Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
123Trip End Feb 27, 2006
The next day, we returned to mend the fence that the cows had broken, and added some more posts to increase stability. It was a scorcher of a day, as Graeme went on to do some chainsawing, with me following behind and clearing the trees to create a walkway. We were both ready for a nice lunch, and it came in the form of fish and salad...just what we needed
Tuesday was a quiet day, with the only real incident coming when Graeme somehow managed to get the 4x4 stuck in a section of thick mud along the track. In hindsight, he should have driven a lot wider, rather than opting for speed straight down the middle. It was amusing trying to prize it out, and we were there for well over an hour trying every trick in the book. On a couple of occasions, it seemed like we were in the clear, only for the wheels to get stuck again! It came as a relief when it eventually emerged from the puddles, but it had cost us a lot of time and effort. It later dawned on Graeme that he'd forgotten to "change the hubs," which means absolutely nothing to me, but apparently that would have got us out of there a lot quicker.
Graeme took me on a bush walk in the afternoon, showing where he wants to make a track so that it will make a pleasant stroll in the summer. At the moment, it's quite overgrown and that's why he often used the chainsaw to form clearances. While he did that, I usually walked around with the pruners, getting rid of the wattle trees and gorse. It wasn't difficult work, but the hot sun made it essential to have a bottle of water handy.
Wednesday turned out to be a good day, although it began in familiar circumstances, i.e
I didn't bother getting showered at lunchtime as I knew that we were heading off to East Beach in the afternoon, hopefully to catch some tuatuas. I'd never heard of them before, but apparently they are a type of shellfish that can be caught at high tide by going into the water, and scratching underneath the sand's surface with your feet. Of course, you need to keep one eye on the large waves that are always approaching you, making sure that you bend down to pick up the tuatuas only when the water is flat, however briefly. Graeme had a lapse in concentration on his last visit to East Beach, and a wave crashed into his face as he was putting the tuatuas in his bucket. He lost his glasses, and like he said, it's the quickest $400 he's ever spent!
Getting to the beach was an adventure in itself, as we slalomed along the sand dunes, with Graeme working hard with the steering wheel to make sure we stayed on track. It was worth the risk though, as we emerged onto a totally deserted stretch of sand that must ne one of New Zealand's best kept secrets
We drove along the sand for a few kilometres until we reached the tuatua site, and I followed Graeme into the water. He gave me a bucket, and before long I was jumping up to avoid the big waves, then quickly bending down to collect the tuatuas I'd unearthed with my feet. It was great fun, and luckily there were plenty of tuatuas around to make the job a great deal easier.
When our buckets were half full, we took the tuatuas onto the beach and gave them a rinse, before putting them into a larger bucket. We had lots, and I was looking forward to trying them - they couldn't be any worse than the mussels!
Fern had sat upright next to the 4x4 the whole time, not tempted to go in the water at all. So I returned and played with her for a bit, before tucking into the tomato and smoked fish sandwiches that Ann had made. Some fruit and cookies complimented the sandwiches well...I was enjoying my time on the beach.
Unfortunately we had to leave soon afterwards as Graeme wanted to call in and see an old friend who was back in the area
I was feeling more at home by this stage, as I'd started to get to know Ann and Graeme, and we had some kind of routine in place. The fact that they had a good balance between work and outings was also important, and meant that I was enjoying my life on the farm.
I spent the evening looking through their old photo albums, and learning more about their previous ventures. It was all very interesting, and I was pleased when Graeme told me the plan for the next day. We were taking the boat out again, but this time we were going to beach it so we could give it a good clean while the tide was out. It sounded good to me, and I consequently set my alarm for 6.15am the next morning, ready for high tide...