...for good reasons.
26.10.2010 - 01.11.2010 23 °C
The blog continues! Welcome back to the travels of the Ontarions. Shall we get to it? We say goodbye to Bob and his new buddies, 7 ducks, that have been hanging around his place and getting friendlier and braver. We are off to Nelson to grab some things before heading North-west where towns get sparse and so do other required items. While in Nelson we stop at South St., the oldest fully intact street in New Zealand, which dates back to 1863. It is lined with neat little cottage-type homes and shops.
Time is tight and we have to meet up with Miranda and Ben, our next wwoofing hosts who have a summer home on Jackett Island. So we head to the town of Motueka and meet them at Toad Hall, where we load up groceries before heading to the harbour. The only way onto Jackett Island is by some form of boat, so we load the essentials into their Argo, we all jump in, and plunge into the water. After a short water crossing and a tour down the beach, Ben pulls up on the deck of their awesome summer pad. They give us the run down on everything around the cottage including monitoring solar power battery levels. Then they show us the reason why we are there, to slow down the erosion of there beach front.
In 1995-96 the Council initiated the construction of a 700 m long by 1.5 m high geotextile groyne/breakwater with the intention of deflecting southerly directed sand from the Motueka Spit offshore and maintain navigable channel to Port Mouteka. As a result of the groyne, the sand is no longer being deposited on Jackett Island but instead on the spit, which has grown significantly in length and width and Jackett Island is eroding. The extensive shingle platform (rocky beach) is exposed now, while previously it was covered entirely by sand. About 20 m of beach front has eroded from Ben and Miranda's property since 2000, and several attempts at soft-engineering solutions (eg. Dune stabilization) have failed in recent years. Their home has become more and more at risk. Our mission is to fill large sacks with cement along their beach front to reduce the force of the waves hitting the sand banks. This should slow the speed of erosion until they hopefully win the court case that will see the removal of the groyne and the restoration of the beach. Over the course of our stay we filled around 20 sacks, each bag taking about half an hour with Julie and I shovelling and mixing cement like machines.
Besides the crazy amount of cement mixing and back breaking labour, we had a wonderful time taking in everything Jackett Island had to offer. Ben and Miranda left us with the entire summer home to ourselves, only visiting twice during the week. The sea fare was excellent! Julie gathered and sundried seaweed for munching on, we gathered mussels, tua tuas, and pacific oysters for various dinners, we ate scallops (from the neighbours), and Kahawai (a fish Ben caught just off shore). Each experience has its own storey. Kahawai fishing was hard work, as we trolled in the kayaks during high tide hoping to get some bites. On another occasion, while digging through the sand for tua tuas on the spit we noticed a nude man jogging towards us giving us a wave. I spent a lot of time relaxing on the deck while Julie practised her downward dog. Morning beach walks and explorations during low tide were common. The only way for us to escape the island was by paddling the kayak to the mainland. For a change of pace one Sunday morning, we headed into the market at Motueka for a nosey around. It was a great market, and we've noticed that second hand clothing is a regular booth at New Zealand markets.
Julie's sister Jodie was due to give birth at any time, and our only means of Internet access was at the neighbours (Rudy and Edith). For reasons unknown our net-book wouldn't connect to their network, so he insisted on Julie using his computer whenever she wanted. They were so friendly and we shared many laughs with them. Rudy showed us his bee colonies, and he was into astronomy and showed us all the constellations in the southern hemisphere. He also got a strange kick out of launching his little Yorkshire Terrier, Rookie, at the resident family of geese to watch the insanity unfold.
The time spent secluded on the island was very relaxing and just what we needed. Ben and Miranda were so giving and made sure we had tons of food and beer. They were very grateful with the work we completed along the beach. Ben said that he only has another 30 or so more sacks to fill to feel safe before this years storms roll in. Good luck with that! We're outta here! Thanks for everything.