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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.

Saturday, 4 February 2023

T'was not to be and we find our very own little bit of paradise.

 February 3rd

6 am and the sound of gentle music playing. It was our alarm, time to get up and head for Cathedral Caves. On the road by 6.30 am and pulled onto the road leading to the car park by 6.50 am only to discover the gate was still firmly shut! Strange we thought considering low tide today was at 8.15 am. Then we read the notice board. Our hearts sank, seemed we were destined for these caves to remain unexplored.

We sat considering what to do, Nugget Point was mentioned and another stop at Owaka.  I think I had lost one of my paua fish hook earrings in the motel camp ground shower yesterday. I was that annoyed with myself, why hadn't I realised sooner, it was late last night when I discovered it missing. Ian hadn't noticed, but there again do men notice these things? Anyway the lady at the motel searched the shower cubicle and even checked the drains, but to no avail. 

  Owaka is a very small town with a big heart. Every shop we stopped at the proprietor came out to greet us. Many a conversation was had about the UK, weather and our travels, and it was a wonder that we made it out of town at all. The one shop I adored and could have spent hours looking at was the Catlins Country store. Souvenirs galore as well as a specialist man cave. Ian was in his element in that part of the shop. We came away with gifts for the family, not to be mentioned as I want it to be a surprise.

 We also found out a very annoying bit of info. Owaka has the only Wi-Fi signal for miles around and as I mentioned in a previous post, no internet signal was had outside of this town. If only we had had a signal we would have found out that the Cathedral Caves were closed this morning saving the early start and disappointment. They are open from Sunday morning so just maybe we will go back for a forth attempt. Yet to be decided though!

Today was again very hot and with not much planned we found a beach at Cannibal Bay. It was the name that did it for us, although it had been mentioned as a beach where Sea lions may be seen. Wow what a beach. Having driven down a gravel road for about 6 km and the only ones in the car park, it was almost like having our own private beach.

Can anyone see a face in the rock?

Jandles off we walked almost to the end. What stopped us in our tracks was a pale unmoving mound. In fact so well camouflaged we may have almost stumbled upon it if a movement hadn't alerted us that the mound was a living creature. 

More Sea lions further along the beach but I was very reluctant to proceed. They may be used to people but having watched many a wildlife program, I know how quickly these cumbersome looking beasts can move.

The seal cow in the background. We came no closer.

This deserted beach was too good an opportunity  to miss to get into our cossies and go for a dip in the sea. Chairs came out as did the sun cream, towels, hats and sunglasses. For a brief time no one came to disturb our solitude but in dribs and drabs more people appeared. Blimey at one point we had a crowd of 8 folk milling about, but they soon disappeared, and we were left alone once again.

The sea was a warm 12 degrees. No fear of an undercurrent now that we had reached the South coast. Oh it was a joy to feel the cool water on our very hot bodies.

 We stayed until hunger said it was getting late. Gosh, it was turned 5 pm and nowhere to stay. A DOC site had been mentioned at Nugget Point, 16 km further along the road and we reached the place. But it was not for camping. Hmm, now what? Ian had noticed a low-cost campsite called Hillview back along the road. Having turned around, wow look at that sky! Me thinks we are in for a storm. With all that heat and humidity this was long overdue.

And look at the road. So very hot the tar was melting.


On the off chance we pulled into the campsite and luckily space was had with electric hookup. For $10 each and another $10 for hook up and showers, it was money well spent. There was also the option to takeaway pizza and chips. Having already bought burgers for tonight's dinner, a portion of chips would go down very nicely. That ordered, I had just finished cooking the burgers when the chips were delivered to us in person. Now that is what I call service. 

Only two vans could use the hookup. We were lucky to have got power.

And at Cannibal beach car park, as well as on the beach,


And wildlife

Several black bunnies scurrying along the road to the Cathedral caves this morning. I wonder where the colour came from. Surely no Kiwi would entertain the idea of pet rabbits!

Rescued from a very hot beach.


Jenny said...

We stayed at Hillview on one of our South Island trips. I recall that the history was English and his wife was a Kiwi. Wonder if the same people run the Cap? They offered a cooked breakfast too, which we indulged in.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

It may well have been the same chap (Kevin) he came from Derby originally but his wife was a Filipino girl. He did mention he was on his second marriage.

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