Kaitorete Spit Camp – The Case of the Disappearing Dog

“A Mish a Day” #160 Kaitorete Spit Camp. Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. 25.7.2018. The 25km barren but beautiful stretch of land that runs from Birdlings Flat to the outlet of Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere is Kaitorete Spit. Starting wide, the land narrows to less than one hundred metres near the outlet for the lake, and this was where I was heading for a unique both seaside and lakeside camp.

After turning off highway 75 I followed the road that leads through the Kaitorete farm to a point near the large natural pyramid of sand near the outlet of Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere and parked up. I had two of my furry friends with me, and together we searched for a perfect camping spot in the sand dunes, with a view of the lake and also the ocean. I didn’t have to go far before I found a sheltered spot with the desired view, and I began to set up the tent as the dogs selfishly played and didn’t offer to help with camp set up at all. From here I could also see the mountains of Canterbury rising up out of the plains, creating a snow-capped skyline in the west to watch the sun disappear behind. To fill in time before the sun put on its once-a-day show at dusk, I headed down to the beach to collect wood, and take in the ocean side of the campsite. The beach is constantly pounded by the heavy waves of Canterbury Bight being pushed into Banks Peninsular and the spit by the mighty Southern Ocean, and is not the place to take a ‘quick dip’. Just beyond the brutal waves I watched two small Hectors Dolphins slowly cruise through the calmer water, and I have twenty photos of water and blurred fins to prove it! After returning to camp I noticed I was one dog down, my sister’s dog Casper had vanished. Not part of the plan and now a problem to solve. My sunset time was now spent searching for the dog, and occasionally pausing to take in the incredible dusk atmosphere. I guess it was some bonus exercise for the day. As night set in I had to return to camp down a crew member, and resume the search at first light. As Casper was usually a dog that wouldn’t go on random wanders, I had a fairly restless sleep that night.

Last of the sun at Kaitorete

An early-ish start the next day had Dennis the dog and I up looking for a grand total of five minutes, as Casper appeared from under a bush about a hundred metres or so from my camp with one call of his name! The silly little fella had chosen to tough it out on his own that night for reasons we will never know! Reunited we all returned back to camp for breakfast, and then once again with no assistance from my K9 friends I packed up the campsite.

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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