Sep 11 day 11 Opua to Waikare 16 km (12 by boat) 5:00 pm-6:15
Today was the first true rest day. Slept in at the Opua Motel, a really wonderful place, read, wrote, relaxed, and rested some strained knees. Resupplied at the Opua Store, a classic place which also had coffee and assortment of ever-present meat pies. Went to sit by the harbor and even though the sun was shining, it was cool and windy. John, at the Cruising (yacht) Club invited me in, so I spent the afternoon in comfort reading and writing on the couch with the harbor spread out in front of me, Marie came in and opened the bar just in time for me to have a pint and talk with a boating couple from KeriKeri. Dusty, the grizzled water taxi pilot showed promptly at five to take me over to Waikara, which is only accessible at high tide. On the way he told me of his plans to sell his business and next summer mountain bike the Rockies from Banf Canada to Mexico. The entrance to Waikare was a narrow channel winding through trees and finally bumping against a clay cliff where I not so nimbly jumped ashore and gave quick thanks to Dusty who was heading back out with the tide. I got ashore near 5:30 and made my way up the road and out of the village. It was Friday night, so everyone was out and about. After about 5k I came to a river ford, decided not to get wet feet just before bed (plan to cross in the morning in sandals before putting on shoes) so I free camped near the river it what I thought was a deserted area. Only after I started pitching my tent did the dogs at the house across the river put up a racket. Hope I can keep my low profile through the night.