Sunday, March 20, 2011
Date: March 20th
Swell: 1m E
Distance: 27 NM
Camp: Sponge Bay Island
Back Country Cuisine Food Review
Meal: Cooked Break Fast
Impression: Looked rather drab straight away, plain colours, real mushy, the baked beans in there packet looked bright and zesty, though on tasting, things were interesting. The main packet, containing the scrambled eggs, beef bacon and potato hash brown mix, was super scrummy. The baked beans where quite plain to taste, though a good dose of salt and pepper revived it and it was a good meal in all. Meant to be a breakfast of course, though we did enjoy it for dinner!
Stars: 8 out of 10
We awoke early in our beautiful little bay. Dave was up early writing the blog updates for some days past that had to be still done. It was cool and damp and we could feel winter was creeping up slowly. We packed up slowly, avoiding putting on our damp, smelly paddling shorts and shirts. The sun would be up soon and that would warm things up. With boats loaded, we eventually resolved to adorning our wet cold damp gear, pushing off into the tranquil waters of our sheltered bay and paddling into the ever warming early sun, determined with our mission to paddle 29 NM to Gisborne harbor.
Straight away we got side tracked, unlike yesterday (with it’s head winds), today was again tranquil and glassy flat, the beautiful morning light and the amazing rock formations, passages, arches and pillars, had us paddling about with our mouths open and our eyes to cameras. This is certainly some of the most dramatic areas I have ever paddled in, superb! We then finally had our fill, of playing about with photos, paddling through sea arches and by Pillars of pancake like stacked rocks with mashing surf spraying up around them, and paddled on to the next head land 6NM away.
Here we found, more great structures, a Gannet Colony, and our first NZ Fur Seals!! I paddled through a narrow channel in some rocks, riding a small surge and filming the awesome rock textures, at the other end I turned around to find a group of Pied Cormorants looking down at me from above, and a big furry head with big eyes! As I looked at the first Fur Seal of the trip, I soon saw two more! Awesome, I quickly found Dave an brought him over, at this point they didn’t like the attention and decided to part to the sea and vanished. NZ Fur Seals, aren’t seals at all, but miss named Sea Lions, very beautiful animals, and almost hunted to Extinction in NZ at one point. We will see more and more Fur Seals as we head south, I cant wait.
Finally we moved on again, and punched out a big stretch across another bay, only to come across some more amazing rock structures, this time Gable head. A Big White triangular rock face with imperfections and undulations all over it, It must be about 500 feet tall at the pinnacle. Sheep graze right to the edge of its right side and there is no fence to stop them from going right to the edge, on the left side of the triangle is sheer powdery white rockiness to the water, similar to the main face though not vertical in its descent. This is an interesting geological anomaly, as normally Striations in a rock are parallel with the horizon, or bent up at an angle, in this case the cliff is made up of completely vertical striations. The whole piece must have lifted up and toppled forward towards the sea in some big plate movement thousands of years ago, and the sections have eroded away, to this one layer of white sandstone, that makes the face we now look at when we pace, Gable Head. Remnants of older layers that where on top remain as pillars of partial standing flakes, reminding us that there where many more layers to the cake we now see. A very cool thing to see indeed.
After this we paddled past rolling pasture hills, full of sheep, the grass came right down to deserted beaches, and the parallel indented lines all over the hills (made by many grazing sheep walking along the hills sides over hundreds of years), gave the hills an amazing texture, while the dusky green contrasted amazingly with the Stark barren white of the powdery cliffs that fringed it. This coast line is certainly one Of very apparent contrasts. Bloody amazing.
At this point a tail wind picked up and we knuckled down and slogged out the final 10NM to Poverty bay, we rounded into the bay going past an, old, very rusty, small light house, that was being pounded by surf. No longer in operation, it was an awesome stark reminder (despite how nice we have had the coast so far) of how harsh and powerful this coast can be!
We sighted a small island near the mouth of the bay, and realizing earlier there was no need to go all the way into Gisborne harbor, we headed for it. Pulling up on the leeward side of the island, we found and great place to pull the boats up in the brush, using Logs as rollers to get the fully loaded boats up. Then we followed a path up on top of the flat grassy looking island, to find…… and amazing vista, looking out over one of the most beautiful surf breaks I have ever seen in NZ. The lighting was perfect and the white of the cresting waves, glowed on the rich blue of the water and the darker blue of the sky. One lone surfer was out there making the most of it. To meet us atop the island on the flat spot we where to camp on, was a carved surfer with his back to a surf board. He was only from the waist up, though very well crafted from solid piece of wood, and placed here to guard and honor the break and the spirit of surfing that the area was renowned for.
We paid respect ( I danced naked next to the surfer god to Dave’s chagrin and disappointment that he didn’t quite get it on video!), set up camp, and thoroughly enjoyed the view, as we ate dinner, devoured dessert and watched the full moon rise over the distant cliffs and curling waves in the foreground. What an amazing spot to camp. This trip is full of amazing gems; we never cease to be amazed.
We are under a week away from completing leg 2 and being about half way done on our amazing voyage. Earlier it felt like we would never get anywhere, now we seem to be rolling, soon it will be ending too soon! Make the most of every day is what I think!
Posted by Jaime Sharp at 2:16 AM