Day 12 – stolen

There are no photos of the beautiful morning on the Tapotupotu Bay DOC campsite at Cape Reigna. We also had no breakfast. Instead, our morning was spent running around, first worried, then increasingly angry. Why that?

Serve and protect.

Serve and protect.

The two big Touratech aluminium panniers for Rocinate were gone! Bless Nina, they were mostly empty but for some small stuff we can replace for maybe $50. Did the strong wind take them? Surely not all the way away. At least one would be somewhere, stuck in a bush or washed up on the beach.

As time went on, it became certain. Someone has come by in the middle of the night and taken both of them from right next of our tent. Yes, we could have taken them inside, or lock them back on the bike … but it was starting to rain, and we were tired. And after all, we were at the end of the world, right?

Well, hindsight can be a horrible tormentor. If only we had taken Colin’s warnings about security more seriously … but the show must go on.

Spending an hour trying to get to a phone to get in touch with NZ police was an utter waste of time. They also send us to a police station 100 km out that was closed in the end and the last phone call got me passed to a call center to lodge my case – it all seemed like paint by the numbers to get to a case number for a potential insurance claim and no further. Because of the goose chance, we have also missed our chance to finally ride down Ninety Mile Beach. Sigh.

Back on the bay earlier we also got to see the side of NZ again that we have learned to love and appreciate so much over the last 3 years: People offering help as much as they can, being caring and compassionate. An Auckland couple offered to take our camping gear (which we now can’t carry with us any longer) with them to Auckland for us where we can pick them up in time to ship with the bike.

Will have to cry for rescue by Touratech Australia some more to get a new set in time for Australia.

To have that much breathing space is impressive in NZ bush.

To have that much breathing space is impressive in NZ bush.

Now, it was a really annoying day, but also a deeply moving one. After lunch the mood started to improve again, we had a cute cup of coffee somewhere on the road and weird weather with sun and hard rain alternating in 10 minute intervals. After a brief ferry ride across Hokianga Harbour, we were approaching the highlight of the day: The Kauri coast and Waipua Kauri Forest.

Tane Mahuta is the name of the oldest remaining Kauri tree, and also for a mythical figure / god in Maori mythology. Tane was the one separating earth from sky to create the air, forest and realm of life and men.  In the presence of that giant, I could see how these myths spawned. One way or the other, Tane Mahuta will probably be the oldest living organism I will see in my life. It is estimated to be around 2000 years old.

Did I say anything else important happened today?

Oh yes, more heartwarming hospitality at the Greenhouse Backpacker in Dargaville. See for yourself …