Cape Kidnappers, Local, Wednesday 12 September, 2018.
Now we have your attention, let’s tell you about our walk to Cape Kidnappers. Our scheduled trip to The Hogget, off the Napier Taihape Road west of the Kaweka Range, was cancelled. The Hawke’s Bay weather over the previous 10 days had been appalling, with 300 mm of rain in the hills and snow flurries on the Taihape Road. This suggested we should set our sights on a place more local, away from the hills and at sea level.
Cape Kidnappers was the obvious choice, but a late low tide meant a leisurely mid-morning start with a coffee at the Clifton Cafe. Club members should not assume this sets a precedent for future hikes. Remember, we are hard and like to do it tough. The normal 7.30 starts will continue.The weather was beautifully fine with a slow southerly flow to clear the air. Views inland toward the mountains were spectacular with snow-covered ranges and Mt Ruapehu all in sharp focus and silhouetted against a rich blue sky. We were reminded that New Zealand really is the best country in the world to live.
Most in the group had previously walked this coast at the foot of the eroding cliffs with their dramatic geological strata and tilting. This time, two panels of predator-proof fence could be seen hanging in mid-air high on the clifftop, their foundations collapsed and claimed by the ocean from recent storms.We were greeted by a young seal along the way. He was pleased to see us, smiled and posed for photographs.
The gannet colony was a wonderful example of nature in action. The birds were established as couples on their half-square metre nesting sites on a platform high above the ocean.Returning birds gave us a magnificent aerial display as they circled and glided over our heads, aiming for a landing spot next to their partner guarding the nest site. Many carried bundles of seaweed nest-building material.
I could see a glint in the eye of the descending gannets, if they had a good load of soft seaweed to present. They would be greeted with passionate kisses and all sorts of coy flirting, quickly followed by the final act. There is a lesson here for us humans. Our club has a number of single males (quite a few, actually). Guys, all it takes is a bunch of seaweed. Instant results. No need for chatting. Summer down at the beach must be looking good.
The walk back was pleasant and easy, with the tide well out. We said goodbye to Mandy as she cycled off into the distance; she will be heading up north to live and I’m sure this tramp will leave her with fond memories of our club.
Trampers: Simon Hill, Sue Marshall, Gordon Tapp, Alison Greer, Denise Payne, Vic Bullock, Lynette Morgan, Tony Pluymers, Robyn Smith and Barry Ridler, Geoff Donkin, Mandy Cunningham and reporter Bruce Hodgson