Thursday 6th August dawned fine and cooler – it was only 5.4 degrees outside at 8:30am. It was time to move on after a lovely few days at Fred and Dorothy’s POP Coopers Beach. We bypassed Mangonui, and turned off SH10 further south; taking the road out to the coast. Further along this we turned off to Tauranga Bay, please to find the road sealed all the way to the beach and motor camp. It is a spectacular setting with the camp right on the beachfront, looking out to Stevensons Island, and south around cliffs to the entrance to Whangaroa Harbour and further around to Taupo Bay where we’d visited a couple of days before.The camp was not crowded so we had lots of campsites to chose from. Eventually we settled on a beachfront one. Those more experienced sit a few rows back to avoid the noise from the beach and to dodge the worst of the wind. But we figured we’d see how it went. So we settled in with our back window a couple of metres from the top of the beach. The beach itself is a lovely sweep of golden/pinkish sand.
There was an offshore wind so the fishing people were experimenting with floats to take their hooks further out. We met up with two couples we’d met earlier at Ahipara – all keen on trying to catch fish. Wyn saw a penguin playing in a wave (which made us 1-1 in the penguin spotting stakes) and we both saw a bunch of dolphins swimming through the bay. We passed the afternoon watching the fishing efforts, and took the walk to the eastern end of the beach, only a few hundred metres.
Friday was a good slack day. I was up early, and made a start on getting to grips with Photoshop Elements. I’ve avoided Photoshop for years; it just seemed too hard. But now I’m finding my old favourite Picassa a bit limiting. I need to learn about layers and filters and things. I made a bit of progress over a couple of hours but still haven’t begun on layers. Wyn did more useful things like making some yummy date and orange muffins. We’re still getting through a bag of oranges we collected in Tauranga off a tree at the POP there.
The offshore breeze/wind continued. The previous day balloons had been successful for taking hooks and bait out, and after a trip to a shop for more balloons another balloon raft was launched. The raft was very successful even if nothing was caught. The wind was a bit persistent, but we found a sheltered spot behind Suzi to enjoy a cup of tea in sun.
In the afternoon and with the tide out we went for a walk along the beach to the western end and around rocks and through an arch to the next beach. We were surprised to find houses here; they must come over the top from somewhere. There are houses perched all over the coast here, some high up on hills and cliff tops. We walked back past the camp and around the rocks at the east end of Tauranga Bay as well, not quite to the next beach. Someone fishing from the rocks there caught a large snapper but those on the beach didn’t seem to have much luck at all.
Tea was pasta with bacon and mushrooms, and of course onion. I’m not sure if I’ve made a meal without an onion yet. We’re almost through a 5kg bag of onions from the “onion man” roadside place at Katikati. We’re onto the last few kumaras we bought from there as well. So far his stall/shop has been the best value vege place we’ve come across.