The Heaphy Track boasts the wild expanses of the western beaches but there are narrow passes along those routes where one should be respectful, observant and fleet of foot. The Crayfish Beds come to mind.
After a very brief overview, I opted for the high-tide track as dragging my bike across a slippery, jagged rock-face felt safer than crossing wet stones under threat of washout. It was a 2.9, way off the king 3.5 tide but swollen from the rapids and roaring from the wind.
I sat for a while and attempted to read the sea. I once heard that every seventh wave is a washout and, using this theory, I tried to get into the sea's rhythm to see when that seventh might be. As it raged in my face I could see neither rhythm or rhyme.
As long as the waves are breaking a good 50 feet away, I figured, and there is no sign of anything major brewing off shore, then that was a good a time as any to head off again. I had a short, blind corner to cross and I went for it. For a few brief steps, the track narrows into a bottle neck of sea and rock. Just then, the sea throws up the 'seventh wave' and I just dropped the bike and ran.
Safety wasn't far away. Two steps in fact. The wave washed up to where my bike lay but was nowhere near the impact I had imagined. Further up the track, sea foam was splattered a good seven feet up the bluff face. Thankfully, I missed that demonstration.
So, if by some unfortunate co-incidence, you find yourself and Crayfish Point on a high tide and having to keep going to meet a schedule, you had better be prepared to get wet to the helmet. Otherwise, relax, and take in the magic of the sea.
|The Crayfish beds on the way home with plenty of room to pass|