The other two are leaving, hut jumping too, but I’ve still plenty to do here, recovery of my own muscles not far down The List.

I accompanied them down to the end of the beach and then further to the private hut that is housing four blokes on a 10 day jaunt away from their wives. We met them yesterday on a couple of the quad bikes going up to check their whitebait nets. They are leasing this old hut that must be close to 60 years old. They have made a six hour flight from Tauranga in two Cessnas, landing on the beach, taxiing a kilometre down to the sheltered spot where they park the planes, it’s too humpy to land closer and they use the quad bikes for transportation while here.

The couple takeoff, they have a nine hour walk today, I go up for a cuppa, where’s the scones?

Their hut has a generator for the whitebait freezer ostensibly, not for keeping the beer cool, and this time they have brought a vacuum cleaner to remove sand and dead sandflies from the lino floor. The place is comfortable, big lounge chairs, a big table, everything mostly one room with a fireplace, actually quite the comfortable setup.

I find out about flying helicopters to shoot deer commercially, and various tales of people walking from Jacksons Bay, four good days I hear. They have come across an 85-year-old who had done it recently, also a couple who came with a horse, the animal not particularly happy with the coastal route, or the fact the couple didn’t take a chain saw, relying on a handsaw adding to the effort required. Sounds as if it’s quite doable if the weather was favourable, the rivers requiring crossing go up and down quickly, but that camping is required as there is only one hut at the Gorge River along the route.

I grab a few more mussels on the way back but even with the favourable tide the experience is just at my gnarliest limit.

Rain has been predicted, no surprise there, it’s a daily occurrence but this time it’s finally delivering, she’s really bucketing down.

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