Fortunately, the hut warmed up last night as the previous occupants, hunters who came in by boat, had left plenty of fuel.
Needed because I had wet feet, and the temperature had dropped substantially. The periodic showers of fine hail proved that.
After three strenuous days, and any day carrying that amount of pack weight would be that, it was time for a break.
This hut is well located, just 10 m away from the high tide mark, and has a great view down Patterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera. The close vegetation makes it fairly gloomy in winter, but the view to the east is great.
I was the first visitor writing in the hut book for six weeks, although locals may have come up in their boat.
Task one for the day was to patch the three matchbox-sized holes I’d melted into my puffer jacket sleeve inadvertently the previous night as I was stumbling around in the dark. I found the emergency Gaffer tape wound around my spare radio batteries, applied that to the holes, and that was about the best I could do.
The second task was to gather some mussels for a dietary supplement. That required rolling up the legs on my woollen pants and the arms on my woollen hoody, and floundering around in my jandals down on the mostly rocky beach.
Plenty of blue mussels on the rocks, it’s just that the larger ones were a little further out.
I had better point out that the maximum air temperature was supposed to be 5°C, even if the water felt slightly warmer, well, at least until the wind chill kicked in.
Those mussels are certainly tasty, and a little variety from my daily de-hy chicken curry and rice, but I ate that later on as well.
It was certainly restful at Freds Camp, but the cold easterly wind was lashing the beach and hut, with the waves crashing ashore noisily. Radio reception was available, but I rationed my phone use as 21 days was a long time for batteries to hold out.
One thing, I checked the tide times, which indicated that to avoid the issue with high tides at the point at the north end of Mason Bay it might be a good idea to have another night on the Southern Circuit, or on the way to Mason Bay. I realised climbing around the problem point at the end of the sand section of the beach was always an option. The high tide track isn’t well marked, but at least having done it before I knew where to go if required. It’s a case of 10 minutes nipping around the point on the sand, or 1.5 hours climbing up sand and getting over the top, ie, some incentive for an early start.
So the weather was cold, but generally pretty good for mid-winter for the next ten days.
Plenty of blue sky for the day. But just that 5° C.