Bali hates me

I’ve come to the conclusion that Bali hates me. This is the second time I am in Bali and the second time I am very sick. I guess I could have been more careful but I think I am pretty careful. I blame the lunch we had on our snorkeling outing because the other two girls who ate there with me are sick as well, just not as bad as I. Not even mentioning the soreness and bruises from surfing, I haven’t really been able to leave bed except for a brief period yesterday where I thought I had the energy to surf (false Imodium hope). I tried surfing out there for max 20 minutes but did catch one wave so the whole week wasn’t a total waste. They caught my success on video at least. I feel really bad because everyone at the retreat knows I’ve been sick and keep asking if I am feeling better and my answer every time is no. Another few days wasted in Bali once again due to illness.

Surf pictures

I’ve been pretty sick and and I am tired of it. I canceled my plans for my upcoming silent retreat and booked a western style hotel for a couple days in Seminyak. If I still feel this bad the last thing I want to do is be at a place without air conditioning, far from doctors, and far from other comforts and conveniences.

I check into my new hotel in Seminyak and I can already tell I made a wise decision. My room is nice and comfortable. I settle in with my ginger tea and fall to sleep early. I mean to get a light dinner and medicine but it is not happening tonight.

I wake up and go to an impressive breakfast spread. I can only eat plain white bread today though. I am hoping to try more tomorrow.

After breakfast I go to the nearby pharmacy and FINALLY pick up antibiotics. They also talk me into probiotics and vitamins. I am sure I’ll regret these purchases later but for now I’ll buy anything they give me. Note: the probiotics were actually teen vitamins. So basically they talked me into two different types of bulky vitamins I didn’t really need and no probiotics.

Antibiotics, yes I know they resemble something else

I can tell within a few hours the antibiotics are helping. I should have done this days ago.

I finally have the energy to do something other than watch videos on my phone or movies on the tv. I decide to try to resuscitate my bathing suit. I could never quite get it clean while I was at the retreat and it never dried out in time before I had to use it again so it had caked on days of ocean, sweat, and mold. I am soaking it in my hotel in soap and hopeful it can be saved. I despise swimsuit shopping and I would at least wait to do so until I have a long time in Ubud.

While I feel a little better I can mention some more details about the hotel. It is fancy. There is a large amount of security around and they check our bags through X-ray every time I try to return. I did not think Seminyak is an unsafe place to be but if it is, I’m probably in the safest hotel.

During the next two days I slowly recover and every morning I add new food choices to my diet and one afternoon try to have a hamburger and cocktail by the inviting pool. Hamburger is a success but I can’t finish the cocktail. But it is progress.

I dress up and sit on a bean bag chair at my hotel to watch the fire show at the hotel courtyard. It is amazing the control they have over the fire.

I never make it to the beach but I have accomplished what my number one goal is – to get better. I am feeling much better before I head out to Ubud for ten days. I am hoping it is smooth sailing since I got my illness out of the way (spoiler alert: I get sick again).

Snorkeling at Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida

My retreat package doesn’t include any weekend activities so I do a snorkeling excursion to Nusa Penida with a couple other girls from the retreat.

We have to be up at 6 am for our car ride to the ferry but I wake at 3 am for no reason. I lie in bed for about an hour trying to sleep then eventually turn the lights on to catch up on some research. After about fifteen minutes I start hearing buzzing from a very large flying bug. It is annoying but really likes the light. I’ve got the mosquito canopy so I am sort of safe for now. I soon hear more buzzing. It is almost like a bunch of eggs have hatched many of these things in my room. I count 6 during one count. It is time for me to get ready and they are everywhere: One on my backpack, One one the shirt I want to wear. They are scary looking and I have no idea if they bite or sting. I open my door hoping they will fly out with no luck. I eventually manage to get all I need for today. I lock my room and decide to deal with it when I get back. Fortunately when I return that night only one is left and he just hangs out at the light so I leave him alone.

