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Roaring Girl
The adventures of the yacht Roaring Girl wandering the seas.
Clear waters rising
31/03/2008, Waikoropupu Springs

Not far from the Collingwood/Takaka Road is the sacred site of the clearest water springs in the world, and the largest in Australasia. The 'pupu springs cover a large area, where water escapes through gaps in the marble rock that underlies this area. This is not avolcanic phenonomon and the water is absolutely pure. The swirl you can see in this pic is just one of these springs. The majority of the 14,000 litres a second that comes up here comes from a cluster of eight vents in this main pool, of which the largest is 1.5m wide.
The birds beyond are wading. Around the pool the rock comes up in a sharp cliff to just below the surface.

Places and people
Mists and mud
Sarah & Pip
30/03/2008, Milnford Quay, Golden Bay

From Picton we drove North, past Havelock and Nelson. It continued raining, really hard. We spent the night at Kina Point, and then drove over 'Marble Mountain' into Golden Bay. This little area, surrounded by mountains and sea is its own little world of small villages, magnificent views, sheep and pukeko.
North of the main settlement, Takaka, the road runs close to the coast. We stopped at Milnford Quay, a disused wharf on sand-bank estuary behind a narrow bar. In the low cloud the herons and ducks hunted in the mud.
We spent the night in Collingwood, a small town right on the sea and home to the best chocolate store! If you go that way, visit Rosy Glow.

Places and people
Rest and herons

I had developed a huge blister, however, by the end of the day. Just on my little toe, an unfamiliar spot. I arrived at Camps Bay in good time, and discovered that the serene and welcoming Mahana Lodge had a bed for the night. Result! This heron was on the lawn.
On reflection I decided to take a day off and ponder whether I was doing the right thing. By Friday evening I was pretty sure that I had had a rush of blood to the head. Maybe, just maybe, I could get a bed at Bay of Many Coves the next day and walk there without the pack. But on Saturday morning it was raining hard.
B---r that for a game of soldiers! Between them, the weight, the weather and my willpower had failed. I got the boat back to Picton, where fortunately Pip was, with Puff, just ready to pick me up!
Pip had spent another couple of days in Upper Hutt, painting Mums fence and sorting out the boxes we are shipping back to the UK. (Too much shopping, and stuff we don't need for months!) Then she'd been back to Blenheim before coming up to Picton.
After lunch with Millie, we were back on the road.

Places and people
Heavy stretch

From this saddle you climb down again and then up to the Tawa Saddle. I was doing okay at the point. I was moving slowly but steadily, pack heavy but manageable. Down the hill, and then to find a camp site along Endeavour Inlet, I reckoned. This was going to work.
I had not realised just how far along the Inlet you have to go. This picture (taken from the far side the following day) shows about a third of the walk along an easy track undulating along the shore line. It goes on and on and on. Easy with a light pack, but a killer with my monster. And before any one posts to tell me that I should have had it taken by water - I know that!
I camped the night at Miners Camp, a very welcome spot. They have a pleasant orchard (albeit a long way from my aspirations of isolated bush contemplation), which is inhabited by the rowdiest possum of our entire stay. I slept very well despite the hard ground under my sleeping mat. That's what 15km carrying 20kg will do to a girl.

Places and people
Resolution Bay

By contrast, the hostile encounters of Abel Tasman, who cruised the West Coast of the South Island the century before but never landed, were with much more isolated tribes, who had the valuable pounamou resources to defend. Whatever the reasons, Cook found here ample timber and fresh water in a safe anchorage.
The first section of the track is a steep hill. At the top you are rewarded with this magnificent view of Resolution Bay. The Resolution was Cook's favourite ship, in preference to the more famous Endeavour. He described Resolution as as near perfect for the purpose (exploration) as could well be imagined. And after all, he should know!
The magnificent landscape here, known as the Marlborough Sounds, is created by river valleys which have then been flooded by the sea as a result of both higher sea levels and the tilting/depression of the land.

Places and people
The first hill
26/03/2008, Queen Charlotte Track

On Wednesday I took the boat from Picton to Ship's Cove at the start of the Queen Charlotte Track. With me I had my trusty monster pack, weighing over 20kg.
The boat drops you at Ship's Cove about 10am. Here, Captain Cook stopped several times during his three voyages to the Pacific, and he spent about 100 days here in all. He found this an hospitable coast and rapidly established trade relationships with local Maori. It has been speculated that the iwi here were accustomed to trade being at the main 'crossroads' between the two main islands. This view has North Island in the background, and on a clear day you can see Kapiti Island which is just south of Foxton, where we stayed before going to Wellington. That's how close it is.

Places and people
Equinoctal sunset
21/03/2008, Foxton

This is of course equinox, when the night becomes longer than the day in the Southern hemisphere. The beach faces directly into the setting sun, giving us another splendid series of pictures. The tide was far out, dragged to extremes by the nearly full moon, and there was a very gentle breeze.
In the morning we went down into Wellington and did a little shopping before returning to Upper Hutt to stay with Pip's mother for a few days. Come Tuesday, Sarah is off to do the Queen Charlotte Walk, and Pip will be joining her in the South Island at the end of it, for our last few days before flying back to the UK on 8 April. Sarah will have the camera but limited computer access so the blog will be quiet for at least a week!
We aim to be in the UK for a week or so before heading home to Roaring Girl in Provence to get her ready for sea and summer exploring France and Italy. We plan to spend quite a bit of time sitting still though; since March 2007, we have visited Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Gibraltar, France, Wales, England, Hong Kong and Aotearoa. Being at home but still seems quite attractive.

