Friday, March 9, 2012

Seals, Sunshine and a Day on the Beach

Last night the sunset was very nice. It looked as though there might be sunshine today. Throughout the night it was very windy. My tent must have been in the perfect spot because even when I could hear the wind loudly blowing through the trees, my tent would only ruffle a little bit. I had firmly staked it down with all 8 stakes so I wasn't too worried. I was only concerned about the next day's riding.

When I awoke this morning, the sky was indeed clear! The wind was still blowing, but it appeared to be in the direction I was heading! Yay!

I headed out at 8:15 to my first stop of the day, Cape Foulwind. It wasn't too far down the road. When I got there I locked up Betsy and hiked up to the lighthouse. Foulwind did not at all describe the Cape. It was beautiful and the wind was just a nice breeze. I returned to Betsy and briefly talked to a gal from Auckland. Then I was off to stop number two--the Seal Colony and Tauranga Bay.

Again I locked up Betsy and headed up the trail to view me some fur seals. This is the time of year when the bulls are gone and the cows are there raising their pups. There were quite a few pups playing on the rocks or nuzzled up to mom. I picked a good time to go.

When I came back down to the parking area it was about 10:15. There was a concession trailer there selling ice cream so I decided it was snack time. I had a double of orange chocolate chip and hokey pokey (because...that's what it's all about!).

Then, it was back on Betsy for a 4 km backtrack to Wilson Lead Rd. where I was able to cut over to SH 6 to head toward Charleston. As I was riding along Wilson Lead, I could see the Paparoa Range ahead of me. I'm glad I don't have to go over those mountains!

Because of the wind this morning, I had taken Da Brim off my helmet. Of course, it was the sunniest day I've had in a long time! When I got to SH 6, the wind had died down so I pulled out Da Brim and reattached it to my helmet.

From there it was maybe 18 km to Charleston. My plan was to stay at Constant Bay. I saw there was a Motorcamp with tent sites just opposite of the road to Constant Bay, but I decided to check out the bay first. I got down to the beach at 1:30...and never left. Constant Bay is this sweet little bay with a nice sand beach. There are vault toilets and rainwater (that I treated). There is also a sign that says no camping 200m. I'm not exactly sure what the 200m means (from the picnic area? From the sign?). So, I just went down a gravel road aways and set up camp in a little grassy area. I'm about 20 feet from the beach. Very nice!

I went wading in the water up to about my waist (in my bike clothes). It was not too cold. Since it was pretty hot out, it felt good. The rest of the day I just hung out on the beach, talking to various people. Rob and Robin were on a motorcycle. They stayed for a little while then later Rob came back to go for a swim. They were also from Auckland. Then I talked to two couples that were travelling in RVs. They just stopped here for afternoon tea (the guys tried a little fishing but only caught seaweed). As I was fixing my dinner at the picnic spot, a guy pulled up in a van. His name was Brian and he is from Colorado. Turns out he is moving to Bellingham! Small world!

I'm sitting on my little camp stool at the edge of the beach. The sun is going down and I'm hoping for another great sunset. The waves are crashing just at the mouth of the bay. It has been another spectacular day in New Zealand!

Here's some photos from the day (and last night's sunset). The bird is a Weka (Maori hen).

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