I love to hear the rain on the roof, but when I woke at about 5 am and heard it on the roof of my room at the Lodge at Awaroa, for once my feelings were mixed! The issue is, we had to leave early (7.30 am or thereabouts) in order to catch the tide to make the crossing of the Awaroa estuary. So, rain or no, we left not too long after the scheduled time, kitted out in our wet weather gear, and indeed managed the estuary crossing with the water at the deepest not over our knees. However, I still can’t understand why the water was running out to sea while we were crossing, given that this was about an hour and a half after low tide…..more research needed on this point.
The walk to Totaranui was 6.5 kms, and all up we managed it in less than 2 ½ hours. It would have been nice to make a leisurely trip of it, and taken some time to admire the vistas which were just as impressive on this sector as on the previous days, but it was raining. Sometimes it was quite light, sometimes a bit heavier, but always constant!
Hence we got to Totaranui with several hours to spare before the scheduled departure time of our water taxi. There’s not a great deal at Totaranui: it’s basically a camping ground, but the beach is nice and – importantly – there’s shelter at the Department of Conservation office! Of course, soon after our arrival, the rain eased off, so we wandered around and looked at the estuary and other sights. Totaranui has road access, but in spite of this, there’s no cafe (hence, no cappuccinos!).
We were a little worried when the water taxi seemed be running a bit late in order to pick us up, but the delay turned out not to be serious (the boat drivers seemed to chop and change about who was to call at which beaches), and there was a decent buffer in the transfer time at Marahau between the arrival there of the water taxi and the departure time of the bus to Nelson – sufficient for a cappuccino!
The transfer back to Nelson was uneventful, and after farewelling the others in the group (who were staying separately) I checked into the motel and quickly had a hot shower before heading out to a pub mean and a beer (err…or two)!
Just a couple of points to mention: the walking poles given to me have been invaluable on this trip but were especially useful in the slightly slippery conditions on today’s sector (again, a number of ascents and descents). And, the first rule of walking must be, it doesn’t matter how good your wet weather gear is, the wetness will permeate your clothes. Good walking socks are an absolute must in these conditions, and preferably your other clothes should be “quick drying”. My socks and trousers meet this requirement, but I may have to invest in shirt suitable for wet conditions.