Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 8 - Farewell Spit

July 8 - Farewell Spit

Last night was a pretty good night of sleep. I don’t think I woke up at all from being cold or sore from laying on my side. Sleeping in a bed is much better than the mat on the ground. Today was Sunday so we planned to go to church then do some kind of hiking. We had a few options, but weren’t sure which one we would do.

I heard the alarm go off and told Andy I wanted to get up at 7:30 AM thinking that it was 7 AM. The alarm went off again and Andy said it was time to get up. I went to take a shower and get ready for the day. It felt good to shave and put on clean clothes. I got back in the room and it was 8:45 AM. I asked Andy what time we got up and he said 8. I told him I wanted to get up at 7:30. Either I thought I said 7:30 or he misheard me. I think he misheard me.

I had to rush to get my things packed because church was usually at 9 AM in New Zealand. We didn’t have much food for breakfast left since we had eaten most of it before we went kayaking, and what little we had left we took with us on the trip. Since we were going to church we didn’t bother having breakfast. We were hoping they would have free food afterwards like they did at the previous service.

We had no clue where the church was. Our guidebook had a few listed on the map, but not all of them were named. All we could see on the map was a cross symbol in a few places. We knew what some of them were since we had driven by them, but the ones off the main road a little ways we weren’t sure about.

We drove down the road and passed a few churches, but none of them were Catholic. It was 8:55 AM, so rather than waste time we drove to the information center. We weren’t really expecting it to be open on a Sunday morning, but we figured we would try.

The I-Site was closed, but there was a map outside that we could look at. It didn’t mention a Catholic Church, but it did have a school that sounded Catholic. Usually if there is a school then there is a church nearby. It was also near one of the crosses on our map, so we thought that would be it.

It was about 9:05 AM so now we were going to be late. We drove down the street a few blocks and found the school. There was a sign that said the service time for mass on Sunday morning was 9:30 AM. We were early. We pulled into the parking lot around 9:10 AM.

There were two other cars there. We just sat outside and waited until about 9:20 AM before we went inside. While we waited a few other cars pulled up and people went inside. Some of them were carrying bags of food. I saw one guy with a Baggett. I was hoping that would be part of the after service free food.

The church was much larger than others we had been too, but it still wasn’t huge. It had seating for about 200 people maybe. There were probably about 100 there at most. It was hard to tell since we sat near the front. Before the service the choir was practicing in the back. It was four women on guitars, a couple of guys on guitars and maybe someone playing another instrument. It was hard to see and I didn‘t want to look like I was staring at them every time they messed up, which was always.

They were practicing singing a song that was really common for us at home, but they didn’t seem to know the words or chords and kept messing up. It was pretty sad. They were actually completely terrible at singing. New Zealanders are by far the worst singers in the history of the world. Usually no matter how bad someone sings individually if you have a group of people singing it still ends up sounding good. That theory of mine has been completely thrown out the window. New Zealanders have disproved that idea.  

One thing I noticed about the building was the fact that the cross was colored and didn’t have Jesus on it. It felt much more like a Protestant church in that regards. I’ve never been to a Catholic Church that didn’t have a cross with Jesus on it. That was probably a minor difference than what took place during the service itself.

About 10 minutes into the service and I wasn’t sure where I was. The songs were completely different. Not only were the words not the same from anything I had heard, but the tunes made absolutely no sense. It almost seemed like someone made a tune than randomly wrote some words. In general most Catholic hymns are words directly from scripture, but these were nothing like that at all. And the singing was awful. It was unbearable even.

The other parts of the service were similar, but with some of the changes that have recently taken place this church was obviously opposed to them. Some of the new songs weren’t sung and some of the new responses weren’t said. The “Our Father” was done differently as well. They sang it, but not to the same tune that it’s usually sang. It also was in a completely unsynchronized tune and made no sense.

During the breaking of the bread by the priest he completely skipped some of the lines and therefore the responses weren’t said. For the eating of the bread I think half the people dipped there bread in the wine, which I have seen before, but not on such a large scale.

The biggest change of all was the sermon. A few weeks ago the priest talked about how some in the church want there to be changes in regards to women and the priesthood and the treatment of certain groups. He basically was backing the church’s stance 100%. However, the priest in this service was basically chastising the church on everything from celibacy with the priests, women not being allowed to be priests, the church’s teachings on gays and lesbians, and divorce. He also felt like the Pope had too much power and didn’t agree with the way the church was run from choosing bishops to electing the Pope.

