We woke to a sad, overcast morning in Okartio. Unfortunately, some elderly whitebait fisherman had been in a dangerous spot right at the mouth of the river and had been swept out to sea by a change in tide. We learnt that a couple of guys had gone out to rescue them, including a 76 year old man. The two men were eventually pulled into lifeboats but then they couldn't find the older man who had gone in to help. The helicopters flew around the area but still couldn't find him. It was a really shocking reminder of how powerful the sea can be and how much respect it commands. We hope that he was found.
We continued North up Highway 6 towards Hokitika
. We had a lunch stop at Lake Mahinapua and decided against it as our campsite for the evening. It was a nice lake but a huge site that didn't really have much going for it. Instead, we drove into the centre of Hokitika to check out what 'the hub of the West Coast' had to offer, purchasing a dozen free range eggs from a little old lady on the way. We bypassed the Sock Shop and Museum and the Milk Factory in favour of New World supermarket to stock up on supplies. We then decided to drive past Gavin's house, the guy we met during our lunch stop on The Copland Track, just in case he happened to be in. As it turned out he was outside mowing his front lawn with his awesome son Martin sitting on his shoulders. He immediately recognised us and introduced us to his whole family. We had a cup of tea and some choccie biscuits whilst looking over our road map and Gavin suggested some places for us to visit on our way through to Blenheim. He also told us that Lake Kaniere, which was only a short distance from his house, would be a good place to set up camp for the evening. We took him up on it and drove out to find the gorgeous lake. Tom whipped up another delicious meal of sticky pork with rice from his new Woman's Weekly Wok Book that Lizzie had given him for his birthday. An Englishman called Colin came over and chatted with us for a bit. He was wearing a kilt and a Belfry Polo shirt so must've had Scottish connections somewhere along the line. He sounded like a Geordie to me though. He was heading South with his wife, the way we had just come, so we exchanged some good places to visit etc. in true Kiwi spirit. We went up to bed just as the sky was beginning to bruise.