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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Monday 9 January 2023

90 kph gusts!!!

 January 8th

Folk warned us of the high winds that were due to come in with gusts of 90 kph, I reckon we got a few of those last night. Right by the sea front one would expect off shore winds but no, straight off the hills, and we were in the worst of positions to feel the full force. The sky turned a lovely red, usually means good weather to come so fingers crossed it does.


All last night the Toy rocked, the pop top stayed shut and one window was ever so slightly left open for ventilation. Of course this acted like a wind tunnel with all the moans and whistles as the wind blew through. It was an uncomfortable night and even this morning it hadn't abated. Some spectacular waves out there with the wind whipping the spray back.


Greymouth was to be our destination for the next day or so. The Toy has to have a service and tomorrow she is booked at the Toyota dealer at 10 15 am. Our hope is to have her back within 3 hours but garages being what they are, it could take longer. So today has been a relaxing start what with shopping and finding somewhere to have a shower. All that sand fly spray made our skin sticky, it had to be removed before a new lot was reapplied. An app showed where we could find public showers and one showed up at a motorhome camp within half a kilometre from the camp ground. $4 for 6 minutes of hot water and I used every one of those 6 minutes. It was lovely!

We spent a good 30 minutes at the Blacktown Breakwater, it was to suss out the freedom campground  for tonight. Those waves were something else and what was a lone surfer doing in a sea that was supposed to be dangerous? Obviously a local who has done this before.

The Southern Alps in the distance

Lunch was had at a Subway. We were pleasantly surprised that New Zealand has this sandwich chain over here, and were as nice as those in the UK. The afternoon could have been spent chilling out, but I found Coal Creek Falls only several kilometres back on the Westport road from Greymouth, it was asking to be visited. 

The day was hot, the wind had dropped considerably and nearly a 4 km walk return trip was required to see those falls. Plenty of sun screen and anti sandfly and this time the sticks did come with me and glad of them both too. The track itself wasn't challenging but some downhill bits were steep enough for me to be grateful of their support. Oh, I wish we had brought our bathers. Didn't realise this was also a swimming hole and looked so inviting too. Several folk were already getting the benefit. We could only watch and wish.


Several free camp grounds are at Greymouth. We went back to the one by the Blaketown Breakwater, it had flushing toilets (wonderful after those long drops) rubbish bins and showers, although they are outside and cold water only. Glad we had those lovely hot ones this morning.

Not a bad backdrop

This is a Cicada shell. Here is the life cycle from  National Geo 

The cicada life cycle has three stages: eggs, nymphs, and adults. Female cicadas can lay up to 400 eggs.  divided among dozens of sites—generally in twigs and branches. After six to 10 weeks, young cicada nymphs hatch from their eggs and dig themselves into the ground to suck the liquids of plant roots. They spend their entire developmental period in these underground burrows before molting their shells and surfacing as adults to mate and lay eggs.

What is not said is the amount of deafening noise they make.

Nymph case

And wild goats seen at the road junction by Greymouth

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