A friend from my photo club took me out on a two person fieldtrip to Akaroa Harbour. There is a rocky peninsular called Onawe which has interesting rock formations viewable at low tide. He had already been and wanted to go back, and there was also another place on the other side he hadn’t visited. So off we zoom into the morning (with stop for coffee and brunch at Little River Cafe)
Unfortunately there was a family who had picniked and parked their SUV right in front of one of his spots. Rather rudely they didn’t move it and he went looking for another spot he had also shot.
I setup shop with the tripod to get a variety of different shots – the weather was quite changeable and was going from bright sunlight to thick cloud very quickly.
So I decided to wander down to the Point as there were people playing with jetboats and jetskis (the jetski people immediately went BACK to the head of the bay where I had been and stayed there *sigh*
The weather looked like it was beginning to turn, so I walked back to get shots of some nice wave carved rocks and a great driftwood treestump
The rain came in so we decided to head off to the other place. Note my friend had not been there, just had directions, one of which was “a bit of a steep path down to the beach”
This path was a NIGHTMARE – it was steep in the way Everest is High, and Death Valley is Hot – it was not far off vertical and dry dust and no steps. For the middle part there was a rope to help you along, but I ended up sliding the last 2-3m on my bum, as my backpack kept throwing off my balance. I landed badly and gave my wrist a bit of a twinge which didn’t help either.
Once at the bottom, it was a lovely little bay with a couple of large rocky outcrops – but the beach was purely rocks – lots and lots of nicely rounded and incredibly unstable rocks
Given that my right ankle is quite weak after I sprained it really badly a few months ago, I very gingerly made my way across the rocks to the tide pools – covered in barnacles so a good surface to clamber on
By now the weather was getting greyer and heavier and the tide was starting to rise so I thought I would head back to the car and started to make my way back across to the Path of Hell – and just as I got to the bottom a very gusty southerly wind started.
Here I was trying to climb up this path, tripod in right hand as a walking stick – grasping at bushes and clumps of grass with the left, and I get about 30 feet up and the wind is howling, I have to stop and take of my hat and glasses as I was going to lose both, and now I’m crawling, and absolutely TERRIFIED as the path wasn’t wide and there were rocks waiting at the bottom. And as the wind was so strong I couldn’t let go of my handhold. I was stuck and starting to panic!
A veritable knight in shining armour came up behind me, grabbed my right arm and hauled me up to the rope, and then carried my backpack up to the top!!! When I got there, I thought I was going to either throw up or have a heart attack due to the enormous adrenaline rush and I had to lie down and just breathe for a good 5 min.
After gratefully thanking my rescuer, on shaking wobbly knees I toddled back to the car to meet my photog pal walking the ‘other’ way back, he had gone along the beach and then back up the road *sigh*
I was sore, tired, covered in dust and dirt, bleeding from a scraped knuckle, hot, sweaty and absolutely SHATTERED.
We carried on home with a short side trip up a hill to see what we could see
And with one stop so I could get THREE different kinds of cherries from my favourite orchard (its an hours drive out of town, I don’t get there very often) and home (via the fish’n’chip shop) for a nice hot shower, a cold coke and a thorough cleaning of all my gear.
What did I learn:
– I have good walking shoes but I need better socks
– A tripod makes a good walking stick
– I need good padded and waterproof kneepads – kneeling on rocks and wet sand isn’t fun
– Take a change of bottom half as well as top half clothes
– Pack some facewipes
– I need plasters (BandAids) in my backpack as well
– If the path looks difficult and possibly dangerous to navigate – DON’T go down that way – getting down is possible, getting up is LOTS harder
– There is still some Kindness of Strangers in this world