The sun was shining, the rain had stopped. It was a glorious new morning as Luke and I enjoyed a cup of coffee in Ahipara, the first town bordering 90 Mile Beach. Neither of us felt like eating our cereal for breakfast (not the cereal's fault, although I'm sure that it's pretty stale after two weeks of wwoofing, but I had been too lazy to put our milk in the fridge the night before) but we knew that we had a big day ahead of us. We drove to the teeny tiny petrol station and browsed our options. Final decision: $3 cheapest loaf of bread, $3 tub of peanut butter, a $2 steak and cheese pie(yum), a $1 bag of gummy candies and $50 of petrol (which really gives you next to zero gas due to the massively inflated petrol prices..but.. when in New Zealand...) Breakfast of Champions! As we happily nibbled away at our warm steak and cheese pie at 9:30am, Luke drove us to the drive-on entrance to 90 Mile Beach. We had found this entrance late the night before (late being 6:30pm... it gets dark early) and when Luke saw the tire tracks on the sand, he happily reverted back 10 years! A very giddy young boy, enthused by the prospect of driving on the beach. Now, I was the first one to point out that we had an old Toyota Camry, not exactly Luke's F-150 from home. Nor a Jeep - beep beep. And the sand was quite deep and soft. So, out of the car we go, walking through the sand to determine if we can make it. Being a little city girl who seems to often find herself in the company of non-city kids, I am well-versed in the art of asking probing questions instead of actually adding any useful information to the situation. Example: Luke says, "Pretty sure if we drive in these tracks that have already been made, we'll make it." My response, "Are you suuuuure Luke?" aka, just making him reassure himself that it's a good idea and he actually believes it could work.
Back in the car, seat belts on (safety first!!), decision made, we might as well give it a try! ZOOM - and we're on the beach, driving!! The little Camry really made it onto the beach! Woohoo!! Luke was in HEAVEN, zooming along, steering like a madman, or no steering at all... nothing in front of us but sweet sweet freedom.
Can Camry make it on? I'mmm not sure!
Yup! Sure Can! Just driving in the ocean..NBD
Being that the name of the beach is 90 Mile Beach, and after a brief glance at the map, we decided to drive the whole 90 miles on the beach instead of the highway... clearly much more enjoyable scenery! We were already headed that direction anyway! Life just seemed to fall into place. So along we went, zoom zoom, "woohoo", munch munch on gummy candies, life was good! After about an hour of driving, we figured we should be getting somewhat close to the end of the beach. I was quite happy about this as I had been a very good co-pilot and had paid diligent attention to the continuously closer and closer incoming tide. As it made its way in and began to cover some of the tire tracks we had previously been following, I would comment to Luke, attempting to hide my true scared feelings. I mentioned that we should maybe keep an eye out for a way off the beach, and so we did. But funny thing, there didn't seem to be any... hmmmm
Finally we came to a point where we could just not go any farther. There was a jut-out of land that had a few locals fishing off the rocks and the water would soon be closing in around it. the tide was already in too far for us to continue driving forward, so, well, Deanna began to panic just a wee bit. We got out of the car to look around and see where there may be a chance to exit this wonderful beach, but soon did we realize that all the trails seemed to be 4x4's only. not very exciting to learn when you're staring at your little camry with the water creeping up closer. We opted to head back in the direction that we came from and continue to attempt to find a way off the beach. After awhile I was too overwhelmed with worry and figured that at least behind us there were people and maybe they could help us, so I told Luke to turn. Luckily, Luke does a u-turn. Not-luckily, the u-turn is in the direction away from the beach, aka: towards the softer sand, aka: camry gets stuck!!! (O...M...G!!!)

Annnd, if I wasn't truly paniced before, now it begins! We aren't close enough to the fishers to get them to pull us out, and we really aren't that far from the tide that is creeping in on us.  The amount of land vs. water is becoming devestatingly smaller and smaller (waaaaaa) As panic mode turns into survival mode, and Deanna yells "Do we call 9-11?) we start to dig the tires out in front and behind. Luke jumps in the car and starts driving back and forth but we're still really really stuck. The tires move, but then just keep sinking. This seems to happen for about 10 minutes until we've moved about 10 feet but are still very stuck. Finally Luke (using his talent from being stuck many times in the snow) backs far enough back to get going fast enough to get out of our tracks, YAY!!! But due to the panic and adrenaline, he doesn't stop the car for me to get in. So as he's driving, I run along and hop my booty back in. (that part was kinda cool!) 