Our driver picks us up and takes us to the ferry that will take us to the island of Nusa Penida, where we be snorkeling today. The traffic is terrible trying to get to the ferry. Our driver is going to be with us all day. He parks his car and directs us to the ferry. I am glad he is there because all the ferries look alike to me and I would never know which one to get on. Our guide sits in the back of the ferry but us three girls pick out a row. I grab the window seat so I can have the breeze but offer it to the girl in our group that gets sea sick. She refuses but I know her pain. I have taken my medicine so I should be ok for the ride no matter where I sit. Traveling out for a day at Nusa Penida is a crapshoot this time of year. It is the rainy season so the waters can be uncomfortably choppy if the weather is bad. Fortunately rain isn’t expected until later today so we seem safe.

The ferry ride is about an hour. We can not only see Nusa Penida in the distance but we also see a mountain. We try to determine which mountain it is. We get to the island and the boat backs up to the shore. We are not getting off at a pier; the way off is through the back and into the water. Because I am short and clumsy I have a slight fall exiting the boat and end up getting wet in the lower half of my body. One can stay on this island overnight but thank goodness I am not trying to haul my heavy backpack off this boat. I am sure all my things would end up getting soaked.

Our guide takes us to the snorkeling shop where we try on fins and pick out our lunch choice. We are to get our other equipment on the boat. We are waiting around a long time to start, it appears they want a larger group. I use this opportunity to apply sunscreen.

Waiting for more people

Our main guide tells us he will meet us later and we go to board the boat. Luckily the group isn’t too large where the boast is overly crowded. The water is beautiful. We use the opportunity to take a few pictures before snorkeling destroys our appearance.

We have 4 stops today. The first is the furthest away Manta Bay. The guides warn us the the seas will be rough on the way there (on the boat and in the water) but the reward is that we will see a manta ray. They didn’t lie about either. I start to feel nauseous on this part of the tour even though I had my motion sickness medicine this morning. The boat is rocked around. When we enter the water to snorkel it isn’t much better. The waves cause me to swallow what seems like gallons of sea water. I am constantly emptying out my breathing tube (no I don’t know how to “blow” it all out like the professionals). There isn’t much to see at this location since the fish are scarce and the coral isn’t impressive. At some point when I am underwater I look over and a Manta Ray that’s diameter is longer than me comes swimming toward me. It is partially scary and partially amazing. He kind of looks like he is smiling at me. He glides by without touching me. I pop my head up and tell my friend to go look down right away so she gets to see it as well. Unfortunately there are no photos of this event. We get back on the boat soon after.

The second stop is probably my least favorite, Crystal Bay. The beach area looks beautiful and we see some fish but I am not impressed.

One of the girls with me notices that some of the girls on our boat that are choosing to snorkel are not able to swim. Why someone who couldn’t swim would attend this is beyond me but what happens is that they hang out in their life jackets and hold on to this raft and scream and monopolize the fish guides the entire time with their drama. They also get the best photos from the guide as evident at the end when our trip photos are sent to us all.

Our next stop, Gamat Bay, is the most impressive so far if you ignore the Manta Ray from the first stop. You can see some nice coral here that hasn’t been bleached out. The fish are plentiful. The guide gives me some bread so I have a cheat with the photo moments. I think this is my favorite of the day so far.

The tour advertised online three stops but we have four today. I am getting tired of getting in and out of the boat and the previous stop is good so I think about skipping this stop. In this stop, the Wall, we are told that we swim up to the wall and let the current take us down to view all the good stuff. I decide to go in. Again they did not lie. This is a tie with the third stop of which is best. There is plenty of coral to see as well as colorful fish, with not much physical effort. I am glad I got off the boat.

We head back to shore after this. My only complaint about this tour is the last time I snorkeled in coral areas I not only got some photos of myself but also some photos of interesting fish and coral taken by the underwater photographer. There were no such photos such as these. I would have at least liked photo proof of the manta ray because he was so dang scary and cute at the same time.

When we get to shore our guide meets us along with another gentlemen who I guess is the driver on the island since we didn’t bring a car with us. They take us to a resort for our lunch.

We are directed to a shower to use that looks kind of like a bidet hose and not very sanitary so we all decided to stay drenched in seawater. In retrospect this should have been a red flag. There is a pool nearby and one group of girls jumps in while we wait for our pre-ordered food. It takes a while. My chicken curry comes out with a plate of rice and some raw vegetables. The curry is more like a chicken soup, flavorless, but I eat it anyway. I am smart enough to not eat the raw vegetables but as you will find out later I am not sure it made much of a difference.

