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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.

Wednesday 1 February 2023

Our ancestors perhaps?

 January 31st

As lovely as this camp ground was by god it was noisy! Well off the SH 99 and in all purposes a side road, this must have been a rat run for all the trucks making their way from Invercargill to Otautau. From before 6 am one after another came past. Then a lull, almost drifted off when the next lot arrived. Needless to say we got up.

Off to the Catlin's today but first another stop in Invercargill for Super Cheap Autos, the dump point, shopping and to fill with diesel. Really cheap here at $2.13 a litre and with the extra 6 cents off a litre from a savers card, we saved ourselves a pretty penny. So our first stop was at Countdown. Not much in the way of food to buy it was the booze we were running out of. Ian loves Speights Dark Ale and I have discovered a non alcoholic Speights Summit Zero larger, very refreshing drunk ice cold. This wasn't a very big supermarket but even so one would expect alcohol to be on sale. Nop, not a drop to be found. It's all to do with the the liquor licence and Invercargill only allows alcohol to be sold at bottle shops.  That applied to every supermarket in the town. Back at the Toy and what was that smell? Like a metallic burning smell, not nice at all. Investigation revealed the charging plug for my laptop had shorted out the main power block. No charging of any laptops or phones would be the outcome. Oh 'eck...now what. 


There was a Jaycar nearby, and they sold electronic gear, it was worth a try. The extremely helpful member of staff showed a few 12v chargers but all were huge. Ian returned to the Toy to fetch the old one, and almost the very same model was found in store. It was a 12 v block three way cigarette lighter charger with USB power points. This was snapped up pretty quick and a 90 watt car laptop power supply for my computor was also purchased. All I can say it was a good job we were in a major city.

It is very green this side of the Southern Alps, lovely change from the browns we have been seeing. In fact parts remind us of home. Ian mentioned Kent and I can see why. But the Flax and Pampas grasses lining the roads, tell a different story.


We don't get many straight roads like this either in the UK.

 Off to the right just after Otara was a road toward heading to Waipapa Point. A lighthouse was the main reason for going but Sea Lions also frequented the shores. These are one of the rarest sea lion species in the world and are only found in New Zealand so to see one would be a bonus. From the car park a 5 minute walk got you to the lighthouse, a further 2-minute walk got us to where we overlooked the shore. 

On a notice board a story was told about one of the worst civilian shipping disasters that happened off the reefs nearby. A cemetery of many of the victims were buried close by. We never did go look for that, shame on us, I wish we had. Anyway the passenger steamer Tararua foundered off Waipapa Point on 29 April 1881. Because of this tragedy, when all but 20 of the 151 people aboard perished, a lighthouse was built becoming operational in 1884. It was automated in 1974 and remains active to this day. On reading further a name suddenly sprang from the page. This was what it said.

Any resemblance??? Not an ancestor I warrant.

The short walk did get us to see the Sea Lions. Two big boys both with their own harems. This one was the nearest and funny for us to watch, but that sea lion looked exasperated with his two girls for fighting and as soon as he turned his back to rest, off they went again.

There are several freedom camping spots to be had along this coastline. The one we choose was at Weirs Beach Reserve on the edge of an estuary. The tide was going out, a good sign for us tomorrow as we hope to do the walk to Cathedral Caves which is only accessible at low tide. 

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