Hunters and Gatherers – Autumn on the Otago Peninsula

It’s a day after the full moon and the tide is the lowest it gets, 0.0 metres, so we decide to spend a night at the bach at Harington Point on the Otago Peninsula and get some cockles.

The tide is so low we can walk almost to the channel but the biggest cockles are buried in the sand nearer to the beach.  We get what we need, drive to the bach and unload the van then I can’t resist the chance to have a scavenge on the exposed sand beside the sea wall.  I find one of my favourite beach combing treasures – a chiton with blue on its underside.

Later when I spend a couple of hours picking blackberries I manage to find two pounds of perfect ones and notice that more will be ready in the next few weeks.  So now the fingers on my right hand have broken nails from pulling the cockles from the sand and purple staining from the blackberry juice.

A large yacht with an Australian flag is anchored in the bay and a couple of ships come and go with the Pilot boat full of purpose in pursuit.  One day we hope to be on one of those cargo ships.

View from the Bach, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand
View from the Bach

That night we have cockle fritters for dinner and I freeze the blackberries to make a shortcake a few days later.

Driving home next day John notices a sea lion just off shore at Weller’s Rock and we stop for a closer look.  He’s got an octopus in his mouth and he’s thrashing it around and slapping it on the water.  It’s so shallow it’s almost like he’s standing on the bottom.  A guy who stops to have a look tells me it’s the lowest tide he’s seen here in fifty years.  The sea lion swallows some of his meal then continues with his leisurely flailing.

Sea Lion with Octopus, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand
Sea Lion with Octopus

Back in town a bellbird is feeding on the red flowered bottle brush.  We saw and stack firewood then light a fire for the evening.

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