Monday, 21 October 2013

Exploring Robin Hood

Fantail chasing insects on the bay's northern hill road.
 I've been exploring Robin Hood Bay lately. Nothing to report on the fishing front other than that my one attempt caught nothing. There is a lot of seaweed around, so not the best spot overall for casting (or more importantly, retrieving). My first cast at the point lost a lure. It has been fun exploring, though.

Gull flying toward the southern point.
After my first look at walking out to the southern point of the bay, I was pretty sure it was possible, close to low tide. Seeing it the next time with quite a swell around high tide, I was at least convinced it wouldn't be easy if it wasn't near low tide.

High tide.
My map has the southern point of the bay marked as Wai Kutakuta. This is where I did manage to get to on a nice day close to low tide. The walk out there was great fun; I love exploring a coast by foot.

A shag sits quietly.
  There was one part in particular that you won't be able to get past without getting wet up to at least thigh-height, or possibly higher (as I found out on my return), but if you're wearing suitable clothing and footwear (or at least prepared to take off your boots and pants for a few metres...) you'll be fine.

Wai Kutakuta.
 For the most part, the rock is sharp jagged stuff, which you shouldn't dream of traversing in bare feet, but luckily the one point I had to take off my boots was pleasant underfoot (in the water, at least). There is an emergency escape route up the hill in most places if one does get caught by the tide or building swell.

Robin Hood Bay Cottage.
There's a creepy old Blair-witchesque house in the bay built around 1848, which I never noticed on previous visits for some reason. It's a Category Two Historic Place, and inspection is 'invited'. Well worth a curious peek.

Robin Hood Bay Cottage interior.
The northern part of the bay seems even less inviting as far as water level goes as far as I can see, but I'm keen to take a peek around low tide soon.

Northern side of Robin Hood Bay.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Mole sees a river for the first time

He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river.

Never in his life had he seen a river before - this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a-shake and a-shiver - glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble.

The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man, who holds one spellbound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.

Illustration by Ernest H. Shepard.

From The Wind In The Willows, By Kenneth Grahame.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Photo Report: Wairau River, Ferry Bridge

The Wairau River is still running high and quite green. These photos were taken yesterday. Rain has fallen today, so the level won't be lower at the moment.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The new season


Sitting on the river bank, quietly watching a trout just below me, a stoat popped up on a rock beside me. I heard him before I saw him. He was so fast I only caught a brief glimpse of his brown coat, white chest and startled expression before he scurried back up the bank.

After a few casts, I decided to continue upstream stoat-like, hopping along the edge of the river. Soon after that thought surfaced, I slipped in some mud, dirtying my corduroys.

The birds were filling the air with their noise - a quail calling from the hillside; a mix of tuis and maybe bellbirds; magpies in the distance somewhere; and birds I wasn't sure of the name of. The bumble bees were humming around the nearby flowers.

Then another noise - a subtle slurp! I noticed the rings of a trout rising nearby. My second cast in that direction with my Black Fury lure had a trout following. Nothing more, though. I sat and watch for a while, leaving a dirty damp cheek-print on the rock when I stood.

I heard a train's horn in the distance, probably passing through Springs Junction, or maybe Tuamarina, which is closer.

There was no wind - a perfectly still late afternoon. Swallows swooped and darted about the water. The Wairau River chattered on its way, higher and greener than normal, but nothing like it was about a week ago when it was brown. I was fishing just off the main river, where it changes with each flood - sometimes flowing in above the main access area, sometimes meeting the creek-fed water further downstream.

It was the first day of the new trout fishing season, and I was happy I'd at least seen a couple of trout. The new season must mean different things to each fisher. For many, it must mean their favourite water is open again for fishing, as many rivers and streams are closed outside of the official 1st October - 30 April season. For me, it mainly signifies the time when it's warming up enough for me to start taking the motorbike out of the shed after being neglected over winter, to explore the river again. I'm still slightly obsessed with the lower Wairau, which is open year-round, so the actual season doesn't mean so much to me. In saying that, I do plan on exploring more waters that aren't open year-round this season, so next season that comment may not apply.

A shag startled me as it scrambled and flew over the river from nearby as I slowly moved back downstream.

Riding the bike back towards home, a rabbit ran across the dirt road. The setting sun shone in the bike's rear view mirror as I left the river, content with my first day of the new season.