The weather forecast for today was for heavy rains with up to 200 mm in the next 24 hours and winds averaging 30 kms out of the NE and gusting to 50 kms. The ride called for 110 kms and 1310 m climb headed almost due NE. It was going to be a challenging day even without the weather. The wind alone made it an impossible day and rain reduced the visibility to almost zero making a really totally unsafe.
However we were not going to just sag down to the next stop. The wind and rain were coming over the mountains from the NE and through the pass towards the west coast. So we got up early and rode 30 kms up to Westport. The wind was almost zero when we left the motel at 8:15 AM but by the time we got to Westport it was blowing pretty hard. So we turned west and rode out to Foulwind Point a further 16 kms. Sailing along with the wind was great fun. We jumped off out bikes and walked out to the lighthouse at Foulwind Point. It was an important navigational point in the early days of navigation between Australia and New Zealand. After the little walk to the lighthouse we rode a further 5 kms down to a seal colony. We walked out to see the seals on rocks and just as we got back to the van the rain started to bucket down. Not the big ride but at least we did get 51 kms in.
We loaded the bikes and headed into Westport for lunch. Agnes, Jos and I went into the Westport “Coal City” museum and Tom and Amy went shopping. The museum was very interesting and detailed the coal industry along the west coast on New Zealand. The industry started in the 1860’s and continued through the 1970’s when the last of the big mines shut down. Low prices and declining production ended coal mining on the west coast. There is still lots of coal to be mined and it is all high quality bituminous coal but low prices and low demand prevent further mining.
After lunch we sagged the down the 70 kms to Murchison. The canyon ride looked really beautiful or at least what could be seen. It is a real shame we could not ride it. The only thing is to come back and again.
Here is a link to the ride: https://goo.gl/maps/t1GeNGn3ENo
Weather forecast for the next to week is sun – Yahoo