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Roaring Girl
The adventures of the yacht Roaring Girl wandering the seas.
02/04/2008, Rongamai Ridge again

We drove back over the marble mountain (spectacular views!) to visit again with Melissa and Michelle. As suggested months ago, Lou had come north with her new partner, Suze. Melissa, Lou and Pip, who all used to work together, haven't been in one place for well over 10 years. A good excuse for a couple of raucous evenings.

Places and people
Suckling seals

In the morning we went a little north again to collect some lovely tiles from Estuary Arts. This whole area is full of artists workshops and little galleries, with some good work going on. Milnford Quay is just across from them, and we revisited to see the view in the new sunlight.
This young kokeno was suckling mightily just below the wharf. Mum, quite rightly, believed she was safe tucked away on these rocks, and let us take these photos. You could hear the noise as the pup drank.
The other excitement on the Quay was Pip shutting her finger in the Puff's door! We rushed back to Takaka where the excellent medical centre cleaned her up and used lots of butterfly plasters to hold her together. Nothing seems to be broken, which is good news. It took nearly as long to get all the blood off Puff.

Places and people
And here we are

For once we managed to get a picture of both of us, on a bridge over the springs. Of course, it's raining.
We stayed the night at Carlconna House in Takaka, as we were feeling a touch of cabin fever from being stuck in Puff in such bad weather. Carlconna House, run by Cath and Tony, is a very upmarket backpackers! It counts as a backpackers because some facilities are shared - the kitchen, living room and so on, and not every room is ensuite. But wow! The extremely comfortable rooms are doubles or twins (no dorms here), the kitchen is better stocked than many homes, the living areas are so comfortable. We were lucky enough to have the whole house to ourselves, though it was great to chat to Cath and Tony over breakfast in the morning. We would recommend this place to anyone; really delightful.

Places and people
Crystal purity

The only place in the world where the water is known to be as clean is under the Ross Ice Shelf in Antactica. This picture shows how the perceived colour of the rock changes with depth. Nearer the edge of the pool the rocks can be seen as yellow or white, much as they appear in the air. As the water gets deeper, colour is refracted away and the same rocks appear as light blue by about 4m depth. Further away, when the pool reaches its maximum of 7m depth, only blue light makes it through and the rocks seem to be dark blue but are still clearly visible. This change is entirely due to the refraction in the clear water, undimmed by minerals or silt.
The springs are also believed to be the home of the taniwha (water monster) Huriawa.

Places and people
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

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