The priest was calling for priests to be allowed to get married and for women to be priests. I felt like we were at an Anglican service since everything he was saying fell right in line with the Anglican beliefs. It was ironic because he even stated that this may be the last sermon he ever gave. I don’t know how open the local bishop is, but I can’t imagine too many priests being able to stray so far from the official teachings of the church.

The Anglican church is pretty popular in New Zealand and I was thinking this church would probably be breaking away soon. I think New Zealand Catholics are pretty liberal in their beliefs. Only about 50% of New Zealanders are Christians, and of those half are Catholic. Most aren’t practicing, and if they are anything like the people in Motueka they aren’t really Catholics at all.

At the end of his sermon the choir started clapping loudly and the rest of the congregation joined in so apparently they agree with his beliefs. I couldn’t imagine my priest at home ever giving this sermon or ever accepting it. If a visiting priest ever said something like that they would probably be booed out of the church.

When the service ended he never mentioned anything about free food afterwards. Even if there had been some I don’t think I would have wanted it. I was actually just ready to leave. The singing was awful and the service didn’t feel like a Catholic Church.

As we were about to leave the little old lady standing next to us asked where we were from and wanted to know if we felt the earthquake the other day. We told her we had. She said it was deep in the ground off the coast of a small town just to the north. It was a 7.6 on the Richter Scale. Pretty strong. She said it was pretty common to have earthquakes in the area.

We talked to her for a few minutes and then left. As we were walking out I saw people standing in line to get tea and coffee. I considered going over there, but no food was laid out to be eaten. There was food on a table, but it wasn’t be distributed in anyway and nobody was eating it that I saw.

Andy said he thought he saw cookies, but I don’t know. When we were outside I said we should go back and check and get some if there were any. We decided since we had already gone outside that we couldn’t go back in.

I had read that there was an outdoor market on Sunday mornings and we saw them setting up next to the I-site early in the morning. We drove back over there to see what they had for sell. I was thinking they may have nice cheap souvenirs or fruits and vegetables. It was worth a look.

There were lots of people walking around. A large parking lot had been converted into a haven for street vendors and junk sellers. It was basically set up like a festival with no rides. People were selling their homemade products, fresh produce, fresh food, and absolute junk that looked like something you would find in your garage or attic.
About 1/3 of the vendors were selling food to eat such as bratwurst, fish, and other items. Another 1/3 were selling vegetables and fruit, some selling more than others. The final 1/3 were selling their crap. It wasn’t just crap, it was random crap. It was things nobody in their right mind would want, need, or buy. It was basically a large outdoor garage sale.

There were old toys, books, Buddha’s, anything and everything you could think of that you wouldn’t want to buy, they had were selling. There were pots and pans, old telephones, utensils, board games. Useless things basically. I was expecting to find local stores selling their handmade jewelry or pottery, but it was nothing like that.

This was white trash heaven. In general I have been thinking this for awhile, but never really said anything about it. New Zealanders are more or less white trash, at least the South Islanders. It’s like any small country town in the U.S. There are your rich people, but he majority are poor. The countryside is very beautiful and the people are mostly friendly, but they are white trash.

I have been trying to put my finger on it for about a month and I’ve come to the conclusion that New Zealand is the antithesis of Canada and Switzerland. It has some of the same elements of both. It has lots of mountains, people that enjoy nature, and it’s very expensive. However, it’s also somewhat dirty, the people are poorer, and less educated. They are also a little loose with their words. I would say almost unprofessional at times.

I don’t mind it because words don’t really bother me, but they have no problem openly cussing. A number of people that have been our tour guides or providing information whether on the street or at an information center just use foul language like it’s a common word. I am curious if they would use the same language around children. They don’t use edited versions of music on the radio, so I guess it’s possible that they are just more liberal with their language. I have heard lots of people on the street cussing and New Zealanders I have met while traveling in other countries are always slightly brash.

Maybe it’s just their culture, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I was anticipating an upscale country that would be very clean and tidy with lots of scenery. I was thinking it would be just like Switzerland or Canada with friendly people, upper class and highly educated people, with buses and trains that were right on schedule. I guess the fact that it’s so expensive through me off. Now I know that they hate the high prices too and can’t believe them.

