We had a contemplative service at Church on Sunday. Colin, our Minister, played the sound of rushing flood water and asked us where it took us.
I was right back as a fourteen year old, in my canoe, watching and hearing the roar of Bullock Creek in flood. The colour of frothy beer, it was pouring into the Pororari River and I could track its path there by its colour.
Bullock Creek starts miles away back in the mountains, sometimes underground and winds its way through bush covered hills. It passes through flatter country where a Punakaiki farmer fattened cattle and on through bush until it reaches the Coast Road between Greymouth and Westport. Just before a bridge, it drops about twenty feet to sea level and passes, green and beautiful between high rock walls into the Pororari River.
This day though, high country rain had turned it into a mad thing. I had all this excitement to myself. My Mum was stuck back at our bach keeping her friend company. The other four baches were empty. It was an isolated spot in those days.
At the point where they join, the Pororari is flowing North and the creek comes from the East , so the river will slow the creek down before they turn West into the Tasman sea. Hopefully. Otherwise my loved canoe and I would be gone…rough river, rough sea meeting…not a good place to be.
I was in the calm water of the lagoon, calculating. I dipped my paddle into the water and I was off! It was so exhilarating! No need for the paddle, I skimmed along at an amazing speed, which thankfully slowed down before the river turned towards the sea and I was able to paddle my canoe into calmer water, back to where I had started. I spent a happy morning riding my jet stream until I heard my Mum’s whistle blast in the distance, that meant lunch was ready.
In all my seventeen years of holidays at Pororari that was the only time I ever knew Bullock Creek to flood like that. We could hear it’s roar from our bach. I had such fun. Fourteen year olds are invincible.