We followed signs for the
Cave . We turned up a narrow
lane and found the small parking lot; it was empty, and nobody else
was around. We climbed
over a stile into a sheep pasture, and we soon came to a little hole
that led into the ground.
There was a sign beside the entrance giving information about
the cave, and also warnings: “Do not enter the cave without at
least two light sources per person. Do
not enter the cave if you are claustrophobic.
Cave is prone to flooding.
Hard hats should be worn.
Do not enter the cave if it is raining, or if it has been
raining, or if it looks like it might rain. Be
sure you have warm dry clothing.
Be sure you have extra dry clothing for when you get wet.
Be sure you like to get wet.”
Or words to that effect.
The mouth of the cave looked dark and narrow, just a hole in
the middle of a bank in the pasture, with mud and rocks and debris
washed into it. After
reading the sign, we hesitated before going in, questioning the
wisdom of the endeavor. ‘But
after all,’ we figured, ‘it’s in the guidebooks and on the
road maps, marked as a tourist attraction, and it’s open to the
public. How unsafe can
it be?’ (Do you detect
a bit of literary foreshadowing here?)
In we went.
We ducked into the hole and entered the tunnel.
Before long it opened up into a wider chamber, maybe ten feet
across, and the floor was strewn with rocks.
So far so good! But
as soon as we rounded the bend and were out of sight of the
entrance, it became dark. Very
dark. And our torches
(NZ for flashlights) were small, very small.
We followed the tunnel into the hill, and it became narrower
and wetter as it sloped downwards.
The route through the cave was marked with small fluorescent
arrows that shone in our torch lights.
Underfoot were rocks and water-filled crevices.
Soon the route through the cave became really narrow,
climbing down, down, through damp chambers and under low overhangs.
As we bumped our heads on the ceiling repeatedly, the reason
for the hard hat recommendation became obvious.
There were many false passages and side tunnels, but we could
follow the little arrows with our torches to find our way.
We were careful to keep checking behind us, making sure that
we didn’t get out of sight of the markers that would show us the
way out again.
We turned off our torches and stood in absolute darkness.
The blackness seemed not just an absence of light, but an
entity in itself, a palpable thing.
It became increasingly clear to us that if our flashlights
failed, we wouldn’t have a chance in hell of finding our way out
Presently we came to what seemed like a dead end.
The information sign had indicated that the cave stretched on
for quite a long ways before exiting the hillside at another
location, but we could not at first see where to continue.
Finally we saw a marker - surely that arrow isn’t pointing
to that little hole near the floor . . . but of course, it was.
We had to crawl into an opening so small that we could barely
wiggle through. The
warning sign at the entrance might as well have included, “Be sure
you don’t mind getting down on your belly and slithering like a
snake over cold wet rocks!”
We kept following the path down, deeper into the hillside.
In many places we had to crawl on our hands and knees, or
wiggle through narrow spots on our stomachs.
In other spots we had to climb up over steep boulders, always
trying to be careful not to bang our heads on the low ceilings, or
to drop our torches. Soon
we were very wet and muddy from clambering through the damp
Once past the tight bits, the way opened up again enough that
we could walk upright, though constantly minding our heads.
The floor was rough with rocks and fissures; we carefully
picked our way through. We
were very cautious with our torches, taking care not to drop them or
bang them against the walls. We
did not have two lights each like the sign had suggested, though I
did have some extra batteries in my pocket.
It would clearly be impossible at this point to negotiate our
way out if we lost our lights. And
judging from the look of the parking lot, it might be days or even
weeks before anyone else ventured in.
We became more and more aware of the danger of what we were
doing. I started
thinking that we were likely to die down there!
The cave was eerily beautiful.
Stalactites hung from the ceiling, slimy with the
limestone-rich water that dripped from a hundred rock formations
above. We passed through
larger chambers where we saw tiny pinpricks of light overhead - they
were glowworms, attached to the ceiling.
We flicked off our torches, and their phosphorescence shown
like a starry night sky.
I tried to take photographs, but it was difficult with no
light. Jineen would
shine her flashlight on the wall to give me a spot to focus the
camera on, and then I would take a photo with the flash, with no
idea what I was pointing at. Some
of them came out amazingly good!
It was nearly silent except for our own footsteps and
breathing. Presently we
started hearing an eerie sort of pinging sound, echoing through the
cave; water dripping from high above into a pool somewhere. It
was spooky. I half
expected to turn a corner and come face to face with Gollum, or some
other creepy denizen of the deep dark places of the world.
