Just when you thought it could not get any better you get a day that tops the day before. I was booked to go on the kayak tour of Tongo island the seal santuary in Abel Tasman.. I was up at the dawn and again met the incredibly unfriendly French party staying in Keruka Lodge..they were “oh non alors” over the brekkie and obviously talking about me....so I held stum until I left. You know that they are talking about you cause they not so secretly point and then drop their voices when you come in the door. They were prob saying.. “its only a Paddy and he wont understand us”.. So they were a little more cocky this morning and talking out loud.. I was picking up the odd phrase... and just on the way out the door I cheerily said “Bonjour, ca va.. tu va bien? Vive la France!” in my flawless french accent and saw one of the girlies nearly choke on her banana. Served her right.
Took off for Marahau to catch the Abel Water Taxis to bring us to Tongo Island for our seal watching...The best set up I ever saw..Our instructor ( and believe you me, we nay I needed one!) was Mikey.. a kiwi with dreadlocks and really lovely.As we were waiting on the rest to arrive, I was introduced to a fellow kayaker called Bianca from Berlin.... a lovely woman who had worked with Greenpeace for 10 years and now in her new job of rural development is shortly off to Vietnam for work for 2 years. We were deep in conversation when we got attacked by the early rising sand flies who tired to devour us for their breakfast. A few others (people.. not sandflies) arrived and we were ready to go..In the car park you are put up on the boat on the trailer.. then a tractor brings the full works and you in your lifejacket on the boat, on a trailer, up the road to the beach and you are released into the crystal blue briney. The high speed taxi boat then took us to Onetabuthi Beach....an incredibly beautiful stretch with golden sands and the clearest blue sea. There were eventually 8 of us in the group with Mikey, and Bianca and myself chose to paddle together.. I think she regreted it within about a minute! I was at the back and had control over the pedals to direct the rudder left and right.. Now this should not be uncomplicated, but anyone who knew me when I tried windsurfing in UCC 24 years ago can testify that I was the only one ever blown UP the creek in Oyster Haven while the rest had to be rescued from the open sea.... in other words my sense of direction re anything nautical leaves a lot to be desired. Bianca will be cannonised for her patience.. Every 10 seconds she would say in a very level calm voice... “Der, we really need to go right to avoid those sharp rocks” or “Der you are directing us straight for impact with the oncoming high speed water taxi”. She already had the jitters re paddling on the sea after the tsunami in Japan and the possibility of tidal surges. I certainly was not helping matters!
Well all I can say is that we had the most fantastic morning. Mixture of nationalities in the group and again I was the eldest. They do tend to give me condescending nods and smiles and you know they are thinking.. “oh God, will we be like him at that age??” Mikey the lovely kiwi instructor did say that he was worried about me multitasking in that I was talking AND paddling at the same time. I should really only try one! A not very subtle way of telling me to keep my trap shut as I was scaring the seals around Tonga Island which were in abundance. It was magical.. they frollicking around in the crystal water not a few metres from the kayaks.... cubs and mothers all in the blazing sunshine. Fantastic..!
Paddled back to Onetabuti Beach for 1 and had our lunch there on the sand in the sunshine.. all included in the price and I scoffed my face..including a huge chocolate brownie! Not a good idea again with the high speed taxi back and then travelling for the afternoon to my hostel called the Innlet on Golden Bay and Farewell Spit.( most northerly part of the South Island). On the way I stopped in Takaka to get petrol as I was down to vapour in the tank and also to ask them where to get my car washed. It was really ridiculous at this stage as the dust on it was making me filthy any time I touched a part of it or opened any of the doors or boot. The lovely ladies in the gas station said ..”Mate no such thing as a car wash here hay, but hay you could try the boat wash in Pohara” Not a bad idea so I headed off the 8kms to there.
Now maybe its me and my recent exposure to nudity, but today just as I was going through Pohara and I did happen across the local Cycling club which was having its annual Cycle in the Nuddie Day!!.. My eyes were out on stalks as I watched a fairly large group of all shapes and sizes with some hilarious body paint and others with nothing but a flower, or a smile pass or a face cloth covering the essentials etc.. but the one thing I can say is that most of them were looking a tad uncomforable on those sharp saddles. I’d say the ire was only rampant that night.
I was too late for photos as I nearly crashed the car trying to manouver the camera out of the bag and get a few shot and also nearly wiped half their cycle club out in the process!! Anyhow I reluctantly went to the boat wash and got the car looking less like a ploughed field and made my way out of Pohara....
But guess what?? I got the the naked cyclers on their RETURN journey.. yippie..so I got loads of pics! For those of you interested I will be setting up private viewings at extrordinary prices when I get home!! It was all really good humoured but I can assure ya.. no Brad Pitts or Angelina members in that club but a fair few Darby and Joans.
Got to the really lovely Innlet Hostel in Golden Bay at 4pm and yes believe it or not I met the non talkative “lesbian” from the Hat Trick Hostel from Hell..when she saw me she said..” Hi.. I know you from 2-3 days ago”.. I have an apology to make though..... she is German .... not Dutch but is lovely and maybe not even a lesbian! ( She did speak of a boyfriend this evening while stroking her freinds face....maybe bisexual?)
I ended up going with Matan an Israeli on tour to the Cape Farewell lookout with the most amazing cliffs that would put the Cliffs of Moher to shame. I am still in awe the fact the cows were munching grass on the precipice and not toppling over. They seemed oblivious to the 150 meter drop to the ocean below and wait for it... no fencing electric or otherwise! We went from there to Wharariki Beach, one of the most incredible beaches I have been on. We got there just at sunset and all I say is wow and wow again. I have only about 200 pics to prove the beauty of the place and the sunset. The beach has sea stacks and sea arches cut into the stack and incredible fine sand and yet again a spotless haven. We eventually got back to the hostel @ 20.30 for something to eat and break into the 3rd 3 litre wine box I have bought since arriving... Bliss... sitting on the verandah outside my room looking at the stars. Then into the fantastic common area to be sociable with Matan, the girls and a few others here before writing this and then heading for my leaba!! Happy weekend Yawl!
UPDATE.. oh my God!!!!! I am so wrong re the girlies from Germany.. they are SISTERS as in ....SIBLINGS!! I just got the run down from one of them on her way to the loo..!! Yikes... me, my radar and overactive brain!!!