutes to reach Kaiteriteri. From there we board the motor boat for Abel Tasman. Before that, we tell them what hike we will be doing and they tell us what the boat schedule is. It has worked well so far.
10/25/2012 G and I went on a hike today which was to have been from Totaranui to Aworoa Bay. It was a mere 1 hour ½ track, however, it took us 2 hours to get to our trail head by boat. I no longer dread long boat rides as the coastline lends itself to one’s imagination and stories of forest fairies and dwarfs come to mind. We have also discovered how to dress for the cold when one is going boating. You wear two shirts, one jacket, one rain jacket, gloves and a hat. Plus, you try really hard to be one of the first people aboard so, as Greg would say, you can snag one of the awning covered seats. Today, ten people could fit under the canopy and we were two of the lucky ones. Back to the point I was making about our hike. It was shortened to 2 hours when a rock slip (Kiwi for “slide”) occurred and made the track impassable. We therefore had to start at Goat Bay (don’t know the story behind that name yet). It does seem that the slip occurred after the last tourist season and there had been enough time to fix the problem. Unfortunately, the man in charge of clearing the trail was working on Kiwi time and had not gotten around to it yet.
We can add many more beautiful coves to our list of those already seen. What was really delightful about this short walk was the low tide area we had to traverse. On this track, there is not an option of taking the higher road. You are stuck unless you make it across the beach at low tide. The area seemed to be an immense expanse of golden desert surround for a tropical rainforest.
You could not see the areas where the water still flowed into the sea nor could you tell where the holes beneath the sand were located. I donned my flip flops while poor G decided to cross in his hiking boots. He hates flip flops and would rather suffer than have them on his feet. Don’t know if that is an upper class aversion from a bygone era or not. We came upon our first water crossing and G decided he would have to go barefoot. It’s not as easy as it should be since the sand is covered with small salmon colored shells some of which are broken into sharp pieces. He was a trooper and marched across them only tip toeing through the larger shell fields. I lost height quickly when I inadvertently stepped into a hole, but quickly recovered and made it through the first stream and then the next four. It took us 30 minutes to cross this golden stretch of land. We could have been much more adventuresome except our ticket taker recommend a two-step crossing versus the shortest crossing possible. Indeed, we had spoken to a lad from Portland who had stepped into a hidden hole while doing a low tide crossing. He lost his camera and he and his backpack were submerged. G did his internal risk analysis and decided we should do it the way recommended by our boat company. Whew! I did tell him we could have a race to see who could cross fastest going different ways. He didn’t want to compete!
Another highlighted event today was we got to watch the seals being active and swimming in the sea. There were not more than six of them but one slid off his rock and swam towards the stilled boat. He turned over and over in his dance for us. On the return trip, we had what I think was a once in a live time experience. We saw a seal eating an octopus!!! They cannot tear their meals apart so they toss them in the air while holding onto a portion of the food. So, we got to see an octopus torn apart. It really was like a cat playing with a dead mouse. Toss it in the air, eat what remains in the mouth, find what’s left before the sea takes it, repeat to the delight of five people aboard a motor boat. It surely made up for the boat driver being 45 minutes late picking us up. He was even later getting the next batch of people from their departure point.
We have been here so long that our usual bus driver knows that we are the Taylor’s. Plus, the boat driver commented that I pronounced “Mot” correctly. Not only that, I called it what the locals call it. We are beginning to recognize the school children that pass by while we wait for the bus to Abel Tasman. Too bad we leave tomorrow for Nelson and then to the West Coast.