This is the third part in Lisa's adventure guide. If you missed the beginning then here it is from the start :-)
Well, five days without a shower! I had now lost all of my beauty routine and had gone from a little make up to just mascara and stopped worrying about my cleanliness and washing my hair. In fact, my hair had never looked so good. It went curly and wild and I just stopped combing it. People pay lots of money to get their hair like that.
Paul then announced we could hit the town, go to a gig put on by some friends of his and party. AAAH! "I need a shower" was my response. Unfortunately for us, we set off late, the spa where we were going had closed and the campground took one look at Paul and turned him away! "You ask next time", he told me.
We were going to be late for the party, so I just shrugged it all off, said what the heck and got changed in the Red Herring. For some reason, it didn't occur to me that unless people were really drunk, they would avoid us, looking and smelling the way we did.
If I thought the scenery was good before, I had made a big mistake. We travelled down the West Coast and took in some of the most beautiful coastal scenes I could possibly imagine. It was all very impressive. I can't find the right words to describe it. The sea, the cliffs, the surrounding forests. Amazing!
There were more people around. We had hooked up with Camo-Guy and Antonio the night before to do a spot of night fishing for Kahawai and now we were doing the touristy bit. On top of all that, it was already my birthday (one advantage of being in New Zealand, my birthday seemed to last forever). I enjoyed the day immensely, before heading off to another one of Paul's favourite spots to camp and celebrate.
You will have seen the photos by now. (There is no way that Paul would have missed out on the opportunity to post them). It was all Camo-Guy's idea! This is what they do in New Zealand apparently. I had never heard of a Tim-Tam but Guy had bought two packets especially for the occasion and a bottle of New Zealand whiskey. He kindly demonstrated how it worked, to my astonishment. Can you imagine a whiskey soaked chocolate biscuit? An acquired taste, I assure you. And the ritual that went with it was even more bizarre. It consisted of a special way of biting the ends of the Tim-Tam and drinking the whiskey through the biscuit, to then be in the delightful position of eating both the biscuit (which is strong) and drinking the whiskey (which is a lot). Hmmm! Need I say more? It was a lot of fun and Guy cheerfully managed to eat a few (won't mention any numbers here), in order to show Paul, Antonio and myself, how it was done!
Lesson number six: Be warned, Paul has some very amusing friends and you have to go with the flow. Be prepared to do things you have never done before!
"We should meet up with Garry, he is travelling around with a friend and you will like him". I'd met Camo-Guy, now it was time to meet the one and only "underpant coffee - it is very nutty" Garry.
It is amusing that although New Zealand isn't a huge country and we were concentrating on the South Island, we seemed to be driving a hell of a lot of the time. I suppose I got a whirlwind tour in the three weeks I was there and there were so many beautiful places to see, all Pauls' favourite spots. We were off once again, texting Garry on his mobile phone back and forth to try and find out where he was going to camp the night. Ever tried looking for a camper van at night in the pouring rain, along a track which seems to go on for miles? Well, we searched and searched, headlights directed at anything that remotely resembled a van from a distance and eventually gave up and found a spot to camp. Although we had a mobile phone, the favourite fishing spots tended always to be out of reception. Hence, the amount of journeys back and forth, past mountain ranges just to be able to contact someone.
One day later, we finally met up in the early evening to fish a river. There he was: Garry! With just this amazing amount of hair! What a contrast that was, Paul with none and Garry looking like a mixture between Father Christmas and a prehistoric man. Then followed a mad rush, brief introductions, a quick change into wading boots and off down a track, over a bridge and through the bush to a spot where we could wade to an island and catch loads of fish. We would see and catch lots of fish here, I was assured.
Garry's friend Bronwyn (also a fly fishing beginner) and I found ourselves nearly jogging to keep up with the men as they rushed to the river, hoping not to miss the evening rise. We got there and I couldn't believe my eyes. Although it was dusk, I could make out plenty of fish rising. What an amazing sight! Paul waited for me to set up and got his camera ready. And then… I completely messed up! Got tangled straight away and couldn't cast for peanuts. I started to panic a little then. "Paul had to witness me catch a fish. That is why we were here", I kept thinking. Why was I being such a complete idiot? Suddenly a conversation I'd had with Sean came back to me, about when you want it to happen, it just doesn't work. I could really understand him now. Thanks Sean!
I think it was the first time I stopped smiling. I was really annoyed with myself. I told Paul to catch the fish while I took a moment to compose myself. Of course, first cast and he got one and I decided in the meantime that I just had to keep going and keep calm. Nerves of steel. The fish were continuing to rise but it was slowing down. Garry and Bronwyn were having fun further down the riverbank and on one of my last attempts I managed to get a strike. I started to bring in the fish but it began jumping around crazily and managed to unhook itself. Well, "the one that got away" experience. We headed back slowly after that, as it was dark, cold and, of course, it had started to rain. I must admit I was feeling a bit dismal, starting to think that I may actually be a complete failure and that all the hard work was nowhere near good enough to make me into a good fly fisher. Just think about it: casting lessons from one of the best instructors there is, being taken to amazing places where the fish are just asking to be caught and I just couldn't get it to work! Was I wasting my time?
Hair, which as I found out was Garry's rather appropriate nickname, can play guitar. He plays in a band and while Paul was rustling up one of his speciality chillis, Garry started to entertain us. He had some seriously hilarious songs and sitting around the campfire, eating, drinking, telling stories, listening to the funny songs (one had us all in stitches, something about seal's fur) made me realise that it is not just about the fishing. Yes, of course the fishing is exciting but the campfire bit is great fun! Getting to know one another, everyone just being themselves with no worries apart from the, "will we have enough alcohol to last the night?"
Garry and Bronwyn obviously love this life, as they were experts at making a real blazing fire and Garry spends most of his time, like Paul, living to travel and fish. They were doing all the New Zealand sightseeing stuff (being Tasmanians) and we were off to disappear into the bush for a few days but we agreed we would like to meet up again in a few days time.
Ferry into the wilderness
We set the alarms on our phones for a ridiculously early time (like 8 or 9am). Yes, most people are up and maybe working by then. Not in Paul's world. There was a moment of madness, where Paul decided we wouldn't make the ferry in time, which we had reserved, unless we left that minute. He set about packing the tent and I packed up everything else and we were flying in the red herring. We hardly said a word, just got on with it and eventually grabbed two coffees from a petrol station. Dressed in camo gear and looking half asleep we got to the ferry on time and sat down relieved, drinking our energy drinks and slowly coming round. The ferry was filling up nicely with tourists and we must have looked a very odd sight.
The one-hour trip was lovely but I was too tired from all the late campfire nights to really appreciate it and after a while Paul and I sat there, out on deck, talking.
Lesson number seven: Paul is definitely not a morning person. Don't organise anything before noon, if you want his attention and cooperation. And make sure you have either juice, coffee or an energy drink at the ready.
"Loopy" Lisa firstname.lastname@example.org is Sexyloops' Superwoman has been flyfishing for just over a year. In that time she's fished Devon (one fish), Spain (nada de nada), Germany and most recently New Zealand. She has a unique approach to fishing, life and Tim Tams.