The last three days have been slow yet interesting; it is the first time we have really been stranded somewhere isolated in a tent with little interaction with the outside world, this being said however, we did spend one night in the town of Wairoa as we needed hardener for the fiber glass resin to fix the cracked boat.
We awoke to a lovely morning the day after our rough landing onto the beach that broke Dave’s boat, we were in no rush to get going or do anything, though eventually looked at the damage, cleaned out the gravel and sand and realized it was quite fixable damage. We washed it all down with fresh water from the nearby stream and let it dry while we ate lunch and decided the next move.
The repair kit I was carrying had leaked all its hardener out, so we needed a new kit, do we walk into town today, or tomorrow. If we go today we will have to stay the night, if we go tomorrow we will use another whole day, and the boat will need at least a day to be fixed. Some good friends of mine new a local Vet in Wairoa, and I felt confident we could seek shelter for the night with her, so we decided to get going on the fall of the tide which would allow us to pass under the cliffs that the waves normally smashed against further down the beach.
We tidied and secured camp then set off down the beach, expecting a couple of hours to the nearest road. It was an awesome walk, we passed under and climber over whole trees that had become driftwood and got beaten by the waves, the stark cliffs loomed above us, and we felt quite isolated in an almost alien world on the edge of reality. Dave picked up a really good quality soccer ball perfectly inflated, soon after I picked up a young Gannet with a broken wing that had healed and fused. The gannet wasn’t too happy about the deal, it tried to flee as I approached with my jacket, when it realized it couldn’t escape it turned to fight, I flung my jacket over the large bird and pinned it to the ground gently. The bird was in good shape and obviously had survived long enough with a broken wing for it to heal again, so I decided it should come with us and maybe a vet could find it a home at a sanctuary or something similar. A wriggling bird was soon secured in my jacket and off we trotted down the beach again.
Quite quickly we found a road access and meet a fisherman, and a retired Chap Stewart, who gave us a ride into town and the vets. The vets quickly examined Gilly the Gannet (as she was now named) and said that yes she may have a chance of survival and that there was a lady in town who was licensed to take care of them, they would take an x ray and then inform me by email of what happens. Awesome, hopefully she gets a good life! We then got into town and looked for Cleo another vet on the other side of town, we tracked her down and she was happy to help us out and give us a place to stay, so we trotted of found the repair resin we needed, did some shopping, got recognized in town as the spider bite guy from the article in the newspaper and even got a ride forma local lady Tania at the supermarket to Cleo’s house. Oh and Dave gave a very grateful kid in town the soccer ball he found, good stuff.
Arriving at the door I knocked and who answered? My Doctor from the hospital when I had the Spider bite! What, wholly molly what a small world, Cleo the vet’s roommate was the doctor Lucinda form the Wairoa hospital. We laughed about it all and chatted away, ate heaps of ice cream, watched some TV and had a great shower and an awesome night’s sleep.
In the morning Cleo cooked us breakfast then dropped us back at the beach and we had a nice walk back to our camp. We found the kayaks wet with dew and positioned the green machine in the sun to dry well before we could fix it, thus we sat around a bit and relaxed, then after lunch we got down to business, we figured out how we would clamp the repairs to hold them in place till the resin dried then we practiced applying and clamping, then we got down to business. I mixed and applied while Dave held the cracks open and then clamped, it w was an awkward job that as Dave said “ tested team work skills” as we had to9 clamber about logs, each other and uneven ground to get the job done before the resin set. Though eventually we had it all clamped up and resin soaked back into shattered fiber and ready to dry. We then enjoyed the evening going on walks or writing until it started to rain a bit and it was dinner time. We ate way too much food and chocolate and went to sleep hoping the boat repairs would hold as we weren’t going anywhere until we knew they were sound.
The next day we awoke to rain, the fly we stretched for a cooking area had sagged and collected about 20litres of fresh water which was great as we had been collecting brownish water from the stream and boiling it, this was much yummier to have rain water. We enjoyed a relaxed late breakfast and when the rain slowed a bit we went a checked the boat repairs. The look good, all holding together, so we then tested it and beat it a bit with soft piece of wood, all good, so we loaded the compartment where most of the damage was with weight then bounced it roughly on logs in a seesaw action, all good, ok we feel confident the repairs will hold. Maybe I should have taken it out for a paddle in the small surf as well, though I felt lazy and didn’t want to get salty and wet and have no sun to dry off in. it should be good I am confident and so is Dave.
The rain came and went all day, I climbed to the top of a nearby hill to get cell reception, check the weather forecast and get a message out on internet, that we have fixed the boat and plan to leave for Napier in the morning as long as the weather permits. The forecast for tomorrow is small swell, 15 Knt NE winds rising to 25 Knt in afternoon. The good thing with that wind is it is slightly off shore, so will flatten the swell, and it is blowing us straight at our destination 28 NM away, which will make the day easier and mean we get to Napier in one go and end in the Fishing port there and not on another surf beach with a lightly repaired boat. All should go well.
In Napier is the factory that makes our boats, so they will go in for a touch up and in the case of Dave’s boat a full proper repair. Tonight before dinner we had a visit by some locals on a quad bike that came down the beach and recognized us as the kayakers from the newspaper, and the stopped to talk, surprised we were still in the area, though the understood quick when we explained what happened. They left before the tide came in too much and trapped them and we settled in for dinner and chocolate and then prepared for leaving in the morning. This may be the last night Dave and I camp together in NZ after Napier I go it Alone to at least wellington. Time is running out and there is still quite a chunk of the north island to do.