It was not long, until things began to fall apart. Read about the issues on the road.
What happened before the issues…
As you can read in my previous post, I have just left Wellington for the South Island of New Zealand. The goal was to visit some Fish&Game councils en route to capture footage and photographs for/with them. Given I was visiting the South Island in July (their winter), I expected the weather to be even more unsettled than during summer and much colder. Truth to be told, it was a very mild winter. Moreover, I was very lucky that all mountain passes I had to take closed after my drive. The weather seemed to be on my side (mostly…). Nonetheless, this did not prevent me from other issues.
Things that fell apart/got lost/went wrong
Well, there was not only one item which failed, but several of them. Some got lost, others fell apart or broke, and other stuff just went wrong too. Here is a list of some issues I had along the way.
I rented a car in Auckland and drove all the way down to Wellington. Then the ferry carried me to Picton (South Island) and I continued the journey towards Invercargill, via Karamea on the West Coast. On the way down, the engine lamp started flashing while crossing the mountain pass from Wanaka to Queenstown. Given I made a stop there anyway for another repair, I contacted Apex rental. Instead of fixing my Toyota Yaris, they exchanged it for a Corolla. The Yaris was too small to sleep in anyway. But wait, why did I not use my tent to sleep?
MSR Freelite 2 Tent
From Picton I drove towards Karamea and camped for two nights in Mokihinui. A wonderful area, I have not visited previously. Apart from stunningly beautiful rivers, there are not only magnificent lime caves nearby, but also a shipwreck on the beach. This shipwreck, the fact that it was new moon, and the absence of any light pollution towards south west, was an opportunity for astrophotography not to be missed.
On the day of departure, I packed the tent in the dark. It was very windy, and I had to secure the tent with side lines during the night. When I undid them, a strong gust pushed down the tent sideways and an awkward cracking sound shook me to the core. The pole of the MSR Freelite 2 broke.*
From this moment onwards, I visited every outdoor shop along the way. From Greymouth, to Wanaka, Queenstown, and Invercargill. It was not until the last stop that I was able to receive replacement, although other shops did their best to assist me.
On the way down, I tried bivouacking with the tarp and the groundsheet of the tent. Yet, the humid and windy conditions at Fox Glacier lead me to spend awful nights in the car. Back then I still used a Toyota Yaris, which was a pain in the… neck. Moreover, during my search for replacement other things figuratively fell apart.
Samsung S7 phone
While looking for replacement in Greymouth, I put my phone into the belly pocket of my sweater. My gut feeling told me for a second that many things had fallen out of it in the past, but I was too lazy to take the hint seriously. Inevitably, my gut feeling was validated once again. Even though my phone had survived countless falls with only scratches, the kiwi asphalt proved to be an unfair opponent. The screen was cracked.
It was not the fact that my phone broke, but rather my laziness to put stuff away properly that annoyed me. Unavoidably, this issue reminded me of the golden rules Philippe and I had established on our treks:
Put everything in the same place when it is not in use.
Always close every compartment – always.
Some zipper failures occurred such as on the soap bag and the packing sac. My jeans tore between my legs while wading. The Zoom H5 audio recorder seems to have a problem with the stereo capsule. Moreover, I lost my beloved blue Buff, which I had bought back in 2015 – in New Zealand. Another quite disturbing issue was that I accidentally threw an USB adapter from my drone into the rubbish bin… Don’t ask…
As you can see, many things did not work out as planned. Nonetheless, my way down South provided me with many new and known sights. Even though I had many issues, I was reminded of a wonderful saying: The more you own, the more it owns you. So, I tried my best to look at the bright side and NZ did a great job in distracting me from worrying about these little incidents.
* The pole was replaced by MSR to no surcharge except for the postage.