On Saturday, Andy and I got our first view of the cottage we were staying in by daylight. Sunrise over the ocean was beautiful.
After a big breakfast, we headed down to the beach right across the road.
The area we were staying in is part of the town of Mataikona, if you can really even call it a town. It was quaint and peaceful, and Higgs had all the room he needed to romp around the beach.
We soon came up on some incredible rock formations, running in perfectly straight lines along the coast and slowly filling in with the encroaching tide.
These lines result from sandstone being compressed by the weight of the Pacific Ocean, then bent and buckled by colliding tectonic plates (so the internet tells me). Truly incredible and otherworldly.
Andy found a great pāua shell (also known as abalone), which Higgs thought was a treat.
My inner rock-collecting child was so excited by all the great things to see on this beach. I would’ve loved to put these finds in my “Rock Klektion” box back in the day, next to the fern fossils I unearthed in my front yard in Boylston.
Some of the sandstone rows resembled dragon scales.
After the rocks, we came up on the mouth of the Mataikona River.
It didn’t look like much, but it was deeper than it looked and surprisingly hard to find a spot to cross since it was too cold to wade through. Higgs, of course, had no problem and even made a few friends.
I headed a bit further up the road to see if there was a crossing point, while Andy looked for other options. We wanted to continue along the beach on the other side of the river, so we didn’t intend to give up yet.
Heading upriver, I turned around to see a gorgeous rainbow overhead.
Then, I saw my buddy Higgs racing up the road to round me up. He doesn’t like it when anyone separates from the pack.
Andy found a rock midstream that we could hop to. He went first, and as I was about to go for it, a man on a four-wheeler drove upstream and offered to drive me across. Nice.
On the other side at last, we continued along the coast.
Here’s Higgs with his newfound love, the frisbee.
And doing his favorite thing, lounging in the tide.
We got really lucky with weather on this trip. It rained a bit, but only at times when it didn’t matter.
We decided to turn back, since we planned to go into Castlepoint to check out the lighthouse in the afternoon.
When I got Andy to take a shot of me, Higgs refused to be upstaged.
Another rainbow appeared as we neared the river crossing.
This time, no white knight on an ATV showed up to help out, so we went back to the same rock Andy had used to cross earlier. He made it across, but I was fairly sure I couldn’t make the leap without slipping and risking the life of my most prized possession, my camera. After getting my shoes soaked through and trying in vain to find another spot to cross, Andy valiantly took his shoes and socks off and carried me across. I contemplated whether or not I should include this anecdote, but he deserves some recognition for braving the icy waters, even if it makes me look a bit helpless. Luckily, he still has both feet.
We headed back to our little bach and sat out on the porch in the sun for a bit before rallying for our next adventure. What a nice spot.
Not a bad view. Not bad at all.
Next up, our expedition to Castlepoint Lighthouse.