The tunnel got wetter; there were many pools of standing
water, often deeper than they looked.
The limestone formations became larger and more magnificent.
The sounds of dripping water became louder.
After about an hour, we climbed down a particularly steep
treacherous section of tunnel and found ourselves facing a small
underground lake, which blocked our path.
The water looked black, and very deep.
The sign when we entered the cave had told us of this lake,
and indicated that there was a ledge that could be traversed around
the left hand edge of it. Jineen
wedged herself down through a narrow crevice to the edge of the lake
to get a closer look. The
ledge was treacherous; about ten inches wide, tilted at an alarming
slope, and beneath about a foot of water.
The walls were smooth, wet, and inward sloping, with nothing
for possible handholds. We
decided it was impassable. It
was amazing to us that the sign had even suggested that you could
negotiate that ledge. The
tunnel we had already come through was dangerous enough, but the
ledge would be practically suicidal.
If you fell in the water, it would be very difficult to get
up the slippery sides and back onto the ledge.
There is no way a cave such as this would have ever been open
to the public in the
We went back the way we had come, now clambering up
through the narrow passages we had come down.
Still proceeding with caution, we bellied through the tight
places. We noticed that
the numbers of the glowworms had increased dramatically, as if our
passing had woken them. Eventually
we saw a pinprick of daylight ahead of us, literally a light at the
end of the tunnel. It
was the entrance!
We emerged, well coated with limestone and mud.
It seemed strange to return outside to the living world
again, to a green pasture and a light rain.
We watched a weasel running up the hillside and a stoat dart
into the underbrush by the road.
We returned to the (still empty) carpark, tired but
exhilarated by our adventure.
We drove west again, back into Fiordland, to
, where we had heard there was a really good hike.
The DOC sign said that it was a 3 hour return tramp to
Lookout Point, and warned that the trail was steep in places.
But we knew all about steep tracks, after all, we had already
hiked to the top of at least two mountains.
And really, how steep could it be?
(Do you see a pattern emerging?)
When we got out of the car the sandflies started swarming; we
had found that anywhere near the water, if you left the door open
for ten seconds the car would be full of these obnoxious little
pests. But once you
started walking the sandflies would pretty well disappear, and they
never bothered us while we were hiking.
We set out along the trail beside the lake.
For the first half an hour it was level, and we picked our
way among the puddles; it had rained hard that morning, so the
ground was very wet. Soon
the path started to climb, winding up through the beach forest.
The track up the side of the mountain was quite steep, but
instead of having switchbacks like some of the other trails we had
encountered, this one went straight up the mountainside.
The path was difficult to follow; it was very small, and only
marked with occasional arrows. We
scrambled up the slippery slope, climbing uneven steps improvised
from the roots of the trees. Much
of the way the path was sheer enough that it was like climbing a
ladder. It was
exhausting work, grabbing handholds on the roots and trees, and
heaving our way up. The
air was cold and damp, but soon I was drenched in sweat.
Half way up, I was ready to give up.
The going was so difficult and treacherous that I didn’t
think we would make it. I
tried not to look too far ahead; I told myself to just focus on the
path in front of my feet and keep slogging away.
We would stop every little while to gasp for breath, and our
legs were burning. Jineen
was quite sick with a cold, so she wasn’t saying much; but she
appeared to be handling the trail all right.
Three quarters of the way up I thought I would die.
My legs were like rubber, and it was harder and harder to
find the energy to pull myself up the face of the mountain.
This was by far the most difficult trail we had faced.
The others had been steep, but with decent paths; this one
was just a slick staircase of roots and rocks and mud.
We had been climbing straight up for over an hour. I
tried not to think, but to just keep putting one foot in front of
the other as we scrambled up the slope. I
felt like Frodo going to Mordor.
I kept thinking, ‘Maybe Jineen will say she isn’t feeling
well, and will want to turn back.’
But she didn’t, and I wasn’t about to suggest it; I
didn’t want to be a wimp!
(Jineen later told me that on the whole top half she was
dying, and that she kept saying to herself hopefully, “Maybe
Phyllis will suggest turning back . . .)
As we neared the summit, we started to get some great views
from the high rock outcroppings.
The air was colder, and the day was still a dreary grey.
Whenever we came to an open space, the cold wind would whip
in our faces. We were
yearning for the top. Every
time we thought we were almost there, we would turn a bend and find
yet more mountain looming above us.