We walked around and looked at everything in the large garage sale/flea market and decided we knew what we wanted. We ended up buying a lot of fruit and vegetables for low prices. Basically we got all the same things we had been getting, plus more, and it was less than half the price on most items. We were able to get 8 apples for $3.50. They were large apples too. Before we paid about $2.50 for 4 at the grocery store.

We bought a cucumber for $2.50, which cost twice that at the store. We got a huge head of lettuce for $2.50, almost half off. A stalk of broccoli was $1.50, usually $3 at the store. Twelve kiwi fruit were $1.50, easily 1/3 the price at the grocery store. Six bananas were $1. The same amount would be around $3 at the store.

We bought all those things from the same farmer man. We had tasted some pears from one stand and decided they were worth buying. We couldn’t decide which we liked best so we keep taking free samples. Together we probably ate a whole pear. There were 4 or 5 types to pick from and they were all good. We got 11 for $3. Not a bad deal at all. It will be a good breakfast food.

Andy was wanting to try some food and the options were a bratwurst stand that was mentioned in Lonely Planet or fish and chips. Originally the bratwurst sounded good, but it wasn’t very big and the prices were ridiculous. He has been obsessing about fish and chips for a month so he got that. It was $6 for three pieces of fish and some French fries. It smelled good, but I wasn’t wanting to pay that much for food when we just bought a ton of things and we still had lunch stuff in the car. It was also only 11:30 AM. I wasn’t wanting any fish that early in the morning.
I had eaten a granola bar before we started walking around in the market, but I was still hungry. Back at the car I ate a banana and had some water. We now needed to decide what we were going to do for the day. Our options were hike around at Harwood’s Hole, which was Chetwood Forest in Lord of the Rings or go to the northwest corner of New Zealand to Farewell Spit.

I wanted to go to Farewell Spit just to say I had been to the farther point, but also because there were good hikes and views there. Andy was wanting to do the Harwood’s Hole hike. We weren’t going to have time to do both. The drive to Farewell Spit was 2 hours and the hike was an hour and a half. Even if we drove fast and hiked really quickly we wouldn’t make it back until 4 PM. We would then have to hike fast at Harwood’s Hole and since it was cloudy we didn’t know how well we would see anything plus it would get dark sooner.

We both decided we wanted to go to Farewell Spit and possibly see some clear water pools along the way in Takaka if we had time either before or after we finished our hike. The first part of the drive through the mountain we had done a few times before in the previous days when we went to and from Marahau for the kayaking trip and for our hike up Takaka Hill through the thorn bushes.

Along the drive we stopped at an overlook that had views of the Takaka River Valley. In order to get better views I climbed on top of the railing, it was about a 10 foot drop off on the other side into some trees. Beyond that the drop off was much steeper. It was a little wobbly on top, but I managed to get some good photos and then jumped down.

The hike to this look over was only about 50 yards, but we had to cross the street right past one of the really sharp turns so traffic coming up the hill wouldn’t be able to see us. I ran across with no trouble and waited for Andy to finish taking pictures. We jumped back in the car and went down the other side of the mountain. The road was extremely curvy. At times the speed limit was 15 kilometers per hour and the turns were sharper than a U-turn.

The drive was pretty uneventful. The scenery was nice and most of the way it was farms, pastures, and not much else. We did drive through the town of Takaka, but other than that we didn’t see a lot of interesting things. I did film a lot though anyway. As we got close to Farewell Spit the road began to follow the coastline. It felt like we were driving in the middle of nowhere on the end of the Earth. Nobody else was around.

The weather was slightly overcast and looked like it could rain for most of the day. We got to the visitor center for Farewell Spit around 1:30 PM and were ready for lunch. We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I had some chips and a granola bar. Since I hadn’t had chips for the past few days I had a lot left and since I had a tiny lunch decided I would eat a little more than usual.

I discovered that if I count the number of chips that I eat than I tend to eat less than otherwise. Also if I eat one chip at a time than I eat less than if I had a handful. I have been trying to conserve my food so I don’t have to buy so much. I hate spending money on food. I had a few sips of water as well.

We didn’t really know what we wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to see the ocean. We followed a trail that passed the visitor center and down a hill. There was a skeleton of a dinosaur behind the visitor center. We stopped to get some pictures. I got pictures of the scenery while Andy took pictures of the dinosaur.