We get back in the car and drive for a while. We end up at the viewing area called Kelingking Beach. The beach is actually a 45 minute hike down the stairs but we are not doing that. We are here for the photo opportunity. The place is a madhouse with “models” and tour groups. If you have been following my travels for a few years you will hear me complain constantly about influencers or instagrammers and how they are totally destroying travel. Today we contributed to that just a little bit. If I was on my own I would have taken one look at the crowd and said see ya but our driver was very eager to take us to the best places to take pictures and somehow he knew how to avoid the long lines. I still didn’t like 50% of my photos because I have body image issues but I appreciate what he was trying to do. The only part I didn’t like is when he had us practically running uphill, in our sandals to get to another spot. When we had a moment to enjoy it was a great view though. We made good time because it starts storming as we are leaving. That driver deserves a tip for rushing us.

We then drive down broken road, which is a REALLY broken road, to broken beach. At that location we see the arch from earlier when we were snorkeling. We also see the Angel’s Billabong that is an interesting rock formation. We rest here for a few minutes then start heading back toward the ferry.

We have to hop back into the water to get on the ferry and it is once again very awkward for me. My bottom half gets wet because I am short and clumsy. Also we are fighting the waves while trying to step in onto a swaying ferry. The ferry takes us back to the main land of Bali and then the van back to our retreat.

Swim out to the ferry for us short people

We decide to order dinner out as a group because there is an order minimum anyway. I order a so-so pizza and mango sticky rice. Soon it is bedtime because I am exhausted from the day’s activities. I sleep well … until I don’t. I have some nightmares about high school – very bizarre.

Bali Belly Strikes Again

It is Sunday I don’t set an alarm. The only thing I have scheduled is a 9 am massage today so I do my version of sleeping in. My finger is still weird and I don’t feel the best. It seems like that pizza last night has not agreed with my stomach. It feels a little like a hangover with out the drinking. I bravely try breakfast.

I find it really hard to eat. I know I need to eat but food seems disgusting at this point. I do as well as I can then I excuse myself because I am increasingly nauseous. I walk up the stairs and realize I am not going to make it to my room. I throw up my entire breakfast all over the beautiful lawn of the retreat. Luckily there is a hose there that is used by the surfers. I try to hose away evidence of my mess but it is too much and more is coming so I warn the guys who take care of the facility, apologize and run to my room for more.

I think I have it all out of my system for now. I have no idea what I am doing for lunch but I decide to make my morning massage appointment. There can’t possibly be anything left in my stomach. As the day progresses so does my symptoms. I sleep most of the day and spend a good amount of awake time in the bathroom. I officially have Bali belly. I have had this before last time I was on the island. It is not fun but sometimes it can clear up in a day or so. There is not much I can eat so I try to wait it out.

Hopefully this is a 24 hour thing and I feel better tomorrow.

Diet of champions

Back to Bali

My surf retreat

I am heading to Bali. My arrival is uneventful and I have a car coming to pick me up. No one asks me for proof of vaccination. The world is healed I guess.

My plans for Lombok and the Gillis didn’t work out as planned so I at the last minute I joined a surf and yoga retreat for 8 days in Canggu (pronounced Chawn-gu not can-ju like I keep erroneously saying). I had tried surfing once before in Bali but the way things worked out I only had one real day of surfing and that was not enough. This time I am staying longer where I get 5 days of surfing lessons. Hopefully by the end I’ll be an official surfer right?

The retreat I am at was on my radar years ago when I came to Bali. I didn’t choose it because the fine print of the retreat has some wording about warning if you can’t keep up with the group or something about holding back others from their lessons. I felt like I wasn’t strong enough and I didn’t want to be a burden so I picked another retreat. This time around I am older, in worse shape, and the wording is still there. The difference is I don’t care anymore. I am going to pay my money and try anyway. I still sort of care what people think about me but maybe not as much as I did before.

