Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ninety mile beach and Cape Reinga

After we left the place in Kohukohu, we rode to Ahipara at the south end of Ninety mile beach. We were just about out of water, so we asked around, but no one wanted to let us have any. Finally the woman at the campground reluctantly agreed to let us have some. We started off down the beach with full water bottles, but it wasn't very fast with a stiff headwind. After a few kilometers, Ciel stopped to talk with people who were kite fishing- they run over a kilometer of line out with 25 baited hooks, the whole lot dragged out to sea by a kite in the offshore wind. After an hour they winch it in and hope the sharks haven't taken any of the fish they caught on the hooks.
We also met Phil selling coffee from his little stand on the beach. About 26km up the beach, we hauled our stuff up onto the dunes and set up camp for the night.
The next morning, we set off up the beach again. We rode for about three hours with a good tailwind and almost made it to Te Paki stream, but the high tide forced us to wait it out at a creek just a few kilometers south of there. While we were waiting, a guy came out onto the beach to do some fishing. We started talking, and Ciel told him we were thinking of camping nearby. He told us we were welcome to camp at his place, and to leave our trailers in his shed while we rode up to Cape Reinga. We got back from the cape and met up with Peter again, and he showed us into a spare bedroom in his cozy house. We were going to cook some spaghetti for dinner, but Peter would have none of it - he cooked us the fish he had caught, and made fried bread for us. The next day we woke up to heavy rain,  so we hung out and went to the beach to collect tuatuas for dinner. This morning we reluctantly said goodbye to Peter and his beautiful place by the beach. Sometimes people amaze me with their kindness and generosity.
After yesterday's storm passed, the wind shifted again, so we headed back down the beach with a tailwind. We left the beach after 47 km and headed out to the highway, making good time to Awanui. We should have stopped there, but I mis-read the map, and was expecting to find some campgrounds before we got to Mangonui. No luck, so we had to get to Hihi to camp tonight. 130km for the day, and I'm still awake, typing a blog post on my phone's touchscreen...not for much longer though.
- mark.

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