Coming around the corner the slot I was following in the rock was getting narrow – I could climb up and over the next boulder, but whether that would end up anywhere useful was unclear. The dog looked at me uncertainly, was I coming or not? The adult part of brain pointed out that my knees were stuffed, my shoulders only just fixed, and if I fell here no one would know where I was.
I put a foot up on the toe hold and heard my knee graunch as it straightened – but it didn’t hurt or give away, another two steps and I was at the top. Down the other side was going to take me back to the sea, climbing higher seemed dodgy.
Down to the sea we went, the sharp and jagged argillite gave way to a wave-rounded smooth sandstone step over which the waves were breaking. Buddy was keen to jump in, he was hot and wanted a swim. I called him back, worried that there would be a wave surge that would take him, and dash his small body against the rocks. I know about the unpredictability of wave patterns around rocky outcrops, I’d grown up doing this on another beach. At 10 I was fearless, exploring rock coves around Karaka Bay; a mumble number of years later I was more cautious in Titahi Bay!
Instead I joined him on the rock, and dangled my feet over the edge. No drag, seemed like the easiest way around , I slipped in and waded, up to my waist, to look around the corner. Buddy looked on, concerned.
Around the corner, I could see a way back to the next bay. It was rough under-foot though , so after a couple of slips – I just started swimming. There was a small splash behind me and Buddy gently landed on my shoulders with his front two paws, and came along for the ride.
Yes, I voluntarily got into the water, in Wellington, without a wetsuit, and didn’t suffer hypothermia!
Scrambling over rocks took us to the beach in front of our house. We may be seaside, but we are in no danger from Tsunamis – it’s a good 30m drop down from the road. I could see the two access tracks we’d seen people using, and I could see that one was inside my comfort-zone. Not vertical, near the top, as the other one was, this one zigged up a narrow, but well-worn track.
Buddy yelped at me to help with the small log he’d decided to retrieve from the beach. No way, mate, find your own way up, so he did, carrying the small log with him.
At the top I punched the air and whooped. Seriously, I hadn’t rock scrambled like this, since I was a geologist in British Columbia, 30 years ago! I was slow, and inelegant, but I’d done it!
And no, the pictures aren’t from today, I don’t have an underwater camera!