August 8 – August 30th, 2016.
Nelson to Westport
Dave, our Airbnb host dropped us off at 7am at the I-Site for the first leg of a beautiful journey – a 4-hour bus ride to Westport, where we’d switch buses to go the rest of the way to Karamea.
Photos, click to enlarge: The view, the mid-journey stop, outside the Westport I-Site with a store across the street that may be familiar to U.S. folk, and a view down the street with mountains in the background.
The Karamea Express
From there we got on the Karamea Express, driven by Phil, to Karamea and got our first glimpses of the Tasman Sea. Phil carries the mail with him so on the way to Karamea there were lots of stop as he dropped letters and packages in mailboxes and on door steps. We didn’t mind – it gave us more of a tour of the area.
We were happy to arrive at Shona’s knowing we’d be here for 10-weeks or so and could settle in, relax, and to some degree get to know the area and the people. We had done a Skype tour with Shona when we were in the U.S. but we were surprised how large the house actually was. We discovered it was a short distance to the estuary, to a farm stand, to town, to various access point of the Tasman Sea, many walking trails including the Heapthy Trail. The house came with two bicycles and a camping van that we quickly became friends with.
Shona’s yellow house, the only one like it in Karamea (color scheme inspired by her visiting our business in Marblehead) is bigger than it looks from the outside: 4 rooms plus living room, kitchen, bathroom and toilet. Can you see our Dual Path Cards Shona had put on her bathroom wall along with others she’s collected over time? When we arrived the neighbors sheep had gotten into her garden and eaten most of her swiss chard & kale, and they had pooped everywhere! We tended the garden and they eventually came back. We made meals from them and her tomatoes, pumpkin, garlic, beets, potatoes, lemons, leeks and herbs. We did a lot of weeding, grass cutting and chopping & hauling wood. It was winter when we arrived, only in the 50’s but surprisingly cold somehow, so that wood stove became our best friend! The kiwi were given to us and the little red yams saw at the local store we just had to try.
I quickly found the Karamea Community website and posted on the blog site to introduce ourselves and invite folks to say hi. In a community of less than 600 it seems to have helped having folks know who these strangers in their town were – most strangers are here for a weekend, stopping through to get ready for or recover from walking the Heaphy Trail (photos in the next post), or coming in for the Whitebait fishing season.
The estuary is just around the corner, a few minutes walk away. On the way we sighted the heron sitting at the top of the tree and on the way back someone had left these beautiful flower arrangements on a wall.
We’re fortunate enough to be in Karamea until October 13th when we move on to other house-sits, festivals and Workaways. Before we leave we may host a radio show on Radio Karamea and begin our Generosity Exchange. Stay tuned!
Categories: TRAVEL BLOG