When we finally, finally, got to the top there was a massive
rock, sitting on the very summit, with the path climbing right up
onto it. We stood on the
peak and looked out; we could see around us almost 360 degrees.
stretched out far below us, with surrounding mountains in the
distance. Even though
the weather was gloomy, the view was spectacular as we sat there
surveying the world beneath us.
The wind was keen and sharp and we were wet from the
exertion; I changed into a dry shirt.
Now that we had actually made it to the top, we felt that
familiar sense of exhilaration – we wouldn’t have missed it!
I realized that there is no way we would have turned around
halfway; we had been too determined to get to the top. (On
the other hand, if we had known how difficult it was going to be, we
may never have started . . .)
But now we had to go down!
If the trip up was exhausting, the one down was frighteningly
treacherous. We went
slipping and sliding down the slick path, grasping on to trees and
roots to keep ourselves upright.
We often had to turn around, face towards the mountainside,
and climb down like a ladder – but one with slippery
unevenly-spaced rungs. We
both lost our footing dozens of times, barely catching ourselves.
Once Jineen slipped and fell into a tree, and I inadvertently
negotiated several portions of the trail on my butt.
At one point I went down an especially steep and difficult
part of the track. I was
congratulating myself on negotiating it successfully when Jineen,
still far above me, called down to ask if I had seen a trail marker
I had taken a wrong turn; I had to climb back up that really
nasty section of the trail!
Eventually we made it down.
Our legs were trembling with exhaustion by the time we stood
by the side of the lake. We
had not seen another soul on the whole hike.
We felt a great sense of accomplishment - we had made it.
But we did have a new-found appreciation for the DOC warning
signs. How steep could
it be? We had found out!
When we returned to the car, we needed a plan to keep the
swarms of sandflies from getting in with us.
We decided to create a diversion.
Pointing away from the car, I loudly called, “Hey look,
sandflies, over there! Fresh
meat!” While they were
investigating we jumped in; it worked.
Only 2 or 3 made it inside the vehicle, and they were soon
at 7:30 in the evening, and since Clifden had proved to be nearly
nonexistent, we headed towards the town of
, where we hoped to find some hot food and a room for the night.
Soon it was raining quite hard, though fortunately it had
waited (once again) until we had finished our hike.
We were tired, damp and hungry, and ready to settle in for
It was after eight o’clock when we got to
Tuatapere, and we
found no motels or B&Bs, just one rather seedy looking
backpackers lodge that didn’t appeal to us.
We were getting worried that all the restaurants would be
closed for the night. But
luckily the take-away place was still open, and we got some
excellent fish and chips for dinner.
The blue cod was delicious, a white flaky mild fish fried in
a light batter, and the chips (NZ for French fries, of course) were
cooked just right. They
do fish and chips really well in NZ!
Feeling much warmer and fuller, we hit the road in search of
Our route took us down along the very southern coast of
. Consulting our map, we
passed through the towns of Te Tua, Te Waewae, and Waihoaka.
No lodging. These
small towns are all marked on the maps, but you can’t tell from
that which ones really are towns, and which ones turn out to be just
unmarked crossroads. There
was nothing in Orepuki, Oraka or Tihaka.
We saw a sign for a hotel in
, but when we turned down the lane we found a crummy little
abandoned-looking bungalow next to the sea, with a sign that said
‘For Rent.’ It
looked like a total dive; we drove on.
Up until that night we’d had no trouble finding a room, but
now we were starting to panic a little.
On this least traveled bit of lonely coastline the problem
wasn’t that the rooms were all booked up; it was that there were
just no rooms there at all!
Finally, just before the town of
, we saw a sign for the High View B&B.
It was nine o’clock when we knocked on their door.
It was cold, and the wind was blowing really hard, and
between our caving and climbing that day, we were filthy, wet, and
covered in mud. We were
lucky they let us in. They
asked us if we wanted to see the room before committing to it - we
said no, that wouldn’t be necessary - we didn’t feel like we
were in a position to be choosy.
But in any event, it turned out that the room, like the
house, was lovely. We
had a beautiful view of an estuary from our bedroom window.
Our hosts were Bryan and Robin Barnes, and they were
extremely interesting and nice people.
They were retired sheep farmers, and had started a B&B a
few years ago after selling their farm.
They served us tea and cookies, and we had a nice chat.
