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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


Safe and sound in Bluff
Sunday, February 10, 2008


We landed in Bluff harbour before around 12.30 this afternoon, really glad for an early finish and the knowledge that we have at least a day and a half to rest, chill out, and prepare ourselves for the next stretch. Around the south coast the tide is much stronger than on the East coast; yesterday we had it against us for most of the day and today we got up early to try to ride the ebb tide into Bluff. It worked and we cruised along at almost 11km/ hour for a while, averaging over 8km/hour over the 40km journey. It was a grey fresh morning, a lazy south easterly giving us a bit of a helping shove aswell. Amazingly as we got within 2km of Bluff, we spotted a kayak coming out towards us. It turned out to be Sam, a Kiwi who is just starting his attempt to kayak up the East coast of the South and North Islands. You can follow his progress too, I think on ( although he said the website isn't up yet)

We tried to use our ICOM VHF to call up 'Good as Gold Meri',a Bluff legend who reportedly never goes anywhere without her VHF which she uses to give weather reports to fishermen, kayakers and anyone else out there. We didn't get through, but co-incidentally Meri was looking out her window as we turned up and she came to greet us ( radio in hand) as we landed on the beach. Her and her husband Ian drove us to a campsite where we are cosily set up in a cabin ( the same one that Freya stayed in, as it happens!), and we've washed everything - clothes, and bodies! 3 showers in 16 days, we'll go soft if we're not careful!

So many stories over the last few days - Moeraki was great,it was lovely to see Ian ( who Barry went to school with many years ago!!), and thanks to him for bringing us a few bits and pieces down. Fleur's resaturant is truely wonderful - it's right on the sea and all the fish is fresh caught and only washed by seawater. We had wonderful green lipped muscles, gurnard and moki with Ian, then the next evening Fleur invited Barry and I to come and have dinner with the staff. We enjoyed chatting to everyone, especiallY Sue and Joe. Thanks to Sue for securing the remains of the 'staff dinner' for us!! We enjoyed tucking into the potatoes and chicken on the water for lunch the next day. We stayed in the restaurant quite late chatting to various people, in particular John from the tourist board in Wanaka. At the risk of making us sound like greedy pigs, we'd like to thank John for the remains of his dinner!! which we polished off for him that evening!!

A few other highlights were having an albatross (actually it as a shy mollymawk) land a few metres away from us and drift to within a paddle length away, then sit and preen itself. I think it was a female as Barry paddled off and I stayed filming for a while, then the mollymawk flew off and landed for a second time a few metres away from Barry! Either that, or I smell worse?

Many people have been really kind to us and we've really enjoyed meeting a lots of different people. When we landed at Taieri river mouth, we impulsively decided to get a lift 30km into Dunedin to buy some more food as we were running short of a few things. Getting a ride back with a heavy IKEA bag full of shopping proved a bit more tricky - we got 2 short rides then walked about 4km ( after paddling 50km!). no-one was picking us up and eventually with the sun about to set and still 15km away, Barry asked a man in his garden if he could order us a taxi. Alan went one better and drove us back to our tent himself. Thank you so much! Once we were back, Nathan filled up our MSR water bags and charged some batteries for us, aswell as giving us some new potatoes that we scoffed for breakfast, alongside fried eggs.

As we approached Nugget Point, we looked in vain for a breakwater which we'd read about in our 1971 NZ pilot. We couldn't see it so we took on 3foot surf in a sandy bay. We walked up the hill to a house with an amazing view, where an artist Janice gave us a cup of tea and a chat and pointing out the old breakwater just a few hundred metres north of where we'd landed! The next morning she brought us a museli bar each and waved us on our way.

The next day to Tautuku Peninsula was 'a short day' at only 40km. The conditions were good with the wind behind us so we felt a bit guilty not going further on but the previous days had all been pretty long without much time to relax and enjoy our surroundings so we decided to head for the protected bay and have some quality time on land. The peninsula is full of cottages, 'cribs' or 'batches' as they call them here and they were pretty much deserted when we arrived. But at low tide that evening, a couple of cars drove there through a small river. Richie and Kate took us in for a beer and drove us to a yellow eyed penguin colony where we got pretty close, without disturbing them.

We'll try to write a bit more tomorrow and post a few more photos, plus upload the GPS tracks that our Garmin GPS has been recording every day. Right now, fish and chips are calling once agaiN!


Blogger Michael said...

Thanks for the write-up and especially for the on-the-water- pictures! Great to see what's on your right side as your make your way along the coast. All the best!

2:48 pm  
Blogger derrick said...

poppin in to say "howdy". checkin in on you guys every day. :)

3:47 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Justine, Barry, a good trip to you and keep up the good spirit. If you maintain your speed you might be able to catch up with Barbro Lindman, the Swedish woman who is just ahead of you 'around the corner'. She's just heading into Fjordland as of February 9th. Her Blog is to be seen and read at

Take care out there.


6:22 pm  
Blogger Wesnews said...

Barry, been in Italy and missed giving you my sister's info in Invercargill. Ashtree Croft failure!!
Best wishes for the rest of the trip.
Dave and Joyce

9:43 pm  

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