Well, it's been an interesting (and frustrating) few days. We're back in Hokitika sitting out the wet weather again. And the aftershocks! It's a very lonely park too, I think everyone has headed home. What with the earthquakes and the severe rain storms that have been sweeping along the Coast over the last few days.
Of course our experience of the 'quake was nothing like the terrifying shake that Kaikoura and surrounds on the east coast of the South Island experienced but the initial earthquake, just after midnight on Sunday night, certainly shook the hell out of us and the van here on the West Coast which is not that far, as the crow flies, from the epicentre. It also kept us awake all night with the continuous jolts and shaking as the aftershocks came thick and fast.
This very aptly named motorhome was at the Hokitika Park when we arrived yesterday morning. I bet they were!
Our stay at Lake Kaniere didn't end as well as we'd have liked. We arrived there last Thursday and David put the Takacat dinghy up that afternoon ready for a few days fishing. He left in light drizzle on Friday morning and not long after the drizzle turned to steady rain. Then it became heavy rain and by the time he returned home late in the afternoon it was torrential. He looked like a drowned rat and to add insult to injury he hadn't caught one fish, not even a pesky perch!
It then rained solid all night and blew up a gale, there were quite a few people in camp for the Christchurch Anniversary weekend, in small caravans and tents. The rain collapsed the roof of the gazebo tent next door and then the wind blew the sides in! I give them their dues though, they put the gazebo back up and stayed another night....when it rained again just as hard!
I was doing the dishes when they were packing up the next day (they did set up quite close to us) and smiled when I spotted the infamous Mrs Weka exiting their car while they were otherwise occupied!
Saturday was a little better, I even managed a decent sunset before the heavy rain returned again during the night and by Sunday morning we were over it. Especially when we could see back on the coast, 20kms away, a distinct line of blue sky. Lake Kaniere can wait for another time (perhaps). At least we'd done most of the walks in the area on our last visit.
So we packed up and headed out just as the rain started again. Ten kilometres down the road the sun was shining and the roads were dry. Lake Kaniere is tucked under the mountains of the Southern Alps and obviously gets a lot more rain than the coastal strip back near the ocean, which is saying something as that area gets more than enough too.
We headed to the DOC camp at Lake Mahinapua, just 10kms south of Hokitika and not far from the ocean. The drive into the lake is one way through some beautiful bush.
Lake Mahinapua is a popular camping, boating and picnic spot and it was busy on a Sunday afternoon.
We haven't stayed at the lake before but we did visit on one of our previous trips through and thought it would be a lovely place to stop.
We stayed hitched as we were only going to stay a night before heading off, south if the weather improved, or back to Hokitika if it deteriorated, as was forecast. Which was just as well as this is where we were when the 'quake hit early in the morning. It was very reassuring to know that nothing could fall on us and we wouldn't fall off our blocks either.
The only issue was there was no internet connection so we couldn't let family and friends know we were safe and I couldn't keep up to date with the developing news via the newspapers, Twitter or Facebook. Luckily we were able to listen to the radio.
It rained heavily again overnight and keen to reassure family & friends and have access to up-to-date earthquake news we headed off early, back to the NZMCA Park at Hokitika. Where yet again, we had very heavy rain overnight; 54mm to be exact. It was torrential for over an hour, the noise on the roof was deafening and in fact it's probably the loudest I have ever heard it. And that is saying something because it is loud at the best of times.
The Hokitika River, which is next door to the park, was in flood this morning. The whitebait season finished on the weekend and the 'baiters have a couple of weeks to remove their stands. I think nature might have done it for a few of them.