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  • Writer's pictureDermot O'Brien

Day 22. Nov. 26th. Mangawhai Heads to Pakiri. 29km.

The tent site was near a boat ramp, and we were awoken before dawn by the clatter of boaties, eager to get out on the water on the fine and still Saturday morning. I made my way towards Mangawhai on a sleepy suburban Saturday morning. A poem popped into my head, about being a nomad in the midst of slumbering suburbia. The choices we make. At Mangawhai, a guy stopped me and asked if I wanted a lift along the dusty gravel road to the beach, so I said yes. He also bought me a breakfast sausage from the barbecue outside a butchers. Turns out he had done seven weeks of the TA a couple years ago but was run over by a DOC jet boat on the Wanganui River. He was still thinking of going back. As I got to the beach, I knew the tides were wrong for the couple of river crossings later, but went down anyway. Sure enough, the first river crossing at the beach looked impassable, so I went inland through scrub till eventually I gave up looking for a shallow spot and forded the still river chest deep. I made my way back to the beach, and another river crossing later, this time not so deep. Peter caught up with me and we had lunch together on the beach and then on to Pakiri holiday park, which was very busy. Someone took my knife from the kitchen. Reality check. A TA woman called Erin was holed up there up for a few days with a full leg infection that started from a minor scratch. I think she was keen to keep up with the bubble she had travelling with from 90 mile beach rather than getting the infection seen to much earlier. I can understand. The choices we make. Had a nice swim in the ocean and a chill evening with Armand, Peter, and Brad.

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