As we started walking again my zoom lens fell out of my bag and onto the wet and muddy grass. I hadn’t zipped my bag fully before we left so it had fallen out. I had taken my camera out to get pictures back at the lookout and never zipped the bag when I put the camera back in. I wasn’t even intending on taking my whole bag originally, but decided I would just in case I saw something that I need to use my telephoto lens for.

Luckily it didn’t hit the path which was rocky. It got a little muddy spots so I spent the next few minutes wiping it clean. We followed the trail down to the road and then to a map with trails listed on it. There were a lot to choose from, but we didn’t know which sounded best or which we had time to do.
The map was confusing because it was rotated in a way that didn’t make sense. Rather than have the map showing things the way they are based on where we were standing the map was arbitrarily displayed. I had to use my imagination to rotate it correctly, but never figured it out.

We decided the hike that would give us the best views of the Farewell Spit was the Fossil Point Trail and then branch off onto the Old Man Range mountains to a higher view. The loop was supposed to take about an hour and a half.

The start of the trail was behind us, which also didn’t make sense because we were standing facing water and I wanted to walk to the left along the water. I was thinking maybe the trail would go over there eventually.

We walked over to the trailhead which was a stile that led into a pasture full of hundreds of sheep. There was a lady in a dress walking towards us across the field as if she was just finishing the trail. I’m not sure if she lived there, worked there, or was a tourist, but she didn’t dress the part of someone going for a hike.

The trail wasn’t marked other than orange circles placed at the top of green stakes along the fence. We were walking across pastures and climbing over stiles for the first half mile. As we walked the sheep ran away. It was really green and the hills had lots of rocks jutting out with gnarly trees. It looked like Ireland.

We crossed three sheep pastures and then came to an area with cows. There were black cows behind a fence looking at us like we weren’t supposed to be there. We kept walking. On our left there were more black cows on the hillside eating and staring at us like we were a threat. We just kept walking.

The trail leads to a fork in the road. To continue going straight would take us to the beach, which was actually the Tasman Sea, while the side we had come from was actually a different body of water. We decided to turn left because we didn’t want to see the fossils really and wanted views of the Spit. I actually wanted to walk out to it as far as we could.

The trail was really flat to this point and was just grass, but then begins to climb a little down a dusty trail between a row of very tall trees. At the top of the hill was a grassy patch where we did some gopro videos of us walking. We weren’t on the trail, but it looked cool so we filmed it anyway.

We then started going down hill past trees on our right and pasture with cows to our left. They were on the hillside so we were safe. At this point the trail turns to grass again and is completely unmarked except for a few stakes every 100 yards or so apart. It’s hard to know where to walk exactly, so I just walked in the direction of the stakes.

We had to walk up a steep hill that had about a 30 degree incline. It was about 50 meters high, but it wasn’t too difficult. At the top of the hill were some cows so I walked a little to the right for safety. It was more black cows and they looked like they were up to no good. At the top of this hill we had pretty good views off in the distance, but the Farewell Spit was in the complete opposite direction of where we were walking.

Since we weren’t going where I wanted I didn’t want to continue too much further down this trail to nowhere. It was also getting steeper. Beyond the hill we had just climbed was another hill. It looked like it could be the highest point and then I would be able to see further and in what direction the trail goes. I was thinking I would walk back down the way we came and find the proper route that I was wanting from the start.

There was a stake at the top of the hill with cows standing by it. I decided I would walk a little to the right. As I got to the top all the cows were standing and staring at me. Andy was taking his time getting up since he had just finished filming me. I went over to the right to give some distance between me and the cows. I wasn’t sure how fast they were.

I took a few pictures and then was ready to go. Andy was taking forever and I didn’t feel like waiting around. Between me and the next stake was the herd of 5 cows. I thought if I minded my own business I could pass them by without incident. As I approached I averted my eyes so as to not make direct eye contact with them. Usually that is a sign of dominance, aggression, or confrontation with other animals so I assumed cows followed those same rules of nature.

As I started to walk towards them two of them acted startled. Rather than back away like the sheep and run off they stood their ground. They were ready for a fight. I started to walk away a little and walk more to the right, but one of them started to move towards me to get a better look. He probably wanted to know where I was going.