This trip is for multiple reasons: to work on bucket list travel, get travel out of my system before returning to work, get out of my comfort zone, and heal. Today I had the feeling of being trapped. That is a scary sensation for me. Most of my life I have felt trapped in one way or another: rocky childhood, trapped by my emotions, trapped by family, trapped by marriage, and trapped by work. For probably the first time in my entire life I don’t feel trapped the majority of the time. In the past it may have been valid but now when it comes it is an irrational fear. Today I arrive at my retreat that I hastily booked and I feel trapped. I am far from town and I feel a little trapped at my location, not unlike my experience at my Silent Retreat a couple years ago (Note: I signed up for the Silent retreat again so there will be an update on how that goes).

Anyway it is just anxiety and the fear of the unknown. I am starting surf lessons again tomorrow. I tried once before and I could have done better. Now I am three years older and less in shape so there is a ton of anxiety around the activity. No sense in worrying about it before there is anything to worry about.

Tomorrow I wake up for breakfast at 6:30 for surf lesson at 7. I have a massage booked at 10:45 (part of my package), lunch at 12 and yoga at 4 (also part of my package). I may head into town for dinner. They run one nightly shuttle at 5:45 on weekdays. Unfortunately it is too far to walk to town otherwise I would use that option instead.

Surf lesson 1

5 of us head out to the beach for our surf lessons varying by skill level. Jack Johnson plays while the windows are down. Jack Johnson must be universal surfer music . I am nervous since this is only my second time trying (first time). I have no idea why I never tried surfing when I was younger. Today wasn’t much better than my first attempt. I bail out of the lesson a little early. I didn’t want to kill my shoulders on the first day when I have 4 more days to try. I am pretty good at riding a wave on my knees though. Just need to learn to stand and balance. Today’s lesson started late due to high tide. Luckily I still get back in time for my massage. I think I am going to need it. At this rate I am not going into town tonight. I think snack and early bed time is in order.

Today I am reminded about what I miss now that I no longer stay in hostels. Just to catch you up I am old as can be now, I need good sleep on a regular basis so sharing a room is no longer an option. I need my downtime, I need my alone time. I typically stay in boutique hotels, budget hotels, or any other unique lodging. On a rare occasion I can find a hostel with private rooms I will book it but they tend to be moldy and my sinuses can only handle so much of that. Here at the retreat where I am staying there are good number of women; I guess all lacking the social anxiety that I have so I am meeting lots of nice people. Everyone seems much younger than I but very nice. I’m going to hold off for now telling everyone how old I actually am because at some point do I become the weird old woman? I can’t help that I tend to get involved in activities that young people like to do like this surf retreat. Anyway I’ve already been invited for some weekend snorkeling since we have the weekend off of planned activities. I am hesitant to go but I have to remember there are so many things I don’t do because I’m solo. I should take every opportunity I can to do things with others.

Yoga went better than anticipated. Yes there is lots of sweating and moves I flat out can’t do but that’s normal for me. A good portion of it I could do good enough. I guess I have some muscle memory with yoga. Today is supposed to be the “hard” yoga day. I am glad I got that out of the way.

Tomorrow it looks like I get a solo surf lesson. They are taking me to an easier place. The current and waves are strong where we are today so it takes a good amount of power just to stay out on the water. I am happy that they are chill about my skill level. At the end of all this I may find that surfing is not my thing but I have to give it a try.

Langkawi, Malaysia

While planning my travels I intended to finally visit some islands in Thailand. When it came down to deciding which ones to visit the island of Langkawi kept appearing even though it is in Malaysia. It seemed like a relaxing laid back place to visit that isn’t too far from some of the other destinations I wanted to visit In Malaysia. I decide that I will save visiting the islands in Thailand for when I have a companion (because it is more popular with people in general) and stop in Langkawi instead.

One big thing I sort of missed in Singapore is the famous water fountain at Changi airport. The start and end times of the waterfall did not coincide with either one of my flights. I contemplated going out there separately to see it but I couldn’t get excited about the extra trip out there. I sneak over to Jewel (mall at Changi airport) after I check my bag to see where it happens and I witness small little drips of water coming down. Everything there is closed for at least another hour. Maybe someday I’ll have a long layover here.