We were tired, and Jineen, still fighting her cold, went off
to bed, but I stayed up quite late talking with Bryan and Robin.
They were really interesting to talk to.
They had traveled all over NZ, and
was very familiar with just about every place we had gone on the
trip. One of the few
things he hadn’t done, however, was go through the
. I told him about our
experience there, and he told us that a few weeks earlier a man had
been trapped in the caves by flooding – he had to stay in there
for the better part of a week before the water levels dropped enough
that rescuers could get him out.
I mentioned that we were surprised at how unsafe the caves
were, and that we were really amazed that the public was allowed in
them. That would never
happen in the
, but New Zealanders seem to have a different perception of risk.
Bryan responded by telling me that when he had traveled to
Canada on a camping and hunting trip, he and the other New
Zealanders in his party would take risks that the Americans and
“Like what?” I asked him.
“Oh, like keeping the tucker (NZ for food) in the tents,”
he told us. “All of
those guys, they were hanging their tucker out in trees
and such, away from the campsite so as not to attract bears,
but me and my buddies kept ours in our tents; I didn’t want some
varmints getting my food! The
Americans, they were having a fit that we did that.”
“Well, you know,” I pointed out, “people do actually
get eaten by grizzly bears out there.”
“Oh, yeah,” he replied, “but really, of all the people
who go out there, only a very small percentage of them actually get
eaten!” I guess this
falls into the ‘acceptable risk’ category, at least for a man
from a country with no native land mammals!
When we woke up in the morning, it was raining, cold, and the
wind was blowing extremely hard.
We were not in a hurry to get on the road.
Robin fixed us a delicious ‘cooked breakfast,’ and we sat
in the warm kitchen and talked.
The wind was so strong that the rain was going absolutely
horizontal across the valley. Bryan
and Robin told us a lot about NZ wildlife, farming, and conservation
of nature. We talked
about great places that we had all visited, and they told us about
many more that we hoped to see someday.
Robin and Bryan made us feel very at home and comfortable.
We had a shared interest in nature and the outdoors, so we
really enjoyed their company. They
invited us to spend the day with them and stay another night.
We had been going really hard the whole trip, and we were
still tired from our assault on Lookout Point the day before, so
this sounded attractive. Besides
that, it was pouring rain! We
decided to stay. We had
been covering a lot of ground so that we could see as much as
possible, experience as much as possible, but sometimes it is nice
to stop and just ‘be’ for a while.
We came to really appreciate High View; it is a gorgeous
spot. It sat high up on
a hill, which gave it panoramic views, but did nothing to block the
wind. We could sit in
the living room and look out the picture window; the estuary below
changed constantly with the tides.
They had a ‘tide clock’ in the living room; it kept track
not of the time but of the tides.
In the afternoon the rain stopped, though the wind was
blowing harder than ever.
took us on a little excursion; he drove us along the coast to Cozy
Nook, a small rocky bay where a few hardy cabins clung to the shore
and braved the elements. Nobody
was about, and the tiny fishing village had an abandoned look to it,
but upon closer observation we could see that people did actually
live there. With the
waves crashing on the rocky shore and the wind raging fiercely, it
seemed like a very hard place to live.
We visited several spots along the coast.
The wind was relentless.
There were few houses and villages, but the rolling hills and
green pastures stretched right down to the sea.
The trees were so windswept that they grew sideways.
When we stopped to get out,
carefully faced the truck into the wind so the doors wouldn’t get
ripped off. When I tried
to take photographs, it was blowing so hard I couldn’t hold the
took us on a ‘bush walk’, a two hour hike through the forest.
The trail went through an old gold mining area, where there
was a network of long-abandoned excavation sites, canals and
mine-shaft openings. It
was a DOC track that went on for over fifty miles, but there were no
signs or markers, and we would never have known of its existence but
. Nor could we have
found our way without him; there were many turn-offs and side
trails, with nothing to indicate which way to go.
told us that a group of school children had gotten lost out there
the week before; we could well believe it!
It was a very peaceful and pleasant walk through the trees.
We saw numerous game trails and deer tracks, and large areas
where wild pigs had been rooting up the earth beside the trail.
We didn’t encounter anyone else the whole way.
The walk ended at the home of some friends of
’s, where we had tea and admired the fabulous view of the sea from
their living room picture window.
Robin picked us up and drove us back to High View.
likes to collect rocks when he travels (as do I), and he had a
basket of interesting stones in the kitchen.
