Friday, January 10, 2014

Maitai Bay and starting south

Jan 10th and 11th
Maitai Bay and the DOC camp there.
I had been warned that the “Camp Full” signs had been up a week ago at Maitai Bay at the end of the Karikari Peninsular which protects the western and northern sides of Doubtless Bay. It was a good trip out there and I arrived very early after leaving Unahi Reserve just after 7am.
The DOC staff were up and about and when I asked for a room at the inn, he laughed and told me that there would probably be space after 10am when people had packed up and left. He took me into the “boss” who was a delightful young woman who told me just to go down and park in the car park for the time being and she would come and find me later to move me if I wanted to move, or I could stay in the car park if it was OK.
I headed down the road to find the car park and found a wonderful grassy car parking area after expecting to find a paved parking lot!

So I backed into a lovely spot, wandered down to look at the beach….. amazing sight!

I raced back to the bus, unloaded the kayak and off to the beach, leaving the fishing gear behind as I thought if she wanted to move me it would be easier and quicker without. Just a quick kayak around the bay for some exercise and a look.
I loaded the wheels onto the back of the kayak and headed out into the beautiful Maitai Bay. Again some crystal clear water, flat calm and just beautiful.
I pottered around for about an hour and then headed back to base. After arriving there, I was making a coffee when I heard voices outside the bus. There was a group of people looking and talking about the kayak and the loader so I went out and gave them a demonstration. One of them was an American and he wondered how much to ship to the states…..
After a bit of a coffee and rest I loaded up the fishing gear and headed back out, this time heading to the other end of the bay, heading in a southerly direction this time for about half an hour.



 Again the coastline out of the bay is extremely rugged and unforgiving. I put down the anchor and started fishing. Again little in the way of fish around, but I won’t complain, I was having fun. At one point I believe that I had a nibble but probably just had done like Maui and hooked the bottom. Unfortunately he must have had a better rig than mine and while he fished up Te Ika a Maui, I got a busted rod!  What should be two bits, I now have three!

So I pulled up the anchor and headed back around the bay to the bus. It was quite a distance around the entire bay back, so I had quite a workout on the way.

On arrival I decided to wash down the kayak and as my gloves and rash shirt were starting to smell, I did some washing as well. I then decided to have a wander through the campsite.
Oh boy! was I glad that I parked in the car park. They were packed in like sardines in there, tents that had obviously been there for weeks side by side with little between them. So I decided to find a better, more level spot in the car parking area. There were a number of motorhomes scattered throughout the car park so I wandered around to see where I might like to go. I came across a very interesting sight with a man pumping up a large paddleboard! He was very excited about it and was keen to try it out. It was amazingly solid for a pumped up plastic board. It was 10ft6 and felt like a normal polystyrene/fiberglass one. Eventually I managed to get away and resumed my wander. I finally found “Bula Tau” and a couple in a quiet corner and approached them to see if they wouldn’t mind if I joined them in their quiet little corner. “Only if you bring the beer” came the reply. So I finished packing up and moved across and spent a lovely afternoon there. They had said that we would catch up after they had had their afternoon walk on the beach.
They finished their walk at around 6 and I took over a plate of cheese and crackers and my glass of wine and we spent a lovely couple of hours chatting. They are a lovely couple from Napier, who have spent most of their lives tenting around New Zealand with their children and their friends. Now they are in a small camper and still seeing New Zealand.
After another lovely dinner I headed back to the beach for a wander before heading to bed for the night.
The morning was just perfect and I slowly packed up and headed out at about 9.30 heading towards Mangonui to the dump station and then to Coopers Beach and the POP there.
On the way through Taipa I saw the sign for the local farmers market. So I hung a left and parked down by the beach and wandered back to the market.



At the market was a gentleman working with pounamu and we had a bit of a chat about where he got his supply from. Then a woman arrived at the stall wearing a wonderful tohanga. He looked at it and asked to touch it and then started to tell her where the stone had come from. I then raced back to the bus to get my pendant to find out where the stone came from.

He was very impressed with the pounamu, mainly regarding the dark shading of the colour and told me where it came from, he couldn't remember the name of the bay, but showed me on a map where it was, just south of Big Bay in Fiordland. He and his wife were quite impressed when I told them of the provenance of the tohanga.
He was a fascinating man, travels to the West Coast every three years to gather pounamu for his work and agreed to have his picture taken.

My GPS had me do one of the worst things in Mangonui, up one side and down the other to get to the dump station. Quite hairy as Mangonui is on the end of a very step little peninsular so the roads are quite steep! But I managed it and had to wait for 30 seconds while another motorhome pulled out of the dump station. I pulled in and started to get organised and the driver of the motorhome and his partner came over and asked if I was heading off to the rally. I told them that I had no idea that the rally was this weekend, but no I wasn’t. We chatted for a while and they were full timers as well and they were heading across the bay to a vineyard for a weeks work. They worked most of the winter in various places so that they could spend the summer travelling. They were both Australian but I didn’t hold that against them.  I then sorted out my waste and had to dive into the tool box for a pair of vice grips as there was not handle on the tap. As I got back into the bus I called the POP to see if there was a space. I then realised that there was as vehicle behind me so I dived into the chair while I was leaving a message on the phone. As I pulled out I realised that it was “Bula Tau” and the lovely couple from last night. I stopped and took the vice grips back to save him having to get his tool box out, but he had got some pliers out by the time I got there. We all had a bit of a laugh about meeting in strange places and I headed off through Mangonui and back to Coopers Beach.
Just up the road from the POP there was a fishing store so I pulled in and replaced my rod and got another one. A new overhand reel one, so we shall see how that goes.
When I got back to the POP the gentleman was sorry but he was full with residents tonight as he rents out the bottom house over the summer and there were three carloads coming this evening. So he directed me up to the Mangonui Fire Station, where there is a lovely grassed area behind the fire station, with some lovely rural views. The beaches are on the other side and I will wander down there later after completing the blogging! I have set my task to complete the blogs and get things up to date before anything else happens. Being out of communications has meant I have gotten lazy and not updated each day like I should. I must get into the habit of writing the blog in Word every night even if I’m not in coverage.  
Parked up for the night at Mangonui Fire Station

Mangonui Fire Station