Flight is fine. Malaysia air sprayed aerosol into the cabin at the end of the flight though. Is that safer than breathing the air? Fortunately I had my mask on.

I have arrived and only a couple hours in I already wish I would have booked more nights here (like every other place I visit). I am exhausted still from jet lag and Singapore sightseeing (why have I not recovered yet?). All I want to do is eat and nap.

The airport is small. I find an ATM. I did no research on how much spending money I will need in Malaysia. I figure I will take out a little bit of cash to hold me over. My trick when I do no conversion research is to usually choose the button that corresponds to the second to the smallest amount on the ATM screen. This ATM had no such screen and I had to generate the amount myself. I had no idea what to take out. I just take out 50 Malaysian Ringgits. I don’t need funds for the ride to the hotel since I am using the Grab app so I assume that is enough to start. Turns out it isn’t. The hotel needs cash payment for the taxes and a refundable deposit. I end up giving them all I have and a 20 USD to be returned. I need to do another trip to the ATM soon.

One of the big things about this island is it a great place to do some duty free shopping. I am not a big shopper but I can’t resist walking through the duty free shops when I arrive. I end up buying some candy and dried fruit to snack on. I end up being too lazy to go out for breakfast lately so it’s nice to have something to eat on hand.

I stop for pad Thai *way spicer than I’m used to* and a cocktail or two at a restaurant that overlooks the water. I watch all the water sports below. The parasailing looks particularly fun. I am almost tempted to do it. I also want to jump off this restaurant deck into the inviting water with my clothes on and all. Tomorrow I will have to carve out some beach time. Today I am still recovering. I go back to my room and nap. The music out by the water gets increasingly louder as the night gets darker and I get more and more tired. Another thing on my list for tomorrow – to enjoy the nightlife. My hotel room has a water view and it is lovely but I am thinking earplugs will be in order.

Before going to sleep I decide to figure out the ferry service for departing the island. I usually decide how I am going to leave a place before I arrive but I didn’t this time. I’ve been places with ferry services before and it is usually pretty easy to book last minute tickets so I didn’t think it was a big deal. But we are living post covid and things are not normal. Upon researching ferries to book I discover that none I could find are running anymore, at least as of now. I guess my only option is to fly off the island again. I pick Malaysia airlines since they seem to be cheap and decent. The terrible internet keeps timing out, and eventually erroring out. Somewhere in there though I actually successfully purchases a ticket because a ticket ends up in my email. I am surprised I didn’t accidentally book myself multiple seats on this flight. As of now only one ticket appears in my email. The joys of traveling abroad when not every detail is worked out in advance.

The following morning I once again wake up way too early…eventually I’ll be on the correct time zone. I empty out my backpack for use today and I find those pair of pants I thought I left back home. I don’t really need those pants until March but when I need them I’ll really need them. I must think of ways to make more space in my bag. I may have already made a couple of small purchases.

Some days I need breakfast and others I don’t. Today I really need breakfast, besides the kettle in my room is not working so I can’t make my coffee. Not that I think I need coffee anymore but I want it today. The only thing open this early is Mc Donalds down the street so I walk on down. I get a very sugary kopi (Malaysian for coffee) and a sausage biscuit that doesn’t really taste like what we get in the USA. It is good enough so I won’t get hangry while I am off sightseeing this morning.

Sky bridge

Today I am heading to the skybridge that overlooks Langkawi. There is a huge nature preserve here. Arriving early at the skybridge gives me a couple advantages. One of which was absolutely no lines which is nice. Also it’s not that hot yet. Furthermore they did not do a bag check on me so I was able to bring my water on the cable car. On my way out I see people disposing all their liquids from their bags. You are at the mercy of what you can purchase up top. Come to think of it I don’t really remember a place to purchase drinks. I would die of dehydration.

I am enjoying the cool breeze. I enjoy the nature and the sounds of nature. There is peacefulness viewing it all from above. It’s beautiful.

After my visit to the skybridge I wander around the village which is probably seen better days, but you can tell since tourism is ramping up that they’re making improvements.

