Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wandering around Abel Tasman National Park

FYI about last night: the green-lipped mussels were delicious (and I'm not exactly a huge mussel fan). Combined with the coconut butter sauce Nat made, or just eaten straight out of the shell, they were tasty tasty tasty. My opinion wasn't of the majority, however; most people weren't into them, which just translated into more for me and my fellow mussel-eaters when the others turned them down.

Today I went for a half-day sail with Abel Tasman Sailing Adventures; their shuttle bus came and picked up me and several of my Stray co-travelers from Old Macdonald's Farm here in Marahau, to our boat, a catamaran called Mystify, which was anchored in Kaiteriteri. Our mission: to sail up the coastline of Abel Tasman National Park to a bay called The Anchorage, and then let out the passengers like myself doing the half-day sail ashore so we could walk the 12.4km back to Marahau along the Abel Tasman Coast Track.

Our first stop was Split Apple Rock, which looks exactly like what the name suggests. Apparently sometimes a few brave visitors jump off the boat and swim out to it to have their picture taken in between the two halves. Seeing as it was cloudy and windy and the water temperature 14ºC, we opted not to. One of the girls, Morgan, was so cold she took advantage of the boat's complimentary fleece capes... with its black body and orange hood, she looked like the Grim Reaper all decked out for Hallowe'en.

We tacked our way back and forth across the Tasman Sea, mostly keeping close to the shoreline so our skipper, Mark, could point out important bays and islands of interest. Abel Tasman National Park, the smallest of New Zealand's National Parks, was created in 1942, and named after the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman, who first landed at Golden Bay in 1642. His boat was attacked by the Māori, killing four of his sailors, and several Māori as well. Tasman decided not to stick around to explore (for obvious reasons), and named the bay "Murderous Bay", which was then later changed to the more tourist-friendly "Golden Bay".

After eating lunch in the kitchen of one of the huts built for hikers doing the four-day Great Walk along the coastline, I set out for my own mini-hike back to Marahau. I shouldn't really say "mini"... it was 12.4km, took all afternoon, and involved some up and down hills and gullies. (I saw a gulch actually labeled a gulch for the first time today!) I passed by Observation Beach, Cyathea Cove,  climbed out on a rock at Yellow Point to take precarious pictures, and stopped for a rest to eat an apple in Apple Tree Bay (I brought my own, I didn't see any growing there). The beaches are a beautiful golden colour due to the erosion granite and silica; in some places it is coase and granular, and in others it has been ground into a fine powder that lifts up in puffs of dust when one walks across it.

One of the things I enjoyed most about the hike today was the proliferation of bird song in the temperate rain forest; I never truly understood how melodious a bird's call can be until I came to New Zealand. I have no idea which birds are responsible for what calls (perhaps a Tui, or a Kakariki), but I've been trying to record examples of their songs with the video feature on my camera, so I can play them back later and identify them.

I got back to the hostel around 5:20pm, which means it took me about four hours to complete the hike (right on time). Dinner consisted of rice from last night, combined with veggies and a little too much of Nat's coconut sauce from last night's dinner (I ended up making more of a soup than a rice-with-sauce dish). Now it is time to go roast marshmallows around the fire... however, they are very little marshmallows, and we are using shishkebab sticks to toast them, so things could get interesting!


1 comment:

  1. did you have to buy more time? I feel badly.