We left the Bay of Islands today, a day earlier than planned. The weather made it feasible to get a head start on our trip south, so we took it. After three glorious days, we weighed anchor from aptly named Paradise Bay and headed down the coast to a little bay called Whangamumu. We stopped here last year for the night and have always regretted not going ashore for a hike in this beautiful, rugged country. Well, that’s exactly what we had a chance to do today.
Once securely anchored we dropped the dinghy and rowed ashore. It was about 1600, but it stays light now until past 2000 so we still had plenty of time. Once on the beach, Ann found a trail and I followed. We were looking for the shy, elusive Kiwi and had a reasonable chance to see one since this is a pretty inaccessible area with tons of dense foliage.
It didn’t take long while hiking up the trail before we heard one off to our right and down the hill. Hiking a little further we could see a meadow down the hill and through the trees, but it was way too thick to plunge through so we continued on up the hill hoping we might surprise another one further on. Alas, no Kiwi and after reaching the summit (with breathtaking views that we will post later in the week when we have a stronger connection) it was time to turn around. Charisma time was near and we still had an hour of hiking to get back to the boat.
As we neared the spot where we earlier heard the Kiwi, we both were on high alert. Coming out of the trees I realized that we actually had a good view of the meadow below. We slowed down and quietly moved forward-just then I saw a shape move at the fringe of the meadow. We froze, but it saw us and we saw the Kiwi scamper off into the bush. Wow, we actually saw one! But we kept looking and sure enough two more stuck their heads from the tall grass and then they too scampered off. Too quick and too far for photographic proof, but the shape and size were unmistakable. Success!
Perfect end to a great day.
Tomorrow we have a long day-about 45 miles-to Marsden, which is at the entrance to the river that leads up to Whangarei where we’ll stay for the Kiwi summer. Ideally we stay Monday night, then slide upriver on Tuesday before the big rain on Wednesday. Ahh, the best laid plans…we’ll see.