After my skybridge visit I take a grab back to town (Pentai Cenang). I plan to eat lunch and do a little shopping. I can’t buy too much but I do have a couple things I wouldn’t mind adding to my wardrobe and I wouldn’t mind making room for them by getting rid of other things in my backpack. I eventually settle on a shirt I know I will wear at a music festival in March and a soccer jersey that is hard to resist at 9 USD.

For lunch I stop at the local Bella restaurant which seems to be a popular lunch spot. I try the chicken and rice here which is served in a different style than I had in Singapore. It is a satisfying lunch that is good for a stomach that has been a little unsettled this morning (The water is supposed to be safe for consumption here. I haven’t been drinking it but I haven’t been as careful with it as I could be when I am traveling. My digestive system might be reacting to the local bacteria. I’ll be back to normal in another day or so. This is not my first travel rodeo).

While shopping my feet start bothering me. To be honest everything has been bothering me since I’ve started traveling but this is my normal life now and I just deal with discomfort most of the time or treat parts with biofreeze or topical pain cream. I’ve been meaning to pop in for a massage. This is the perfect time since my only other plan is to go to the beach and I don’t really have to go to the water (growing up around beaches most of my life make hanging on the beach not a high priority activity). I missed this about traveling around south East Asia. Massages are so affordable here. I decide on a foot reflexology plus leg, neck and shoulders combo. The neck and shoulders combo is relaxing. The foot and leg massage is very painful and this is coming from someone who views massages that aren’t painful as a waste of time. I deal with the pain because my body needs a good massage. This is no relaxing massage. Imagine stubbing a toe. Then imagine stubbing all your toes. Then imagine this happening multiple times. This is how my foot massage feels. Hopefully at $24 USD this fixes me though.

I realize tonight that the late night music and dj is actual the fire show. It is long and goes late. Thank goodness for earplugs. I walk by and watch it for a little while. I then decide to get a drink and an appetizer and watch the sunset. A guitar guy plays covers and I watch a kitten wander around the front of the restaurant like she owns the place. Today has certainly been full of kittens. Must be kitten season here.

Later on I attempt to shop again and end up at the night food market. It is busy and everything looks interesting and/or good. Unfortunately I am too full from my appetizer and cocktail so I pass. There will be more street food later, this is just my start to Malaysia.

I do take back a pandan roll to my room to eat later since not finding the pandan dessert earlier in my travels was an itch I never did scratch. Now I am satisfied. And overly full. No travel planning is happening tonight. I can’t stay awake and the internet is terrible here….you think I would be used to the terrible internet episodes from my past travels but it always takes me by surprise. For instance I am going to have to call the airport in the morning to make sure I am actually on the flight I think I am on today. I have a confirmation email and can see the reservation when I look online but I am unable to check into the flight and I never actually got a confirmation screen when I booked it (But I am also charged twice for it). The joys of traveling. I am arriving three hours early for a domestic flight to figure all this out.

Two charges. Two different amounts because the price did change in between my errors.

Abel Tasman and One of those days

Abel Tasman

This morning before starting another long drive I try to check the oil on my campervan after reading in the lease agreement that is something I should be periodically doing. The problem is I can’t find the engine. I’ve never owned or even driven a vehicle like this before. When I open the front hood it is all nonsense inside. Finally I ask a stranger at a gas station. He tells me he isn’t really familiar with the van but he thinks the engine is under the passenger seat. What?!?

Sure enough it is.

Looky there

After checking I am back on the road but I make a pit stop at a park where I read about my favorite bugs (sarcasm).

Apparently I am the filet mignon of humans

I am heading to the north coast and my destination is Abel Tasman. I have a reservation for two nights at a campervan site near the water.

Abel Tasman at low tide

The drive to Abel Tasman is twice as long as the estimate is. Once again I did not sleep well in my van last night so I am tired. Also it is really stressful driving on the steep winding roads heading into the Abel Tasman National Park; traffic is bad and cars ride my tail. I normally pull over to let faster cars pass but there is no shoulder for me to safely pull over. To top it all off I can’t find a place to buy gas that will accept my credit card and I am running really low on gasoline. I stop at a gas station one after another, each spaced far apart, and none of them are able to accept my credit card. I am almost at my campsite and when I discover the gas station nearby will not work as well so I have a mini panic attack.