When I admired them, he told me about his late mother’s
rock collection; she gathered stones, polished them, and made them
into jewelry. He took us
down to the tool shed to see them; there were boxes and boxes of
them, of every imaginable color, polished to a glossy shine.
They were absolutely beautiful.
gave us wonderful gifts; he let us each choose several stones from
Robin fixed us a delicious and unusual dinner of whitebait
and crayfish. Or more
specifically, the crayfish was delicious, and the white bait was
unusual. Crayfish is NZ
for lobster, and she had prepared a whole bunch of crayfish tails.
They were smaller than
lobsters, and the flavor was slightly different, but they were
excellent. I personally
can’t really say the same about the whitebait.
Whitebait is a very popular dish in NZ, especially along the
coast. It consists of
tiny little worm sized semi-transparent baby fish, caught in nets by
the millions, mixed with egg, and cooked into patties.
Hearing about it, I had always thought it sounded kind of
disgusting, but in actual fact, once I tasted it, I realized that I
had been right – it was disgusting!
I gamely tried a few bites, but couldn’t actually bring
myself to swallow. Jineen,
on the other hand, thought they were delicious; no accounting for
taste I suppose. That’s
all right, she can have the whitebait; I’ll stick with the
We talked long into the night.
We learned a lot about hunting and wildlife in NZ.
is an avid hunter, and he told us about the controversy over the
DOC’s handling of wildlife. The
hunters want the game animals managed and conserved for hunting,
which is the reason they were imported into NZ in the first place.
The DOC, on the other hand, would like to eradicate all
non-native animals from the county entirely, as they damage the
environment and threaten the indigenous birdlife.
We could certainly see both sides of the argument.
We also learned about farming in NZ, and the extreme method
of pasture rotation that is often used.
In the summer, the pastures are fenced off with electric wire
into small sections, and a huge density of sheep or cattle are
grazed in these small paddocks.
They eat it down to almost nothing; but only for a day.
The sheep are moved daily to a new section of the pasture, on
a 100 day cycle – so once grazed, it would be 100 days before a
paddock has sheep on it again. The
dairy cows are actually moved from paddock to paddock twice a day,
at milking time, on a 30 day cycle.
This type of pasture management seemed really strange to us,
assured us that it is very efficient.
For winter forage, they plant fields with ‘swedes,’ a
root vegetable like a rutabaga; they put the livestock in these
fields and let them dig up the swedes themselves.
Also, they shear the sheep in late winter, before lambing
time; this is so the sheep will be cold enough to seek shelter
before lambing, so the babies are protected.
One of the interesting things about travel is the different
accents and phrases you encounter.
For instance, Brian had a tendency, like many New Zealanders
we observed, to finish a comment by sort of trailing off the end of
the sentence, having a pause, and then adding “. . . yeah . . .”
Another thing that we noticed constantly was that in NZ they
tend to use the word ‘wee’ instead of small or little.
As in, ‘I took a drive down the wee road.’
So for purposes of authenticity, I will use the word
‘wee’ instead of ‘little’ for the remainder of this story.
We took a tour of Riverton, the nearest town, after dinner.
We watched a cloudy sunset, with the waves crashing on the
rocky coast and the wind blowing the trees horizontal.
My abiding impression of this southern coast of the island
was of the unrelenting wind, and the sense that the people were
constantly battling the elements.
It was beautiful, but the conditions were tough - it was a
windswept land, a hard place to farm.
It reminded me of parts of the west coast of
. We couldn’t imagine
what it must be like to live there in the winter, when the wind is
blowing constantly, cold and hard.
But Robin had a more pragmatic approach; she said, “Oh
well, you know, you can always put on more clothes when it’s cold,
but if you live where it’s hot you can only take but so many
We had really enjoyed our day, and it was great getting to
know Bryan and Robin. We
had learned a lot about the country, and had a relaxing and restful
day. We were glad that
we had decided to stay.
We awoke to brilliant sunshine, and gazing out our
bedroom’s picture window, the valley below us looked golden.
Jineen had whitebait leftovers for breakfast, but I stuck to
eggs and toast. After
breakfast we hiked up the big hill behind the house with
. From the top we could
see the ocean off the back side of the hill, and the whole valley
along the estuary to the front of the house.
The wind was still blowing (surprise!), but it was much
There was a thicket of bushes and underbrush on the hilltop;
we climbed through the wire fence and went inside to collect ferns.