I ended up retreating completely to where Andy was standing. I told him that the cows were guarding their territory and we weren’t going to be able to pass through. He didn’t seem very worried and just kept taking pictures. I’m not even sure he knew the plight we were in.

I tried walking down the path again. This time one of the cows squared his body towards mine. A definite sign of aggression. We learned in Africa when an elephant does this they are going to charge or bluff a charge. If they do you should stand your ground and look tough. They may charge, but most times they will stop before contact. Cows are like small elephants so they must do the same.

I didn’t want to find out though. I stood for a second and the cow looked me in the eyes. He probably knew in a few days he would be on my dinner plate, but he had one last stand in him. He squared his body and moved towards me like he was ready to bowl me over.

I wasn’t having any of it. I backed away. But rather than retreat all the way back to Andy I just walked extremely far to my right. It meant I had to walk a further distance to the next stake, but I was still alive and uninjured.

Between me and the cows was a patch of small brush, which I figured could protect me long enough to run for my life to the next fence. I was even contemplating how I would jump over it since some of them were electric. I pretty much walked 30 yards out of the way to stay clear of the death cows.

I came to a fence along a cliff and took pictures to a small body of water surrounded on one side by buildings and the road we came in on. There were also views of hills in the distance and the sea to our left. It was a really pretty place, even if my life was in danger.

I walked to the top of the hill I had been trying to get to very slowly trying to see if the cows had followed me and where they were. They hadn’t moved at all. They were all looking in my direction, but I was about 50 yards away and standing just steps from the stile. I could easily get over the fence before they could get to me.

I waited in the arms of safety taking pictures of everything I could see. Andy came walking up a few minutes later, lucky to be alive. He had walked right passed the cows without incident and as if nothing was the matter. I was scared for my life from a pack of wild cows and he acted like it was no big deal.

I haven’t figured out why, but ever since I went to Switzerland cows have scared me. In Switzerland they roamed around aimlessly on the hillside with big bells attached to their necks. As we hiked we heard them constantly. I never liked walking along and coming face to face with a cow then and I still don’t now.

There was a marker at the stile that pointed in multiple directions for routes that could be taken. We chose to keep walking the way we were since the trail was a loop and would take us back to the visitor center where we were parked. We were taking our time on this trail and it was about 3 PM. From the stile it was 30 minutes back to the car park.

There were a few steep hills to climb, but then it would be all down hill from there. The hills and all the scenery looked like Ireland and Scotland to me. We had been doing gopro shots all along the way, and I had come up with a great idea for a video shot.

Even though this is New Zealand and home of Lord of the Rings, my real favorite movie is Braveheart so I wanted to re-enact some scenes from that movie. I had been contemplating doing this shot for a while, but I never felt like the timing was right or the location was good. At least not until now.

The scene I was thinking of was when there are “runners” that scout the area and bring news back to the camp about the enemies locations. There is a scene where one guy is running up a hill with a backpack. I think there is even a scene where William Wallace is running on the top ridge of some hills when they are talking about the legend spreading and his accomplishments in battle.

I had Andy go stand down at a lower angle from me and then film as I ran across the mountain top. I ran for about 80 yards up and down the hills. I then turned and ran back. It didn’t look exactly how I wanted because the angle was different. In the movie they have shots from above and closer up from a low angle, but the shots we got were still good I felt.

Andy made the same run and I filmed him too. I decided I didn’t want to walk along the trail anymore because it was too steep. Instead we just walked along the side of the hill about half way up. This gave more a gradual climb. We seemed to be walking on a sheep trail and there were lots of sheep around. As we approached they would be eating, but once they heard or saw us they would walk away and then run.

They were easy to scare off and it was kind of fun. Just whistling at them made them take off. It must be the same whistle the butcher makes before he turns them into mutton or shaves their wool to be sold in stores. Either way they are more fun than the cows.

We got over the last hill and then descended down into the valley and the road below. The road led back up to the visitor center. At the parking lot there was a 5 minute hike to a look out that we thought we would do. After about 20 seconds we realized it was just going to provide views of what we had just seen for the past 2 hours so we didn’t think it would be necessary to do it all the way.

We got in the car and drove down to the beach, which is where we started the hike we just did. It was about 3:45 PM. I wanted to at least see the beach so we walked through a gate and out to the water’s edge. At least what should have been the water’s edge. The tide was out, way out. Far enough out that I couldn’t see where the ocean began. I would say it went out about 400 yards or so. We took pictures of the area anyway.

