When the Wind Blows

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A few more healing days have passed and things are looking up. The worst is over and I can safely say I'm on the mend. I'm almost back to normal. That whole episode was horrible, just horrible.

Oh I forgot to mention. Remember when I was up in Whitianga ambling around on one foot and the guys at Dive HQ shouted me that Kayak Dive before kindly dropping me back off in Hahei? They'd taken the waterproof camera along and had taken some shots for their new brochure? Well I had an email the other day from Darrell, excitedly telling me to get my hands on a copy of Dive NZ, issue something or another. I'd forgotten all about it until I saw it sitting on the shelf in Whitcoull's. I picked it up, opened it up at a random page and there I was, sat in that bright yellow kayak at Cathedral Cove with my fat head grinning and baking in the sun. I couldn't believe it. There are another three or four pictures in there too as the article's quite lengthy. Classic - I'm currently in a magazine sitting on shelves all over New Zealand!



(This is the image from the Dive NZ website article!)

Today I drove to Akaroa; I couldn't take it any more. It's been long overdue. A spiritual top up is what's been missing and I needed one sorely - the withdrawals have been running away with me. The guy at the Top 10 looked a little surprised when he saw me pull up. Turns out that this is their quietest time of year. He didn't question any invisible passengers, just half-heartedly told me to pick any pitch I liked. This place was absolutely rammed in the summer. I started rubbing my hands together in anticipation of pulling on to pitch 24 with its magnificent view of the harbour, when my excitement was snubbed: 'I must warn you however, there are some strong Southerlies blowing through. If you park here (he drew a pink highlighter right through pitches 21-24 on the plan), it's likely to blow you all over the place.' I made a mental note. I've learned to listen to the locals when it comes to the words 'weather' and 'serious'.

I headed down in to Akaroa, had a bit of a meander and sat in the van on the water's edge eating chickpeas. The wind was hurricane-like and bitterly cold. Many of the restaurants and shops were closed for the winter and some had 'Back in Sep' signs in the windows. I couldn't believe it, Akaroa was closed! Minutes later a huge imposing black cloud sauntered high over the Peninsula and changed the whole mood of the place. I read for a while in front of the harbour before stopping for groceries and heading back in to the hills and up to the campsite. The reception chap wasn't wrong. The wind was blasting through and nearly taking the trees with it. It brought a deathly chill too, which had an unwelcome sting. A totally different feel to those blinding summer days with the three Funties. By 5pm, the darkness had set in and it had grown a lot colder. All that was left to admire was a few orange lights dotted around the harbour. I retired to the kitchen and rustled up some internal warmth: a comforting mound of hot, buttery mash and plump sausages with some greens and onion gravy. Divine, divine, divine.

After dinner I continued with my book. I'm halfway through another Bryson book which I borrowed from Chike: 'A Short History of Nearly Everything'. It's a bit of an oddball for Mr Bryson and nothing like his others. In short, it's just a collection of facts, laid out as an accurate history of science but explained clearly in layman's terms. It pretty much explains everything you've ever wanted to know about where we've come from, why and how, as well as the earth's own beginning, it's continuing evolution and where we fit in to the whole scheme of things. It's long, hard going and hard to follow, but it's excellent. You've just got to be in the right frame of mind for it. So I flicked the heater on, got comfortable in bed and decided to have another crack at it while the wind bullied the van.
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