Catch-up- until this morning we were still relaxing and enjoying good company at Mapua. But after 11 nights our itchy feet returned (and our tanks were full), so it was time to head back 'Out There'. We are now in Murchison for the night and tomorrow we will decide where the road will take us. And that will depend on what the long range forecast throws at us; east or west, what will it be?
Here's one last blog from Castlepoint before I move onto Ngawi in the Beach Hop series.
After a rough few days of weather, our last day at Castlepoint dawned sunny and clear. Which was just as well as there was one more walk we wanted to do before we left; the rim walk around Deliverance Cove.
The walk starts at the Lighthouse carpark which is also where you're allowed to freedom camp.
There's a gentle climb up through the pine forest and out onto the exposed ridge where finally, we can see the entrance into the lagoon.
Smaller boats launch at the top of the lagoon and leave through here to go fishing. From the beach it looks like the rocky reef separating the ocean from the calmer lagoon waters joins Castle Rock. From up here it's actually quite wide.
The entrance also provides a reasonable surf break in the right conditions. You can see the track stairway coming down the side of Castle Rock in this photo too, that's where we're headed.
The views are jaw-droppingly spectacular. In the photos, it doesn't look that high but check out the size of the people down there on the water's edge to get some perspective.
Here's a pano for maximum effect!
Further around the track and the lighthouse comes into view at the far end of the reef. This photo might look familiar, it appeared on the TV1's weather.
The track runs along a narrow ridge just before it reaches Castle Rock.
And from here the views down both sides of the headland are breath-taking. This is looking south over Christmas Bay.
If you look closely in the photo above you can see a small dot on the sand in the bottom corner of the bay, it's a seal. Which is unusual for seals as they normally hang out in amongst rocks. Sealions prefer sand, seals prefer rocks. I zoomed in on it and found half a dozen more lolling about near the rocks.
A wild and remote part of the Wairarapa coastline...
...and in the other direction, I zoom in on the lighthouse.
Once the track meets Castle Rock it heads down to the beach through a series of steps and stairways. There is a rough 'unofficial' track up the side of Castle Rock, you can see it just in front of David, once it reaches the cliff edge it climbs straight up to the top of the Rock.
I imagine climbing to the top of Castle Rock is a ritual for many regular holidaymakers to Castlepoint. Just like us, as teens, we used to climb to the top of Mokotahi at least once every summer holiday at Mahia (Northern Hawkes Bay). I was so tempted to climb to the top of Castle Rock but I had a niggly knee, so I decided to take the safer option and follow David down the stairway.
Near the bottom I spied something bobbing about in the surf. Seaweed I think. Until the wave flattens out to reveal a seal in its happy place.
Once at the bottom, I find a number of seals in amongst the rocks. This guy is not too certain what I'm up to but he's keeping one wary eye on me and the other on his escape route. I leave him in peace.
I take one last photo looking back up Castle Rock...
...and run to catch David up. The firm sand below the tide line makes it an easy walk back around the lagoon.
It is with some surprise when we see a flash black car heading towards us along the lagoon edge. The driver does a sudden turn up towards the sand...
..and comes to a grinding halt. Oh dear....what the hell is he doing out here in a car like that?
'Houston we have a problem' He's stuck fast and the tide is also on its way in. Fast. And there's just the three of us and not another soul in sight. The driver tells us he wanted to take some photos of his car in front of Castle Rock. I tell him I'll take the photos for him, I'm not so sure he wants my ones though. We try to push him out, with no luck.
He starts to panic when we tell him the tide will be lapping at his back wheels very soon. He races up to the dunes looking for rocks and driftwood to lay behind his back wheels, and comes back with one small rock and some dried seaweed. David starts digging out behind the wheels and opens the boot to find the car's carpet mats have been placed in there for safekeeping. For a moment the driver is reluctant to use them, but the next incoming wave confirms he hasn't much time.
I spot a couple of guys up on the dunes and wave frantically for them to come and help. After much digging then putting his floor mats underneath the back wheels, letting his tyres down a little and with guy at the wheel, we manage to push him out. His back wheels hit the water as he comes free. He was so grateful, he got out and gave us all a hug.
You would have thought he'd have picked up that the sand was soft on his way down the beach, those are his tracks on the right, and his return tracks on the left. He won't be doing that again in hurry.
We head home along the beach and I take one more photo of the lighthouse. You can never have enough lighthouse photos. Right?
And that was Castlepoint, a charming seaside village we both enjoyed very much and a place we would return to.
Next up, Ngawi (pronounced "naa-wee"), a small fishing settlement near Cape Palliser, the southernmost point of the North Island.