I walked out onto the dock to get better pictures and farther out. We stayed there until about 4 PM. To our left was the coast that led to Farewell Spit. It seemed like walking along there would have been the smart thing to do in order to see the Spit, but we didn’t come this far out before. I assumed this would lead where I wanted to go, but I thought the other trail would too and it would be more scenic. I didn’t want to spend an hour walking along the coastline.

I could see two people off in the distance just past a row of trees and thought we could at least walk out to there and say we walked on the actual Spit. From above I could see some sand dunes and I kind of wanted to get closer to them anyway. I figured the walk was about half a mile. It was hard to judge distances. I felt like we could get there around 4:30 PM and then get back to the car just after 5 PM and start driving back to Motueka.

The hike was pretty easy on the coast. I was worried it would be sandy on the beach, but most of what we walked along was normally under the sea. The sand was more compact and slightly wet in some places. There was a long row of shells and sea weed piled up. To make the hiking easier I walked along the sea weed and the shells. It gave me more traction.

The sea weed only lasted a little while unless I wanted to walk a little further down, which I didn’t want to do. The flattest part of the beach had a row of shells that acted like a trail. I walked on the shells crushing them along the way with my feet. It made a crunching sound. Whenever I would stop walking on them the sound stopped. To pass the time and break the silence I just kept walking on them. Crushing the broken shells even more.

We made it to the end of the tree line right around 4:30 PM like I wanted. The views were no good and I couldn’t see any sand dunes. Two guys walked off a trail to where we were. They were the same ones I had seen before, but they were heading back to the cars. Along the Farewell Spit hikers not part of an official guided tour can’t go more than 4 kilometers onto the Farewell Spit. In total it is 35 kilometers long so that isn’t very far.

We had just walked 1.5 kilometers according to the sign, which is about 9/10 of a mile. My previous estimation was wrong. Rather than just turn around and walk back I thought it might be possible to walk to the other coast if we followed the dirt road we saw. The map from earlier showed a 4 wheel drive road, and this had to be it. From above it looked really narrow and shouldn’t be more than a few hundred yards to the other side.

I wanted to get there fast so I jogged part way. I wasn’t seeing anything so I just started walking. We walked and walked, but still no beach. We passed some sheep, but not much else. There were hills to our left with lots of bushes and plants scattered around with sheep dispersed between them. We couldn’t see very far in that direction.

To our right was a little hill about 10 meters high covered in trees or bushes, which blocked our views that way. I eventually decided I should get off the trail and go to the top of this hill to have a look at what was out there. Maybe I would be able to see the sea.

At the top of the hill there were more hills, bushes, and trees blocking our view. At this point I thought it would be faster to just walk through the bush and get to the beach this way since the road was winding around to nowhere. It may not even go to the beach I thought and if it did eventually my backcountry trail would intersect with it and lead me to the right spot.

Andy came up on the hill to join me after I told him it looked like we could go through. When he got to the top he disagreed. I forged ahead anyway. I walked down and then up the next little hill. More trees and bushes ahead, no beach.

At the top of the hill it was more of the same. Andy thought it was a bad idea. It was getting late and he didn’t want to be wandering around lost in the wild in the dark. I gave in and turned back. I wasn’t really sure which way I came up, so I just walked back in the general direction. I ended up leading us towards some thorns.

I told Andy to go through them, but he didn’t want to. We had to walk back around a little ways and eventually found the spot we had originally left the road from. We spent 10 minutes looking for a short cut only to go right back where we started.

I was getting tired of walking and wanting to find the beach so I started to run again. After just two more turns on the road I could see the sand dunes and the coast. I told Andy if we had just walked a little further through the bushes we would have been here in the same spot.

I got some pictures of the dunes and then walked out to the beach. I could see two people really far off in the distance. The sun was starting to set behind some clouds so I wanted to get some pictures. Back at the car I had put up my bag so I just had my camera so I couldn’t take close up shots. Otherwise it would have been a perfect time to do so.

I could see the sun reflecting on some water along the beach so I walked towards that. It was much further than I thought it was. It looked to be about 100 yards away, it was more like 300 or more. I was able to get a few good shots and then was ready to go back. Andy was taking pictures too.

