It’s been a foul day. We’re staying at Okarito and were meant to be taking a boat trip out into the adjacent lagoon in search of the Great White Heron and other speciality birds. It should have been a great trip, plenty to see, loads of great stuff to photograph and write about.
But it’s been raining torrentially for 36 hours, it’s perishingly cold and the visibility is rotten. Venturing out on to the lagoon in an open top boat in these conditions would have been madness, so we chickened out. Call us wimps if you wish but we are, at least, toasty warm wimps.
Thankfully the cottage in which we’re staying is luxurious, and has a good internet connection which has allowed us to listen all day to Classic FM. No, we didn’t come to New Zealand with the intention of listening to British radio, but at times like this one hankers after a few home comforts.
And good food, too. Luckily part of the deal for this place is that a lady from one of the nearby cottages cooks us slap-up meals every few hours, so at least we’re being well fed.
As the day passes we glance outside and gauge the impact of the deluge. Directly outside the window is a large open space – a bit like an English village green – and as the rain has bucketed down it has become waterlogged. Puddles are growing larger and larger, and threaten to merge into New Zealand’s very own Lake Superior.
A couple of intrepid Paradise Shelducks are untroubled by this deluge of biblical proportions, and have taken a liking to the lake that grows hour by hour outside our cottage. It is, as they say, good weather for ducks
The Paradise Shelducks are in their element, but we’re not. As Mrs P and I reflect on the disappointment of this morning’s abandoned birdwatching trip the only words to describe our experience are “paradise lost.”