More rain. More gloomy skies.

I have a few days of flexibility in my itinerary, and might as well sit it out in this comfortable hut, with a large library of beachside reads.

No big hurry.

Periodically I went out and looked at the Gorge River. Now it’s down quite a lot. Robert says “normal”, although it’s considerably higher than when I crossed. It’s changed colour dramatically as well. Green or blue/green the day I crossed. Milky tea, strong, while in flood. Now just black tea. It’s exciting at the king tide time of the month with a few waves coming in. Of course its full moon, although you wouldn’t know due to the cloud cover.

Big waves are rolling in due to the gale force winds over the last few days, and rolling straight up the river. Very dynamic.

Robert had a 10-day forecast for me, with rain predicted for the next two days, and then two fine days.

I might be able to move off on that final rainy day as it clears up in the afternoon. I could still to fit in a couple of nights at Big Bay Hut.

That sounds like a plan.

Robert is very helpful, and it’s interesting to hear first-hand his stories of various travels in the area. He traps about 300 possums within a few hundred metres of his hut each year. He has other lines further away, hundreds of traps, leaving them in the bush.

There were no possums in the area when he first arrived, 1980, and this year they have started to drop off in numbers due, he thinks, to a professional trapper in the Pyke, and the two dumps of 1080 in the Hollyford Valley, that seem to have stopped the northward migration of the adolescents due to population pressures down south.

His experiences of trapping north of the river are that after three years from 1080 drop numbers are back. It doesn’t take long. I guess the 1080 only kills 85% of the resident possums, and there are sure are a lot of them around. North of the river has had three or four drops at three-year intervals due to being a major penguin breeding area.

Later I went and found a few mussels to supplement my diet. Nice to have a different flavour.

I joke with people that mussels were the real reason I returned to live in New Zealand, but I never say that it’s not a joke.

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