Places and people

We bought (indigestible) fish and chips in Foxton and parked the night on the beach front. Astonishingly, this huge beach is empty, as you can see, despite this being Good Friday, the start of the last public holiday before the Kiwi winter. The car park had no minatory signs and we were very comfortable there for the night.
Foxton was originally named Manawatu after the river which reaches the sea here, but was renamed after Sir William Fox, several times Prime Minister in the 1860's to 1880's. He was a rabid teeotaller, and in many ways responsible for the appalling conduct of the Pakeha government in the land wars of Taranaki. He also at one point 'adopted' a small Maori boy, known as Ngatau 'William Fox' Omahuru, who in fact had been abducted (age 6) from the site of Battle of the Beak of the Bird in 1969. Here government forces were defeated, but one of the Maori allies took the child. Although his father and mother later sought to get him back, Fox refused and brought the child up in his own home. Later, he was apprenticed to the hard-line lawyer Buller, who was heavily involved in the dodgy dealings that prompted later land battles. In the end Omahuru abandoned his Pakeha upbringing, seemingly disgusted by the way the law was being flouted and abused, and became the adviser to the great non-violent activist Te Whiti. He stood alongside Te Whiti during the last desperate struggles, but then fades from historical view.

Places and people
The friendly Civic Centre
21/03/2008, Bulls

On the road South, you pass through Bulls, a town primarily notable for the apparantely never-ending amusement the name gives its inhabitants. All sorts of buildings contain puns on the name (Bank-a-bulls), and here is the Town Hall. If only more local government buildings saw sociability as a key attribute!
Incidentally, despite the large statue of a bull outside the town, it was not named after the animal, but after an early settler. (Pakeha placenames: that's a subject for another post!) There was a period in the late 1860's when a large black bull took up residence on the sandhills and made travelling very difficult; it would charge forcing people to hide in the surf until the animal lost interest. But he lived further south, between Foxton and Otaki, and eventually a local Theseus dealt with him.

Places and people
Waitaha Pa
21/03/2008, Outside Wanganui

Beside the highway into Wanganui itself, is an abandoned pa site. A pa is a village site, often described as fortified, and certainly this one was. It's about 200 years old, but has been abandoned for a long time, and the sign board claims ignorance as to which iwi used to live here. You can see the great Whanganui in this picture, below the very steep hill that is a key part of the defence.
On the flat river terrace there would have been houses and gardens, particularly for kumera (sweet potatoes). It is likely that some small gardens would also have been cleared on the other side, but the hills would still have been covered in thick bush. If an attack threatened, the village could retreat to this hill top. There are pits for storing kumera, which are still there and would have been covered with low, gabled roofs. The ridge is long and narrow, and at each end there were a series of defensive ditches, stockades and blind entries. Erosion, bush clearance, sheep and land slumps have left little of these.
The obvious shortage is water; this site could not have withstood a long siege on the medaevil European model. Historians here argue that the pre-European model of war amongst the Maori contained an intricate series of self-limiting checks, not least through the complex inter-marriages which meant the other side inevitably contained many of your relations. Also, before the Pakeha bought the musket, there had been a balance of weapons for a long time, with no one tribe having a decisive advantage in military technology. So sieges and battles, though very bloody, did not last very long, and the absence of water was not so important as fast access and the ability to defend against a tumultuous onslaught.
From here we drove into the town of Wanganui, which was shut up tight for Good Friday. No supermarket was open, which was a little disconcerting as were very low on food. So we took the main road down the Kapiti coast.
Incidentally, the spelling of Whanganui does change in this section for good reason. The Maori name of the river is Whanganui (and wh is pronounced as a soft 'f'). The settlers changed this to Wanganui. In the many name changes and restorations that have taken place since 1997 decision on the Treaty of Waitangi, there has been considerable discussion on this matter. The River has reverted to its Maori name, as has the region, but the town has kept the Pakeha version, and this compromise seems acceptable.

Places and people
Tane-Mahuta at the junction

Where the River Road meets the State Highway, there is a small info point, graced by this splendid statue of the god Tane. He separated the Sky Father (Ranginui) and Earth Mother (Papatuanuku) and so gave day light to all things. The manaia comb in his top knot, his facial tattoos (moko) and the Hei Tiki around his neck are symbols of his status. Tane-Mahuta is the god of the forest, and the statue shows his children who live in him - the tui and lizards at his shoulders, On his right hand is the owl Ruru and on his left is the brown rat, and between his legs is the weta (spider), called the 'sting of manhood' on the accompanying board. His legs are decorated with foliage, and between his feet is basket filled with the eels of the river.

Places and people
Romantic oysters

And here are the two halves of a shell caught for millennia and now making a temporary romantic sign on the side of the road.

Places and people

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Who: Pip Harris and Sarah Tanburn
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