One Month on the road

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Otaki Beach

Parked up at Otaki Beach

It’s been a month since I last saw the sun set over the sea, and tonight I am again parked on a beach on the west coast… and I got an absolute ripper.

Today marks having been on the road for a month, and what a month it’s been. According to the Metservice it was the wettest April since records began… and certainly I had to work my filming days around that, but it didn’t stop me; I always had other things to do on the days I couldn’t get the camera’s out.

I have put 17 posts on the Six Boats blog on the progress of either Abel Tasman, or the Kurahaupo. I have written over 18,000 words of the book, prepared over 50 accompanying illustrations, and verified all of the details I’ve given … and that’s a lot of facts to re-check. I have written all the scripts, for the docco’, scouted out all the shoot locations, and recorded over 80Gb of video; as researcher, scriptwriter, driver, wardrobe, props, sound guy, cameraman, director and actor… and I made the sandwiches and coffee too. I have been from the West Coast of the North Island, to the East, and back again. I’ve seen the land bone dry, and I’ve seen in full flood. I’ve seen a full moon, a new moon and a full lunar eclipse. I have even seen Mount Ruapehu from both East and West coasts… as well as up close, and I have driven over 1,300 Km, just between the campsites I have stayed at.

Today, for the first night in a month I will sleep listening to the waves on the West Coast, and that’s something very special to me. I don’t know what it is about the West Coast, but it stirs me deeply. I spent 3 night’s up the coast at Whanganui, but had to stay inland… there’s nowhere you can stay on the beach up there. I’d spotted this place. As soon as I was finished up in Whanganui, I came straight here. I’m parked 20 paces back from the high tide line, in the centre of this view…

Otaki Beach

The entrance to Otaki Beach. As seen in Streetview

… and it’s absolutely sensational.

Otaki Beach

Otaki Beach through the office window

Kapiti Island is away to my left, Cape Taranaki to my right and the shoreline is 180° right in front of me. It took me a while to settle down, I was just so excited by being here. I didn’t know whether to look out to sea, up the coast, or down the coast… whether to go for a walk, or just sit and take it all in with a cuppa. In the end I did a bit of each. This evening the sun set in the middle of the sea, was followed three hours later by a moonset. Unfortunately I can only stay 2 nights.

One month into the journey and I now begin to shift focus. Up till now I’ve been mostly occupied with getting the Kurahaupo people moved towards where I need them… in Golden Bay, at the top of the South Island. I will complete their journey from Whanganui to there in one just more post. Now, my attention shifts to Abel Tasman.

I’ve currently advanced Tasman as far as Mauritius. I now need to move him into the Southern Ocean, across to Tasmania, and then onto the Tasman Sea and heading East. That’s just three more posts about Abel Tasman before he sights New Zealand.

I’m at this beach because I need to film something here about what happened to Tasman on the night of 19th December, 1642… which I’ll fill you in on later. I will also film a short sequence about the Kurahaupo people sailing past here, before they turned out to the Marlborough Sounds. I also need to prepare the dialogue for the sequences I’ll film while I’m on the ferry; it’s the best vantage point for a couple of details about Tasman’s journey. From the ferry I can also best indicate the route taken by the Kurahaupo people… the Ngati Tumatakokiri, and that means remembering to have a shirt change ready (Waka’s = maroon, Tasman = blue).

I have to film these a little out of sequence as the presented order will be…
1. Kurahaupo crossing Cook strait going South.
2. Tasman crossing Cook strait going north.
3. Tasman going back to the South side of Cook strait, and finally,
4. Tasman crossing Cook strait again, going north.

I only intent to go and return once, so I want to knock all these off on the way over if possible. I have a few days of work in and around here, and then I’m going to catch up with some friends in Wellington before crossing to the South Island. So, all up, how are things after a month on the road? As then man who fell off the top of a hundred storey building was heard to say as he passed the 32nd floor… So far so good!

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