There was a large piece of drift wood that I thought would make a good prop for a photo. As we approached it I said to Andy look at this neat piece of wood. Then I stopped in front of it and pointed at a little tiny piece. Then I turned and said oh wow, look at this one. And pointed to an even dumber piece. Then I finally pointed to the big one and said this one is even better. He said he thought I was talking about that one all along. I really was. I was just tricking him at the last second.

I took a few pictures with the driftwood and the sunset in the back. It wasn’t working how I wanted though. I was ready to go so I went on. Andy stayed for awhile. I went back over to the sand dunes and got a few more pictures.

Since I was waiting around for Andy I decided to hone my skills as a tracker. There were lots of foot prints in the sand and I was trying to find my own to see where I walked. I did this in two ways. First I put my foot into the footprints that I was looking at. I then looked to see if my shoe fit the size of the print. I then tried stepping to the next similar footprint. I was finding out that my foot would fit, but the steps were longer than I would have been taking. It wasn’t mine.

The next thing I tried doing was matching the markings on my shoe with the markings on the print. That wasn’t working very well either. My shoes don’t make a very distinct or deep imprint. It’s actually very light. I couldn’t find my tracks anywhere.

I then moved onto scenario three of tracking. I looked at the surrounding scenery. I noticed that I was much closer to the dunes on the way back than I had been on the way out. I came to the conclusion that I was about 30 yards to the right of where I had walked. I couldn’t find my tracks because I didn’t even walk over in this vicinity to begin with.

I gave up on that and started walking back towards the road once again. I made up a really good song along the way about how I didn’t know where I was going and I wasn’t even sure if I had walked this way before. I don’t remember the tune or the lyrics exactly, but it fit perfectly with the fact that I couldn’t find my foot prints. I was enjoying singing it though.

A few minutes later Andy came running up. He thought I had left him and that he needed to run to catch up to me. I was ready to get back to the car since it was around 5 PM. I decided we should run back to the tree line and than we could walk the last part back. That way we would at least get back at a decent hour. We still had a two hour drive.

I said I wanted to be back around 5:30 PM, which would be a really slow run. We ran all the way to the tree line. I wanted to stop a few times, but then again I didn’t. We weren’t running very fast at all, but it was my workout for the day, not counting all the hiking. I hadn’t had but a few sips of water earlier so I was probably dehydrated.

Back on the other coast we took a few more pictures of the sunset since the clouds on this side were turning orange and pink. We thought we should run this part too since it was about a mile and flat. We ran for about 2 minute before Andy decided we should stop again and take pictures. He wanted to get shots of the birds.

There were a lot of black birds standing in pools of water. They just looked at the water, standing perfectly still. None of them were moving. I did see one start to walk around, but the rest made no attempt to change positions. They were waiting for a fish to come by I guess.

After he was done with that we started running again. I stuck with my plan of running on sea weed and over the shells. It meant I had to jump over a few logs along the way, but it was fine. It was a nice little jog. It took about 12 minutes to get back to the car. At the very end we started running fast and Andy got a good angle coming in to the fence so he was able to ass me. I had to cut back a little because of where the opening on the fence was.

We both went to the bathroom and then got in the dark just as it was getting dark. There was a sheep that had gotten out and was standing at the edge of the fence looking at one of his friends. We decided he was either trying to ask his friend how to get back in, or telling him how to escape. We made up a scenario where he said he would go ahead and scout it out, and that the other sheep should get the rest and get out too.

We were parked in a grassy area so as we were trying to leave Andy started to back up the car. As a result he scraped the bottom of the back bumper on the road since the ground was uneven. I thought we were going to get stuck, but he was able to pull forward and out of the mess. As we went down the road the car was making funny noises.

I thought it was the road at first, but whenever Andy used the brakes or the car sat still it started making a rumbling sound. Either it was caused by scraping the ground or he wore out the brakes driving on all of the hills and mountains in New Zealand.

It took about 2 hours and 15 minutes to get back to Motueka. We were hungry so we went to the kitchen to make dinner. We made a salad with our broccoli, carrots, and cucumber. We also made French fries and and Spaghetti. We drank tea and had cookies and chocolate as well.

During dinner The Simpons Movie was on. We watched a little bit of it. I could have watched it all, but I wanted to get caught up in my journal since I fell so far behind from not writing during the kayaking trip. I wrote a little bit in my journal and then went to bed around 11 PM.

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