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12-10-18-The Water Fall
By Guy S Jones
Posted on 12/30/2018 3:03 PM

From: Guy Jones <>

Sent: Monday, December 10, 2018 8:54:28 PM

Subject: The Water Fall



Hi All


Have your ever heard the expression fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me?


Here, the shame is on me.


Nina has this habit of painstakingly planning our excursions alone. In fact our destinations are generally based on something she wants to see onshore. Me, I just want the sailing and if it is a matter of going here versus going there, we go here. My second time around, I get it. A happy wife makes a happy life.


So, we buy these travel books and or cruising guides for everywhere this circumnavigation takes the two of us. Most recently, we purchased three books and two downloadable cruising guides all covering what to see in New Zealand. About a week prior to departing from Opua, Nina had earmarked the three books with countless postem notes and had laid out an itinerary for the entire month of cruising the Eastern Coast of the Northern Island of New Zealand replete with harbors and places of interest to see. And if there is one sure fire way to get her attention it is for any of these guides to mention a waterfall. And the first thing the second morning in Kaiarara Bay, before even a Guten Morgen, Nina announced we were going to the Great Barrier Waterfall. Now as a prelude to this undertaking, Nina had, the previous day ask for directions to the waterfall and we were told that there were two ways. From the small store in Port Fitzroy, it was one hour. However, if we started at the other end, it was thirty minutes. So the next morning, after Frühstück, (breakfast for the uniformed), we jumped into the dink and made our way South to a small landing. Wrong. There was a sign there that read “this is private property and trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extend of the law”. My take on that was that we would be shot. So we headed North back to the Port and since we had taken the trash, we made a stop at the dumpster and while there we ask a local what was the best way to get to the falls? He told us and then he said, if you can wait five minutes I will take you to the trail in my truck. We said ok, and ten minutes later, after a five minute truck ride we were standing in front of a sign that read as follows:


                                                       Falls, 15 minutes


We thanked the gentleman kindly and started up a path that did not appear to be very much used. However, we were not terribly surprised because the gentleman that gave us the ride said he had not been there in 15 years and did not remember much about the falls at all. We walked about five minutes and came to a creek. There was no bridge or steps but we could see a small trail on the other side with the creek, which was about ten to fifteen feet across, and about two feet deep. As I looked at the task in front of us, fording the creek, we both reflected back on the creek crossings that we did in the Marquesas and collectively decided to forego the opportunity. So we turned around and walked back down the path and turned right on to road the local resident used to get use to the starting point. After walking for about ten minutes, we saw a truck approaching and wonders of wonders; it was the same gentleman that had given us the ride. He stopped and asks what happened? We told him and he laughed and said there is another way if you take the “bridle path trail” on the right. Again we thanked him and five minutes later we were on the aforementioned trail. About ten minutes later, we see another sign and it reads:


                                                       Falls, 15 minutes

We turned right and we were on our way. This trail had been used a bit more but it was not what you would think of as being visitor friendly. But we were focused (ok, Nina was focused) on reaching the falls and so we walked and we walked and we walked and guess what, we walked and finally we stopped. Are we lost? At one point, I thought I heard rushing water so I retraced our steps and concluded we had not made any wrong turns and so we walked and walked some more. Once we reached the top, of this hill, I was convinced that we had somehow missed a turn because waterfalls are not generally at the bottom of a terrain feature and we were almost at the bottom of this hill. But, who I am to question Mother Nature because we are on a noble quest to find the lost waterfall of Great Barrier Island. Along the way, while I am gasping for air and fighting leg cramps, Nina is taking pictures with mad abandon and is impervious to the fact that we have been walking at this point for more than an hour, most of which had been uphill.

But the gods were finally benevolent and the waterfall appeared before and above us and on my scale of 1-10, it was a four and it taken us 75 minutes to get here. Now we facing a like amount time to get back to the trail and 20-30 minutes more to reach the port. Since, however, we were more than 1/2 down the hill, we did consider going back the other way, the original trail. However, we search the riverbed on both sides and could not find that trail and concluded that it must have been washed out or it was further down the creek. 

So back we went the way we came. However, a little excitement was added to the journey back when Nina said we had 15 bridges to cross before we reached the trail. I said eight and so we began counting bridges and so at the bridle trail we had counted only eleven and since I was the closer, my charming, mountain climbing wife had to buy me a beer. 


What is the upshot, the take way from this entry?  When Kiwi’s, either verbally or in written form tell you how far something is, DO NOT BELIEVE THEM, EVER.


Mercury Island

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