Monday 16 November – Day 2
There had been soft showers during the morning which fortunately stopped as most rose from their tents. A good shake got rid of most of the water and I was pleased that my tent had not leaked at all. The previous evening I had informed the group that I may snore… and this morning the boys confirmed such with wry smiles. Sam described my snoring as aggressive which was a new one for me but I was quietly impressed by his description. Ella and I left camp shortly after the boys just after 8am. The first part of today’s walk was across the bluffs between windswept flora. Resistant to the conditions which must be regularly atrocious by the looks of the carpet of vegetation where nothing protudes. Some plants looked downright nasty but I suppose are adapted to survival in this environment. An hour later we had descended the steps to 90 mile beach and now we had.. well 90 miles to go. Actually its more like 90 kilometres and three days of walking.
At Te Paki stream the boys peeled off to return to their car. Numbers taken, we may well meet up down the trail but for the time being it is enough to have enjoyed their company for a day. Ella and I continued together, our pace complementary; my long stride and her quick pace meant we kept in sync easily.
The tide was coming in so we had less and less hard sand to walk upon. We had set off early in order to get as much walking committed before high tide. The shore was strewn with bunches of smallish mussels and large colourful conch type shells. Apart from that there wasn’t much to see of difference. We missed seeing the wild horses that the others saw behind us. At one point we came across a seal. It had been on the beach for a while by the look of its decaying carcass. I have didn’t bother getting too close for a photo despite the wind in our favour.
As the afternoon drew in the tide receded to once again give us harder sand and therefore a quicker pace. We walked across massive beds of shellfish. Pole tips struck hard shells with every step, the shellfish squirting jets of water in defence of our interruption. A shower hit the beach and we donned jackets and pack covers just as my parents and Paulette arrived. 90 mile beach is drivable with the tide out. Replenished with V and coke we were able to make the short distance to the camp site in quick time. Maunganui Bluff has a private campsite with the luxury of showers. Albeit cold it was a welcome wash plus there was plenty of water for cooking and drinking. The other hikers arrived and soon we had our full complement including Kat, Darnay, Giles and George. The wind was picking up but we hardly noticed as it was early to bed and snores by 7pm.