March 23, 2012 by Jeramie

Bertie Lou’s been great, but we on the other hand, have put her in a couple of tough spots. The first being the deep sand at Hokio Beach. This time it was me foolishly losing focus on a very rough muddy road exiting our camp spot. I’m out of climbing shape, and I’ve admitted that many times in these writings. But the task ahead would have been laughable 4 years ago, before starting to climb. Holding tight to the bull bars, I rocked the van back and forth, while Zoe gave it a bit of gas, hoping to pull us out of the deep ditch we were stuck in. Time after time we fell short of gathering enough momentum to get her up and out. And time and time again, I jammed more sticks and rocks under the tires to try and give a bit more traction. Finally after plenty of yelling and banging of things from both of us, we rocked her up and out with a sigh of relief. The tightness in my body from this little exercise stuck with me for the next 3 days. I SERIOUSLY need to get back to climbing.

We stopped later at the Moeraki Boulders, a series of unearthly spherical boulders embedded in the beach, which have been dubbed one of the many “wonders of the world”. Although, they know how they formed, so I’m not sure why it’s a wonder anymore.

Back near the village of Moeraki was another spot we had heard housed a fair number of Yellow-Eyed Penguins. The population here has been basically human raised, and although they do still keep them separated from visitors, they are accustomed to us, and are free to pass by choice into areas people are walking.

We also came upon a large group of fur seals once again, this time lying out on a high¬†peninsula¬†of grass. Maybe this should not come as a surprise, but to me there is something very odd about a bunch of seals lounging in the grass. Obviously I’m sure it’s much more comfortable than jagged rocks, and I have to appreciate their effort to get up there, but it still, made me smile and cock my head a bit. Across the penninsula was a large group of Shags as well, which I had not gotten a chance to see up close until now.

We took the afternoon to clean out the van and photograph everything for the ads we would inevitably have to make in the next few days, and in doing so, encountered a local guy, Paul, who offered us his driveway, just across the street. Given that our known camping spot was on the other end of that perilous mud road we had struggled through earlier that morning, we gladly accepted, hit the tavern for a draught, and went to bed, safe from another ditch experience.

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