So, relieved that we're not stuck anymore, we start driving back to the fishing point. Now seeing as we just seemed to have a massive feat, you'd think that we would be quite happy! Well, Luke was. Me, I was terrified! Happy we got un-stuck, yes, but terrified as we still had no way off this friggen beach and that tide didn't seem to like my idea of going back out instead of in. On route to the fishing spot we come up with a plan that if we can't find a way off the beach, we park where the fishers are and wait out the tide. The fishing rocks have a few cars on them and it looks as though it becomes a safe little island. So we drive up on the point and park where it looks safe from the ocean. As we are looking around the point soon to be an island, we see a van coming down the beach from where we were just stuck.  As the van comes closer, we keep thinking to ourselves, "this is sacred Maori land, we are not meant to be here... this van is likely some Maori coming to tell us to screw off and get ourselves out of our own mess." and me saying, "I'll totally bust out the waterworks if needed! That's bound to draw some sympathy!" The van drives up and parks beside us and out come two very big tattoo-faced Maori men with fishing rods. After a minute to make sure they aren't mad at us or are going to make us go out to sea, Luke finds the courage to ask one of them how we can get our wee little camry off the beach. Luckily, just down the beach from where we are parked there is a river bed that apparently has a nice hard surface that we should be able to just drive right up (fewwwwwf). So off we go one more time to try one more thing before we accept defeat and have to wait half a day as the ocean closes around us on a wee little sacred island. Due to previous terrifying acts, we opt to park close to the water where the sand is still hard, you know, to avoid getting stuck again, and walk up to inspect the riverbed that Mr. Maori Man claims we can easily make it up. And you know, he did not seem too concerned that the tide was fast approaching and that we only had a little sedan... clearly we are not the first ones to be so dumb! As we assess the riverbed, history replays itself with Luke saying "oh ya, I can do this no problem" and I'm saying, "Are you sure!?" with a bit more urgency this time! Finally, decision  made!! Lukes' going for it. Luke goes back to the car saying "I'm just gonna get a really good run at it and not stop for anything" as I wait nervously to see if he is going to rip the bottom of the car off and then sink into the sand and our car will forever be stuck on 90 mile beach... or washed away at sea. Next thing I know Luke is ripping up the beach towards the river bed (vvrrrooooommmm) in our little camry, bouncing through the little creek and up the sandy little trail, over boulders and through the water and finally over the hill to safety. SUCCESS!!!! My god my heart was racing so fast with excitement instead of panic!! As I just began to jump up and down on the side of the riverbed, absolutely giddy with excitement, the wonderful Mr. Maori Man appeared out of nowhere behind me, asking if all was well. I bounced up and down and waved so happily to him yelling as loud as I could, and with the most pure honesty, "THANK YOU!!!"

As it turns out, we really were not likely to have been stranded. But it sure was a massive sigh of relief as I climb into the car and we start to drive on a real, proper, not sand, dirt road.  Then again out of nowhere, Mr. Maori Man appears over the bank and asks us where we're going? I guess he realized that we were in the middle of nowhere, on sacred Maori land, and, well, clearly we're idiots! As it happens, we assumed we were at the end of the beach and weren't even thinking about where to go from there. We were just ecstatic to be off the bloody beach with that creeping in tide!! This most wonderfully kind Maori man proceeds to give us detailed directions of how to get back to a main road and how to continue on our way up to Cape Regina. We waved our many many thank you's, just hoping that he knew how truly grateful we were, and we continued on down the dirt road. It's a good thing he came and helped us out with directions too, because after about 5 minutes on the dirt road, we came to a 4-way natural round-about... without directions... we'd likely still be stuck somewhere near the ocean!!

This blog post has been co-written by both Deanna & Luke. We hope you enjoyed our ridiculous experience! And don't worry, we're safe! And to be honest, there probably wasn't really so much need to panic.


05/05/2012 1:08pm

Hahaha. You two are awesome. Gave me some laughs and though stressful... I'm jealous of this story.

Sweet Dea
05/05/2012 2:05pm

:-) Glad to hear it gave you a few laughs!! There were many of those from us..AFTER we got off the beach. haha

05/05/2012 1:49pm

You guys are GREAT - I just love your style of storytelling! I feel like I am right there with you...Please keep the wonderful stories coming, so we can feel like we are adventuring right along with you two. Cheers!!!

Sweet Dea
05/05/2012 2:06pm

Dena!! So glad you were able to give it a read and enjoyed it!! Thanks for subscribing :) We'll have plenty more entertaining moments to share I'm sure! Hope all is well back home!! Take care!

Lindsay W
05/05/2012 5:43pm

Great story Dee, but enough to give me an aneurism! I would have bailed at the thought of driving a car on the beach! Your sense of adventure and zest for life is inspiring - and anxiety inducing! Lol - crazy kids! Glad you're having a blast;)

05/05/2012 6:06pm

What a great adventure! Again, very entertaining storytelling!

05/05/2012 8:05pm

Well, that's what's it's all about...adventure! Those experiences with indigenous people are so was very cool that Maori Man was good to you, and probably had a big smile on the inside. Glad you made it out, Deanna...and you two are writing well together. Keep enjoying those adventures, of meals that are a little unusual in the morning and everything else.
Hugs, Daphne

05/06/2012 10:59am

PANIC my little De girl - NO WAY!!!!!! - very interesting story - I enjoyed your adventure
Love Pops

05/06/2012 6:41pm

Wow....I just had a camry/beach experience....thanks Deanna & Luke

05/08/2012 9:26am

hahaha sounds like life will always be crazy with you two, glad to hear it , lifes to short to not just go with it,, great story writing you two

Daryl Duke
06/14/2012 4:23pm

Hey Deanna thanks for the post card, and the blog is great. Makes me smile a lot.

07/31/2012 8:10pm

Excellent! I admire all the helpful data you've shared in your articles. I'm looking forward for more helpful articles from you. :)

Joseph Aidan


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