Just before the beach I came across Barnaby and Laura. Barnaby said there was some nasty weather coming through and when I got to the top of the dunes I could see the dark clouds he was talking about. The storm seemed to be coming up from the south so I figured I had a bit of time before it hit and hopefully could make the end of the first beach. I started off at a good pace and when I got to the first crossing it was only an inch or so deep. Hit first headland, raincoat on, and just as I started up the front hit. Rain, fierce winds and exposed headland. Had to take my glasses off because I couldn't see with them on, wasn't much better without them! Down the other side and I got a little bit of a reprieve in the pine forest, before back on the beach to be buffeted about by the wind again. It is suprisingly exhausting walking in the wind (even if it's not a head wind). It's like the wind steals your breath away. 5km down the next beach the next crossing was ankle deep - all good so far but I was getting tired and I was losing firm sand to walk on.
I was running out of mojo and the last crossing seemed to take an age to get to. I passed some people on horseback and then had to work to pick a path of firmer sand in between where the horses had been.
I finally got to the Pakiri River and thankfully the tide hadn't quite tipped over the lip of the beach - only thigh deep for me.
Auckland prices at the campground, but got a cabin anyway. The cabin didn't have much, but it did have a little fan heater so we used it to dry our shoes and all our dripping gear.
Alex's scary bedtime story about our next day's track had been playing on my mind. It was going to be a nightmare in this weather and given that I am so slow, it was going to be a neverending nightmare for me. I made the call to skip it and promptly beat myself up about making that decision. Decision was made though and plan was to get a lift past 'Danger of falling Pigeon' zone to Dome Cafe where I would walk out from.