Arlkes had the benefit of being close to a big grocery store, so we used the opportunity to fill our big overnight camping backpacks with provisions for the coming weeks. We were glad the relative positions of the store and the boat meant we were walking up the steep hill with empty packs and back down when they were bulging and heavy. Because my back was still marginal, Maryanne insisted on putting as much of the really heavy stuff in her pack as she could fit. She got all of the cans and bottles of liquid. I got pavlovas and bread and cereal. Her pack was easily twice the weight of mine and I thought mine seemed pretty heavy. It was good to get the job done, though. We were starting to get low on a few things and weren’t sure when another well-stocked store would be so convenient.
The next morning dawned beautiful and sunny, with a forecast for heavy rain in the afternoon. We took our time walking to our friend’s house, marveling at how nice New Zealand is and how lucky all of the people are who get to live here. We found their trim and tidy house amongst all of the other trim and tidy houses. They welcomed us warmly and then showed us to their main room. Wow! They have one of those window-walls that can be folded away to make a really big balcony and the views of Big Manly and the Gulf all of the way back to Kawau were breathtaking. Big Manly is even prettier than Arkles. The whole way here, we kept saying to each other, “People live here!”
Waiau Bay - a small detour from our walk to see Dave and family
The provided us some great company, and a delicious meal
Yeah, these people: Dave and Sue and their son Sam. This is their house! How cool must that be?
They are all great. We traded stories about what we’ve all been up to since Minerva and about how we all ended up there in the first place. Sue and Maryanne grew up in the same area of the UK (Peterborough/Stamford), so it was interesting to hear how she also ended up on the other side of the world. She made us all an excellent meal, plus seconds and thirds, which I was more than happy to help with.
The lovely Family (and view from their home)
Dave told us some of his story. He was a boat builder for years and then decided to quit and design, build and open a hydroelectric plant. He didn’t know much about it, but he’s hard working and clever, so he just went to the South Island on long hiking trips, and started scoping out locations he'd identified via Google Earth. Eventually, he found a place, bought the land and then built the whole system himself with the help of Sam. Now they sell electricity back to the grid and the plant pretty much looks after itself. Needing a few days of regular maintenance every six months or so, he and Sam use maintenance as an excuse for some South Island tramping (hiking).
When our time was up, they were nice enough to drop us back at the shopping center by Arkles. We picked up a few last-minute items and then tried our hardest to pretend we couldn’t see the Christmas gifts in each other’s baskets. It’s kinda hard when you’re in the same checkout line and paying with the same card. We both agreed to act surprised when the time came.
The rain held off until the second we ducked under the bimini with the last of our shopping. How lucky is that?