Boy, was it cold!!!!
Sorry for being late with the post but last night I just had enough. I was cold, tired and just went to sleep.
The day had started well. I had had a great time in Surat Bay with the sea lion and, it appears, so had many of you, judging by the count on the Facebook post.
I was not sure what the photography was going to be on the day as the weather was set to dry but overcast. What I was sure of it was going to be birdwatching day.
I spotted some on Catins lake as I was starting the first of many unsealed road I was to encounter in the region. Catlins lake is not really a lake, not sure why they call it so, it is one of the many inlets that get filled at high tide and almost drained at low tide.
After I passed the lake the road regained a thin layer of tarmac and started ascending in tight bends through mainly farming land. Of course there were more birds.
The road was mostly away from the coast until I got to Papatowai. I stopped there and restarted my traditional staple diet of bread and salami. This time with two twists: the salami was chilly spices and instead of bread I hd cheese biscuits. It was relatively warm so I took my top off and basked a little in the afternoon sun.
From there it was a long way and a lot of ups and downs to get to the next point of interest, Niagara Falls. I had been intrigued about it since I saw it on the map and I indeed was almost surprised when, in the middle of a flat straight of road, I saw the sign to Niagara Falls followed by 100 metre on the left.
Kihumor once agin.
It took me no more than 20minutes from there to Curio Point, where i was going to spend the night. As I was approaching the camp I came to a T junction going left was going to lead to the camp, going right to the petrified forest. It was fairly early so I thought to go and see the petrified forest and then I would not have to stop in the morning. What I did not realise was that I was going to camp only metres from it but on the camp side.
After having taken it all in I made my way to the camp and pitched up against the cliff with the observation point onto the petrified forest. I had by then discovered that that was the place Andrew had told me about as a perfect spot to penguin spot.
I went to the observation point and took a couple of shots, but then I walked down to the office/shop to get some info as I knew it was closing at 7:00. On my return a little proud had gathered both on the observation point and on on the other side at the petrified forest platform but there was still very little penguin action.
After a while an English couple came over and said they wanted to have a closer look at the penguin lying on one of the stones below my vantage point. I had not seen it but there was indeed a penguin sunbathing not too far. They told me that the penguins are maulting and therefore most of them are not even going into the sea and this might explain why there was so little movement.
After some more time we noticed some commotion on the other observation platform nd we saw there was a penguin that had come out of the water and had stopped to pose for some shots and autographs.
I’m afraid that was that, despite all of Andrews encouragement not long after sunset I turned into the tent for the night.
Now, camping right next to a penguin colony should have been a sufficient clue on what the night was going to bring but I was not prepared enough. As I was aware that I am out here with a summer rated sleeping bag, bought by my mum to go into the desert, I decided that I needed to dress up for the night.
So I wore: pants, socks, cycling lycra trousers, t-shirt, fleece, my neck tube worn as a balaclava, gloves and the fleece hat. All of this inside the sleeping bag liner and inside the sleeping bag. I guess it was sufficient in that I slept all night but when I woke up it took me a long time to master the courage to get out of the tent. The temperature had hovered just above freezing and it was still only 4º with the sun already up.
I badly need a new sleeping bag.