I know a panic attack about finding gas sounds silly but I am pretty worn down and stressed out at this point. I turn around and end up driving to another town to find a gas station; thank goodness my van made it. This gas station has an attendant where I can make my purchase. I buy gas and three candy bars because I can’t decide if I want crisped rice chocolate, almond chocolate, or chocolate with peanuts so I just buy them all. Isn’t that what you do when you have a panic attack?

I decide that tonight would be a good time to spend some money on a hotel room. I just imagine getting to a crowded campsite with a bunch of screaming kids and end up getting into an argument with another traveler being very inconsiderate (something that tends to happen at these campsites time to time).

So that’s how I end up at a motel tonight. Hopefully I get a good nights rest and I am up for a hike because I’ve been looking forward to a day hike, I just wasn’t looking forward or expecting the crowds. But it is Monday so maybe it won’t be quite as bad tomorrow.

For tonight I have my candy bars ready and decide to go for some delicious veggie pizza at Sprig & Fern Motueka. It is really great veggie pizza. You can tell the vegetables are cooked fresh. Pizza and chocolate makes the world better, right?

Abel Tasman

Today I am doing a hike at Abel Tasman National Park. I wasted a day yesterday so I can’t do as long of a hike as I originally anticipated doing.

Abel Tasman National Park is named after a Dutch settler who had a battle with the local residents. Settlers eventually destroyed the area for logging, etc. They also tricked the native population into giving up their land.

In the mid 1900’s the land was preserved and turned into a park. Now it is a beautiful haven for day hikers, campers, and kayakers. One can spend days hiking from location to location while staying at different campsites.

I am only prepared for day hikes and fortunately there is a water shuttle to assist in that.

Waiting for my water shuttle:

My plan today is to take the shuttle from Kaiteriteri beach to get dropped off at Anchorage and hike back part of the Abel Tasman Coast Track to pick up the return shuttle at Apple Tree Bay. I have the option of walking all the way back to my car if I am feeling real adventurous. This shuttle ride only goes half-way into the park. I could could go further and see other interesting walks; some only available at low tide. I chose the one I did because it seems easily doable by me and I don’t quite trust the New Zealand track rating system; Kiwis tend to be in way better shape than I.

Taking off to Anchorage:

Split apple rock

I have arrived at Anchorage. Upon arrival I see the overnight camp site. Being intrigued I peak in the dorm. There is a nice dorm area to take coverage in overnight. No technology but at least not left out in the elements. I am happy to use the composting toilet before I begin my hike.

Dorm bed building

I start off the hike confused because the directional sign points in the opposite direction from where I believe the trail should start. I guess it is ok because the trail starts by going uphill and across the peninsula and heads back the correct way.

As I walk up the trail I hear lots of bugs. They are very loud but fortunately they all leave me alone.

The first part of the trail is mostly uphill but is well covered by the trees. Soon the trail opens up to a great view. It is warmer up here but at least I can see the water below.

Looking back down the way I came
Looking down at Torrent Bay

It is warm but not too warm, almost perfect for hiking.

I keep track of all the directional signs to ensure I am still going the correct way.

If I want to make it back to my car I am looking at least 11 km walk.
They have the pine issue here as well.
I am getting close to water again

I stop at a pretty beach on Akersten Bay to take a break and eat my sandwich. Hikers can camp on this beach for the night. The trail to get down to the beach is a little steep, unstable and at the end I need to hop over a cute little stream.

Again the sign is pointing in the opposite direction for which I think it should.
But the beach is still on my left so I am good.
At Apple Tree Bay. Do I want to hike another 2.5 hours to my car?

I finally reach the beach where the shuttle will pick me up, Apple Tree Bay. It is only 5.5km or so to walk back to my car. I consider it while I rest on the beach. There are very few people on this beach. I watch a family with their kayaks stop here to rest.

I decide to go ahead and take the shuttle back. It is a nice ride back.

Abel Tasman is beautiful and peaceful (except the main beach on the weekend). I could spend a week here camping, hiking and kayaking. One more thing to love about New Zealand.