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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 16 January 2023

Third time unlucky

 January 15th

We are destined not to do that flight over the Southern Alps. Woke before 6, opened curtains to see cloud covering the peaks. We expected a text from Kevin to say it was all off but the phone stayed silent. So we didn't rush in getting up, had another shower at the hotel (3 minutes of water running through the shower head before warmth was felt) and had boiled eggs for breakfast. Then the phone sprung into life, a text from Kevin to say it was not looking good, but he was due to take off shortly to take kayakers to access headwaters of glaciated rivers in the Whataroa Valley, an update would be at 10 am. With nothing much to do but twiddle one's thumbs, I grabbed the phone and played Mahjong, Ian did today's Wordle which he got after much concentration. At 10.05 we walked to the booking office only to be greeted with a shake of the head. It was not to be... again....blast!

We left quite despondent. This trip by Glacier Country Scenic Flights was the best we had found so far for the price. The longest and covered more of the Alps was that top green line, this was the trip we had chosen.

On reaching Franz Josef, the main part of the town was taken up with Helicopter flight tours. Everywhere you looked was another building housing tour operators. Finding a parking spot without difficulty, (surprised how quiet the place was) it was go from one to the other of the offices to see if anything took our fancy. Helicopters were flying, not the long 50-minute trips but just 20-30 minutes without snow landings. A very nice lady from Glacier Country Helicopters assured us that tomorrow would be a good day to fly. Weather was set to improve and landing would be possible. So we booked for 10.15 am tomorrow. Please let it happen this time ๐Ÿ˜”

A walk to Franz Josef Glacier had been done in 2017, we both fancied doing it again to see how much further the glaciers had receded. Armed with rucksack, stout walking shoes and poles we set off. The website mentioned a 1-hour 30-minute return trip along the river bed. Gosh, we were disappointed when not 15 minutes into the walk, and we came across yellow ropes with a sign at the end saying we could go no further! This is what we saw from there.


This from the same place in 2017 but notice the opening at the end for the track leading down to the river and glacier.

And this photo also taken in 2017 when we are only about 500 metres from the glacier. Note the bloody awful weather!


Much better weather conditions today, I zoomed in to get this picture

Seemed to be nothing but disappointments, having been prepared for a long walk, a track leading off from the main path at the car park showed a 600-metre walk to the Sentinel Rock. We veered off the path and started to climb. Zigzagging up some steep bits other not too bad, and eventually we were rewarded with this.

If we ever come back another comparison photo will be taken.

Again no freedom camping in this area and with us hopefully flying high over the alps tomorrow we booked ourselves into the Orange Sheep campsite. A weird set up on arrival. Instead of being given designated bays to go into, it was go for a walk around the site, pick one you like, take a photo and return to the office to see if it was available. Absolutely mad because although we were first to arrive, and although we had looked at the powered sites, more vans had come in behind us. Before we could even return with our chosen bay, others had raced around and got there first. It was a complete idiotic set up, and we were not impressed. He eventually gave us a bay that was unpowered but with a long extension lead, plugged us in to a where a chalet had private at the entrance. Hope the owner is understanding! This place is also like a rabbit warren. So many twists and turns, in fact Ian went off to get the Wi-Fi code and ended up going in a complete circle and returning to the Toy without finding the reception!

Oh, and some sort of sense of humour by the owner. This for small cars or vans that don't need power.

The sign said, Please walk and inspect sites before driving.


Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

A day of disappointments - bugger, as the Toyota ads used to say. :-(

Hopefully tomorrow! Otherwise you will just have to come back again, won't you?

You could always come back up the Coast and fly in from Hokitika - lots of scenic helicopter flights from there as well as freedom camping!

I will find you another lovely walk David and I did a couple of years ago - stand by!


Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Head south on SH6 for Ship Creek - two cool walks there. One across the Dunes and one in a kahikatea forest. Not huge but fabulous. Free camping at Paringa.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Thanks, Marilyn. We did the Ship Creek walk the last time in New Zealand, you are right, it was fabulous. Xxx

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