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Published: January 23rd 2006
November 25 to December 14
Most of our time in the south was spent hiking on several trails. In the first month of my travels I spent some time climbing in Railey, Thailand, where I met Marcus. He invited us for a weekend in Kaikoura, north of ChCh for some fishing, BBQ and drinking with his mates. It might of been a typical night for them but it took me a few days to recover.
So in a 24 hour period I managed a few firsts.
We started off at 9am in poor weather and swarmy seas looking for our tasty crays(lobster) in a catch that should have netted us dozens we ended up with 3. Our captain, the most watery eyed chap you would ever see said it was the worst haul in two months. No matter for a group of seven we had 5 cases of beer. The fishing, my first in the ocean, turned out to be much easier, a joke really. Drop a double baited hook, count to 50 and reel it in. So fast and easy taking a break was the more sought after job. Then the sea sickness set in.
The Kea has a reputation, when I was changing the tire, I left a door open and he was inside in a flash.
a few throws and on one he lost a fake tooth straight into the ocean. The little pearely white dropping into the blue and the subsequent grin was too much not to laugh at. After an hour we had one corner to take a piss, one corner to have a throw and one side to actually fish on, a slow steady system.
What a haul though, I fillet fish for an hour solid channeling the old family business skills from years ago. A little stink on the hands and I was reminded what I must have smelled like all through high school thanks to the Friday afternoon fish cutting sessions.
A few hours of hanging about we tried to catch seagulls with a not-so clever tire trap, and then decided to go for a swim in the very cold pacific. 30 meters to the first rock then 30 more then 30 after that. The current and tides meant you had to grip and toss about using kelp to pull yourself up onto the rocks. Imagine ocean rocks that seals sun themselves on and you get the idea.
A couple more beers and its time to wrestle and
fight. Seems that Marcus is the reigning champ of his crew so naturally that's who you run at and charge, I found out later that a few months ago he dressed up in a pink ski suit and kicked a large group of people's asses for a long time in pseudo kung fu style. So wrapped up was the pink ninja that not a single mate took him down for over an hour.
Out of beers/whiskey and time for the bars we decide to take a straight line to the pub, over a very, very steep hill and plateau. On top of the black hill was a picturesque tree, begging to be climbed by idiots. All fine and good 35 feet up it was the climb down that claimed a victim. After a fall of 10 solid feet smack on ones side would you pick the guy up dust him off even if hes not breathing or make sure his neck isn't broken first? In between two people getting half dragged all the guy needs is a drink and a pretty lady to tend to his head wounds. Getting tackled on hay bails, jumping barb wire fences and dodging
men in Merlin costumes the rest of the night in the bar was the tame part.
After saying good bye and shoving off we headed for Hamner Springs for some soaking and recovering. Where we stayed we met Paul, the worlds smartest window cleaner. A Christian man, the three of us had a fascinating conversation in the kitchen where he took a break from cleaning the windows. In about 90 minutes we learned: facts about American economic policy, NZ economics and birthrates, crime stats, old murder mysteries, US war stats, NZ fighter plane schematics, gods plan for him, WWII facts, the best one day hike in NZ, cooking tips, and of coarse the window cleaning business because he wanted a job that required as little thought as possible.
From there we made it to Arthur's pass for several days hiking and returned to find the Sunny 2.0 was a death trap. Surrounded by Kias (obnoxious mountain parrots with a huge appetite for anything in your car) I jumped in the car and started to the trail head where Jon was nursing a sprained ankle. As soon as I crossed the street I knew a tire was flat and
Quality rent a car
qualityrental.co.nz A nightmare, both front tires were given to us in this condition. Be warned!
pulled over to fix it, struggling with the spare I broke a bottle of cologne I had, reeking the car up for a week. That kept the birds away at least. We then realized that both front tires were bald to the wire on the inner portion, how they didn't blow out I'll never know. Calling the rental company was useless and frustrating, we would have to pay for a tow to the nearest Firestone dealer 180ks away. The AA service was amazing, once I explained the deal they didn't make us pay and neither did the Firestone dealer. The receptionist took our problem and called our rental company and once she was disconnected just turned into a bulldog till they provided a billing code for new tires. Thanks ladies.
After we got back on the road we set out for Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers. Nice backdrop for some photos and the only day in a month it really pored down rain. Both Glaciers are less than 20 miles from the ocean, evidence is all around showing the advance and retreat from over the years, near the Fox glacier is a ring of dense vegetation set against rolling
Tow from Arthurs pass to Greymouth
Three birds fell victim to Mario. A ford ranger towing a nissan sunny shouldn't be able to do 135 on mountain roads right?
With the weather still drizzling Jon and I sat in the car at the base of the recommended Copeland trail trying to find excuses for being sissys. We couldn't find any and went, the two days were wonderful and we picked up an American named Caleb heading the same direction as us.
From the Glaciers we set out for Queenstown to stock up for five days on the Rees Dart trail, there we witnessed a very, very large Maori touching noses with timid jet boat riders and an old lady grabbed my ass.
Running out of time we got off the Rees Dart and drove most of the way to Milford sound, we picked up another American, Littleton native, and camped by a stunning lake. So far down in the Southern Hemisphere the sunset seemed to last for hours, steak sandwiches and a couple of beers ended a great day. Once in Milford we spent half our time teasing all the tour bus lackeys, as if we were better or something. Booking a cruise around the sound made us just as bad.
Tot: 3.195s; Tpl: 0.072s; cc: 21; qc: 110; dbt: 0.0678s; 2; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.6mb