We planned to leave Kaitaia on Tuesday (28 July). But first there were a couple of things to sort out. I checked the wiring on the A-frame to make sure the lights on the car were going to work. And they didn’t. Again no amount of wriggling plugs and cursing made any difference. We needed an auto electrician. And we needed petrol for the car. I went off to the nearest service station that we had a fuel card for, and filled up. And asked the guy there whether there was an auto electrician in Kaitaia. “Well” he said, as if I mightn’t believe him. “My sister’s place… and she’s here..” he said indicating a woman who’d just pulled in. He gave me some directions which I managed to follow, and sure enough there was Redan Auto Electrical. And sure enough his sister had made it back not long after me. She checked out the A-frame wiring and the car, and it looked more like the problem might be with Suzi. So I agreed I’d have to come back with both halves of the problem. Back at the RSA we packed up, and drove separately back to the auto electricians. And hooked them together, and she dropped what she was doing to sort out the problem. In the end she decided it was a dodgy earth problem with the car and made another earth and it worked. Her charge was very reasonable – it’s always a good feeling to be on the end of good service.
We headed back to the Mitre 10 store and had lunch in their carpark and I bought a couple of spanners for the A-frame. I reattached the A-frame brackets to the car; they are a lot better after the work by the Kaitaia Engineering guys. And the A-frame that really is an A-frame is a much sturdier affair. At last at 2:30pm we were finally on our way, 15 days after arriving at Kaitaia. We’d gotten to like the place; lots of friendly helpful people and good service. We headed back the way we’d arrived – towards Doubtless Bay, and turned off just before the bay to travel along Karikari Peninsula. As peninsulas go this one is a fairly flat sort of peninsula, with a couple of settlements along the way. At almost the far end and only 40kms from Kaitaia is Maitai Bay, a DOC camp. There was nobody around and only one lot of visitors, it was a bit deserted looking. We unhitched the car and hoisted up the A-frame and went for a drive around. We could have chosen any of many campsites, but 95% of them looked more like swamp sites. This is Northland and this is July. Eventually at the far end we found some higher ground, across some not-so-high ground. We decided it shouldn’t be a problem so long as we didn’t stop, and we finally made it to the spot we’d chosen. This is just back from the top of the sand hills, with a walk down them to the amazing crescent beach that is half of Maitai Bay. The view out Suzi’s back window is a view of the beach and the crescent of breakers and the hills beyond. The day had started lovely and fine but was heading towards the inevitable rain. So we got things as level as possible with our blocks, and set about with our setting up tasks. There’s things to unstow and rearrange inside, and things to sort outside like unassembling the A-frame and putting the new cab protector on. Soon it was raining and we were snug and warm inside. We were reasonably sheltered from the northerly wind, we had a TV signal, we had a great view of the bay and this is a great place to stay.
Wednesday dawned fine and sunny. We’d parked beside a tree for a bit of shelter, and now it was sheltering us a bit from the sun. Worse, it was sheltering some of the solar panels. We never saw double figures out of them all day, but were loathe to surrender our dune-top position. We made ourselves a cup of tea and went for a walk along ‘our’ beach, heading to the north end – all of a couple of hundred metres. Mid-morning we took our breakfast back down to the beach – keen to enjoy the sun. In the afternoon, with the temperature around 16 degrees, we went for an explore the other way. We had a look across the headland to the other bigger half of Maitai Bay, also called Merita Beach. It was cloudier in the afternoon, with thunder clouds spectacular on sunset.