Exploring the Earth and Sky of the West

To the beach!

There are good and bad things about having no class on Wednesdays.  The good part is that I don’t have class on Wednesday’s which gives me a full free day in the middle of the week to go do and see things relatively close to Dunedin (homework? what homework?).  The bad part is that I seem to be the only person that ended up with no classes on Wednesdays and people don’t seem too keen on skipping class during the first week of the semester. This past Wednesday was perfectly sunny and 23 degrees (that’s in Celsius and if you don’t know how to convert it, you should.  Go do it and then come back…) which means I didn’t exactly feel like sitting around all day so I decided to explore. This is where I went:

Pretty sweet, especially considering it took me less than an hour of bus rides and walking to get there. No offense to Eastern Washington, but it sure as heck beats anything within an hour of Walla Walla.  It’s called Tunnel Beach and the tunnel down to the beach was built in the 1870’s.  A local wealthy bigwig, John Cargill, had it built so his family could have easy access to the otherwise inaccessible (without ropes at least) beach at the base of the cliffs.  I’ve been told by several people that Cargill’s daughter died in the waters here but I have been unable to substantiate these claims so I’m leaning towards thinking that this is a load of crap (That’s right Tara, I said “crap” again.  Be happy it wasn’t in the title this time.)  I didn’t get very far onto the beach because I didn’t feel like getting pinned against the rocks by a tide that was coming in at a rate that I was not aware tides were capable of obtaining.  On account of the 50+ mph winds, the waves crashing ashore were by far the largest I have ever seen, although having lived in a desert my entire life, this is probably a pretty worthless statement.

Sea Arch at Tunnel Beach

The “tunnel” of Tunnel Beach

The sign at the top told me that the walk back up to the trailhead from the beach would take 40 minutes.  Given that I made it back up in 11 minutes, I think I can safely say I would have hit their time estimate even had I suffered a mid-shaft femur fracture en route but I was still quite hungry after getting back to town.  Fortunately, I ran into the Bacon Buttie truck once again on the way back to my flat.  My current theory is that they managed to implant a small radio transmitter that monitors my hunger level inside the first one they sold me because it sure feels like they appear out of nowhere in the most random places whenever I am most famished.  I have received a few complaints that I have not yet posted a picture of the modern wonder of the world that is the Bacon Buttie so I aim to remedy that right now:

If that doesn’t make you want to abandon vegetarianism, I don’t know what will.  Anyways, that’s it till next week.  I am embracing my inner tourist this weekend and going to Milford Sound (which, for those of you who are geologically inclined, is actually a fjord and not a true sound) which is the most popular attraction in New Zealand and has apparently been voted the “world’s best travel destination” for the past several years.  So that should be fun…or a nightmare depending on how many other people had the exact same idea for this weekend.

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