Another rainy and cloudy start of the day. I drive to the very north Puponga, ready to equip shell layers. When I arrive the weather clears up, still cloudy but only a little rain. I enjoy a cup of coffee and see the view of the isthmus from an elevated café. My first walk is along the inner side of the beach, the Spit Track, and then across and along the ocean on my return to Fossil Point and next car park. With this weather it’s still a nice sight and makes room for some interesting (a bit over exposed) photos. I next drive to a nearby parking area and do the next walk down to Wharariki Beach. There should be a rather special cliff with a hole through, but in this weather it’s difficult to see – and not weather to launch the drone I faithfully carry in my backpack. I drive back to Tankara and have a chat with the tourist information. There ar e heavy rains forecasted for tomorrow, so she would not recommend doing the Abel Tasman walk I have planned. I might go for the Ngaru caves, relax, and just plan the coming days in more details. I park at a freecom campsite west of Riwaka, but a bit worried of the sign warning about flooding in case of heavy rains, and this is what is forecasted for the night and tomorrow. One of the weather apps predicts 90mm of rain from midnight and throughout the day, so I set a timer to wake up a couple of times to check if the area becomes flooded – no big problems it seems, but again really noisy inside a camper when it’s raining this much.
I drive to Motueka to fill up supplies and do my first laundry after Auckland (where a washing machine was installed in the hotel room). Else, the rest of the day goes my planning the next coming days, where to stay and to be a bit better prepared for the trek in Abel Tasman, and the following in Nelson Lakes. After dinner (salmon and pasta) I have a chat and red wine with my neighbor, two charming siblings from Canada, who are in New Zealand for around 3 months. One has just finished Medicine, and the other a bachelor in Psychology and are now experiencing this journey together. Trekking seemed quite new, although coming from Canada – but so-far there has not been too much problems in the longer treks. We were all big fans of LOTR, and could not wait on seeing the movies again – Extendend, of course. I show The One Ring, and wear it shortly – but I do not go invisible…there must be something wrong with this ring.
I also get started on the book I bought in Kathmandu – Into Thin Air, which describes the tragical episode on Everst in 1996. You probably recall the leader and head guide Rob Hall from the movie ‘Everest’ – he was from New Zealand. The book explains more interesting background, actually it was in 1852 that the mountain was measured to be the highest using trigonometric reckoning (which took into account such factors as curvature of the earth, atmospheric refraction, and plumb-line deflection). The mountain was referred to as Peak XV at 29.002 feet high – in modern times the height has been determined to 29.028 feet or 8848m – only 26 feet different. In 1865 the mountain was bestowed the name Mount Everest in honor of Sir George Everest, predecessor as surveyor general. Tibetans has referred to the mountain as Jomolungma – which translates to ‘Goddess, mother of the world’. In Nepal, they used Deva-dhunga – ‘Seat of God’. The current official Nepali designation for Mount Everst is Sagarmatha – ‘Goddess of the sky’. As you know, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made it to the summit as the first in 1953. Sir Edmund Hillary is from New Zealand, and on my way to the starting point of Tongarino crossing, the bus driver mentioned that it was in these mountains he first started his mountaineering, and later went to the south island to further improve his skills.