1st of December – Day 17
I did sleep very well last night. It rained most of it but I did not care less as my tent proved it is waterproof and I was snugg as a bug. Even the toilet light outside didn’t bother me. The rain was forecast to end by dawn. It persevered until just before 7am when I got up and packed down my tent and belongings. Blair sent a text to reconfirm our boat ride and we met him spot on 8am at the bay below the campsite. He backed the boat down to the waters edge with his tractor, heaved in our packs and we climbed aboard, checking in with tracer app and donning life jackets. We reversed straight off the trailer and were soon zipping across the Whangarei harbour to Marsden Point on the opposite side. The $20 per person ride took all of 8 minutes but saved an enormous detour via Whangarei to complete the same. In his other job when not taxiing TA walkers, Blair retrieves the logs that have fallen from ships into the harbour water. See as the ship is being loaded with logs sometimes they call overboard. Blair gets a call, anytime of the day or night, and goes to drag them back to shore. Fascinating that that is a job. At Marsden Point there is a pontoon that we step onto. Didn’t even have to take off shoes or have them get wet. From there the trail follows the security fencing of North Port and the oil refinery. There are a mountain of timber logs ready to depart overseas along with a massive mountain of wood chips, so large that a digger is perched on top forming the mass. The trail passes under the pier to which an oil tanker is secured, discharging its crude. Out to sea another larger tanker is being accompanied in by tug boat so I presume that this one is due to sail shortly. As I round the corner to Bream Bay the southerly wind hits. 50kmh gusts are forecast today and if this isn’t that blustery I don’t know what is. The tide is high making walking difficult so fortunately there is alternative above on land – a pipeline road that leads the 5 km into Ruakaka. I reach Ruakaka at 9:30am and head straight to a cafe, the first I can find. Two Birds cafe satisfied with flat white and smashed avo ciabatta with bacon. Oh man did it taste wonderful. And a proper coffee. Replete I did a little grocery shop then caught a taxi to my friends Ange & Eppie where I stay tonight. Everything washed I feel myself again. Tomorrow onto Mangawhai via Waipu Cove and some magnificent coastal tracks.