We gathered quite a lot of them, to take to my mother for her
dried flower arrangements and wreath-making; now the question was
how to get them home!
We visited the paddock beside the house, where
kept his animals. He had
three Tahrs, which are a kind of Himalayan goat.
They are very agile, and have long warm magnificent coats.
He also had several pet
; they were quite tame, unlike some we had seen on farms along the
roadside. They came when
he called them, and we got to see them up close - they had the most
beautiful eyes. One of
them had a wee fawn, but we never got to see it, as the mom had it
so well hidden.
Robin had three orphan lambs that she bottle fed, although
they were actually quite big to still be on milk.
With the dubious assistance of Bonnie, her bouncy wiggly
Labrador retriever puppy, Robin gave them their breakfast, holding a
bottle in each hand and the third between her knees as they pushed
and shoved in a woolly feeding frenzy.
We said our goodbyes to Bryan and Robin, and hit the road
We set out along the coast, hoping to see some interesting
wildlife. We stopped by
, where dolphins are often sighted; we were hoping to see sea lions
and penguins, but all we saw was a really bad surfer.
We followed the wee roads along the coast, and explored many
small coves and harbors. In
some places the shoreline was rocky and rugged, and in other areas
we found smooth sandy beaches. At
times the road would leave the coast and cross through rolling
farmland with huge sheep stations before returning back down to the
We took the short hike to
. Following a trail
through dense forest, we came to a lovely cascade - but this was
only the introduction. We
continued upstream, and before long we came to a series of fabulous
waterfalls, with 4 or 5 tiers. We
climbed up the rocks to the base of the highest waterfall, and sat
listening to the roar of the water.
was one of the prettiest waterfalls we had seen in NZ, and that’s
saying a lot!
Our next stop was
. I had read in the
guidebook that this was one place in NZ that is an exception to the
rule that the attractions exceed expectations, so I didn’t expect
grandeur. But I was not
at all prepared for the reality.
Here was a spot that was on every map, in every brochure of
must-see visits, and in all the guide books; but when we got there
(and it was very well sign-posted, I might add), there was nothing
more than a wee rapid, really not more than a riffle – you
couldn’t remotely classify it as a waterfall.
On the bank was a sign, with a large comparison picture of
the US/Canada Niagara Falls. Some
NZ surveyor apparently had a very tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.
I couldn’t quite decide whether to be amused or pissed off.
We were glad we had gone to
We stopped at Florence Hill Lookout, a high viewpoint
overlooking the beautiful sandy beaches of
. There was a small pond
in a nearby pasture where a group of Paradise Shelducks were
swimming. Wanting to
photograph them, I glanced around to be sure nobody was watching,
then climbed the locked gate and snuck across the field to get my
pictures. But as I
returned, two farmers, both older men, drove up and parked in front
of the gate. “Uh-oh,”
I thought, “Busted! I’m
in trouble now!” I
expected a stern lecture for trespassing, at the very least.
But of course, this was
. The farmers unlocked
the gate and opened it for me, pleasantly asked me if I got my
photos, and told me all about the lifestyle and habits of the
Shelducks. He pointed
out a blowhole in the rocky formation below, called
, where the sea would come crashing through a hole in the rock when
a big wave hit. It was
typical of almost everyone we encountered in NZ to be so friendly
and nice, even when we were engaging in a mild bit of trespassing.
We had lunch in the Owaka Diner (with excellent
orange-chocolate chip ice cream for dessert), and headed out to
to look for sea lions. We
walked along the sandy beach; it was quiet and peaceful, and the
waves were about the most gentle we had seen in NZ.
We were now on the eastern part of the south coast, and it
was not nearly as windy as it had been further west - the weather
was warm and pleasant. We
saw a sign that told us the bay was named for the sailing vessel
, which wrecked there in 1874. We
picked up moon shells and watched birds; a colony of gannets was
nesting on a small rocky island just offshore.
But we saw no sea lions.
On our way back, we saw three girls riding horses along the
beach. Two of them were
leading extra mounts, complete with tack; we really wanted to get on
the two spare horses and go riding on the beach with them.
When we returned to the car, we noticed that Manny,
Jineen’s driftwood from
, was positioned with his head over the back seat, presumably so he
could look out the front. Apparently
he didn’t want to miss anything.
From then on, we made sure to pack the back seat so as not to
obstruct his view. Jineen
was developing the alarming habit of talking to him; she said that
he had been feeling neglected.
~ continued ~