Day #32: Back to the real world

I’m back from my Holiday (yes, with H) in New Zealand, and realized that, one month was not enough. :) I had really good time and I’ve enjoyed the nature as never before. In three words:

Best Holiday Ever

I didn’t have the opportunity or the tools to write about my travel, I will add some post retroactively, and I will linked them here:

Stay tuned!

Days #6, #7, #8, #9: Abel Tasman costal track

The long waited day has come, we finally approaches to the first hiking excursion of the vacation: the Abel Tasman costal track. Situated at north at the Abel Tasman National Park, this track is a mixture of small hills, groves with sea vegetation, beaches along the stunning crystalline clear water of the Tasman Ocean.

Abel Tasman coastal track profile

Fate or coincidence, Abel Tasman was a Dutch seaman and explorer that first discover Tasmania and Fiji. He reach also New Zealand (as usual by mistake) but could not enter in contact with the local population. He and he’s crew was beaten several time by Maori population. The now called Golden bay, was named by him in fact murdered bay because of the skirmish happened once he was there.

The Abel Tasman track is long about 55 km and can be walked by non experience people, the whole are is surrounded by different activities, like kayaking, boat discovering, diving, snorkeling and so on.

While making the plan we had to consider a particular constraint that is quite interesting, about at the middle of the track, there are two crossing that must be done on low tide. Planning it wasn’t easy to imagine, as I’ve never had any idea of what the tide could change the shape of the landscape.

abel-tasman-coast-track-map-july11

Our initial plan was to spend four night in this track, trying to arrive at the end but coming back via water taxi from Totanaui, in particular we planned the four days:

  1. from Marahau to Torrent Bay (near Anchorage hut); approximately 4-5 hours
  2. from Torrent Bay to Bark bay; approximately 2 hours
  3. from Bark Bay to Totanaui; approximately 5-6 hours
  4. walking around Totanaui and back to Marahau via Water Taxi

The second day we walked on secondary tracks around the Bark Bay campsite, visiting waterfall, torrent pools and wonderful inland short distance destination.

Marahau to Torrent Bay

The first day we begin our journey later than usual, done some shopping, gather the ticket for the track booking. The sun was shining in the sky and the temperature was about 25 degrees, the sky was alive with clouds moving around and give us rest from the sun. The sea had low tide and in certain areas, the ground was shallow and not steep so the water was pulling back to several hundred of meters.

The whole track, but in particular the first part of it, was along the coast of beaches, where it was possible to have a refreshing break. We would have liked to stop every 20 minutes to have a bath, but unfortunately we had a schedule to follow and we managed to visit only few of them.

This first piece, in fact was a bit longer than we expected. In fact the backpack was too heavy: most of the weight was due to the food, which was not the light dry food for trekking. At the end of the track despite the quantity of food decreased, we were too sore to notice it.

Near Anchorage Hut, there is a shortcut for low tide periods, that allows you to save about 40 minutes; unfortunately the first evening we arrived too late for it and we had to continue on the normal route.

Torrent bay to Bark Bay

The second day we had only two hours distance to the next campsite, so we decided to leave the backpack and the tent in the site where we slept and we walked around on secondary tracks. In the morning, the tide was low, so we wander around in the sea’s bed looking at the small crabs running out of the soil. It was a strange feeling, between being on a desert and being on the moon.

Afterwards we visit a waterfall and another pool. I didn’t dear to swim the torrent, as it was freezing cold.

At noon, we grabbed our stuff and we continued our journey toward Bark Bay. The weather was still stunning and a light wind was blowing from the sea, refreshing us and spreading around smell.

We arrived at Bark Bay and, after setting up our tent, we had a bath and stayed in the beach to rest and read.

Bark Bay to Totanaui

The third day we had the longest part of the track, we woke up early and we got moving as early as possible. This section of the track was more challenging: on the way there were two passages the delta of a small river that could have been ford only on certain hours of the day. The time window was quite long, about 5-6 hours, but it wasn’t easy to estimate at first.

This last part of the track affected me, my shoulder weren’t able to hold the backpack and most of the track was on the beach, which require more effort because the sand is not as stable as the usual tracks.

We arrived at the campsite, which was empty, around 16 in the afternoon, we’ve had a bath, we’ve eaten and we lay down nearly dead.

Totanaui to Marahau

In Totanaui, due to the bad physical condition, and needs to rest, we’ve dropped our plans of visiting until the ‘separation point’ (which we’ve found out later it was an amazing place) and we’ve returned back to Marahau before time, to save half day as we weren’t able to move anymore.

We caught the water taxi at 11 to be back to Marahau at about 12:30. To be honest I’ve realized that fast boat are not my type :)

During the trip back the guide stopped us near one of the island surrounding the Abel Tasman coast, where we could admire some seal, laying down on the rocks as they were the lazier animals in the world.

The guide also mention how dangerous can be this apparently harmless animal can be, quite some people, coming there by kayak, were attacked by them. And this can be quite dangerous.

Finally we touch land. I was about to feel seasick when my attention was grasped by the curious way of dealing with low tide. A tractor with trailer was placed in the water and the boat landed directly on it. Ingenious. :)

Reflection, my way

Disclaimer: This article handle a different topic: photography and art design. It is a tentative to explain my way of understanding, enjoying and presenting pictures with reflection or mirror shapes. 

Japanese garden – The Hague

I called it Reflection, my way. Though is not such an original name, it is an interesting concept. Today this technique is in experimental phase: there are still a lot of aspects to be improved. First of it, the quality of the pictures: smartphone are far more portable but there is no comparison with SLR camera.

The idea. The idea is quite simple, you shot a reflection picture, and then you flip it upside down. Works in any places with a reflective surface, but not only lakes or ponds but also modern structures (for example the Barcelona’s airport shop center at terminal 1).

The quality and accuracy of the result depends on the reflection. It’s not so easy to have completely still water on a lake, for example. On perfect reflections, is very difficult to notice the twist and the viewer get a weird sensation of something not completely right with that picture. It gives you more or less the same feeling of when you look at a drawing of M.C.Escher, where the dimensions and the prospective are altered.

Buildings – The Hague [note there is an item out of place]

But, how is this happening? The human brain can be, in a simplistic way, be divided in two different parts, charactersways of thinking (call it as you like). In Thinking fast and slowDaniel Kahneman, refers to System 1 as the part that works more instinctively and, without effort of concentration, provides us impressions, reactions and feelings; System 2, on the other hand, is the part that is invoked when we are making operations that require attention, concentration , for example calculating, reading, active thinking. In our everyday life those two system are coexisting, but often they are colliding: for instance is not so easy to walk in a difficult path and calculate 27 * 31.

Back on our pictures. This technique’s goal is indeed to generate conflict in our brain. Our instinct knows that something is wrong in the picture, the pattern matching we apply with our experience (a real scenario) doesn’t match any real situation we have been living. We know there is something wrong, but we cannot tell immediately what. Most of the cases the twist is going to be found, but It might take some time to figure out, as it requires concentration and attention to watch carefully the picture.

Below you can see some examples. Most of them still are not perfect, I didn’t care to correct the mistakes, but they are  something where to start from. I believe, with time, I will achieve some good results.

For now, it would be just great to have a constructive feedback from you, dear reader.

Japanese garden – The Hague

Vlietland – Voorschoten – Leiden

The Hague