Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tuesday Afternoon

After unpacking at Seaview, Ljuba and I went out on the beach to go swimming. The black sand is extremely fine, almost like powder, and glinted in the late evening sun. I think the color is a result of the high iron content in the sand. Not sure about that one. Ljuba gamely plunged into the surf, and I followed soon after.

Dinner was at The Cove, which was the only place open in tiny Mokau. The cashier was ridiculously voluble and smiling from ear to ear. The food was takeaway, so we took it back to the cabin at Seaside. After dinner I fetched my laptop and showed Ljuba’s parents the video Chelsey made for Christmas. This seemed the perfect opportunity to give them my Christmas gift, a book of photos from Duluth. We paged through it, and I explained particulars.

Our camper/caravan didn’t come with bedding. We had two small blankets, but even so it was a chilly night.

I woke at 7:30 and walked on the beach for an hour, then we met at the cabin for breakfast. We were packed and ready to leave around 10, and drove south to Three Sisters Beach. The Sisters are large stone monoliths a few hundred meters offshore. Access to the beach is along a river estuary, and we hadn’t realized that the path was submerged at high tide. Ljuba and I decided to slog across the swiftly submerging sands and across the river mouth, now flowing upstream with the rising sea. The current was strong, though we managed to walk most of the way across in waters up to our waists. Toward the far side, however, it became too deep and we had to swim across the flow.

Climbing up on the far bank, we looked back to see Buda and Nada waving at us from what seemed a great distance. Making our way across the driftwood-strewn sand, we could make out two of the three sisters across the waves. They were inaccessible, but the excitement of the crossing was more than worth the trip. We waded out in the surf and around the rock cliffs on the far side of the beach, where we discovered a series of shallow caves carved out by years of waves. The next fifteen minutes were spent dashing around the mouth of each cave when the water receded between waves. Eventually we deemed it prudent to turn back, as we weren’t sure how far the tide would rise.

We returned to the lip of the river, though it was wider and more turbulent than before. Wading into the waves, we quickly lost our footing and struck out for the other side. Luck was with us, and we emerged alive.

We drove into Waitara in search of a restaurant, but apparently it’s not a restaurant town. The few places which we did find were closed, as we’d arrived at the outlandish time of 1pm on a Tuesday. Casting aside our plans of a sit-down meal, we raided a local supermarket for supplies. Driving back up highway 3, we took a random side road which happened to end with a table by the sea. Our Landcruiser has a tent on the roof rack, so we folded it out over the table to provide shade and shelter from the wind.

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