Today was a magical day. The Whanganui river is always beautiful but today it was so fantastically beautiful that being there was a truly moving experience. Even David, the skipper of the MV Wairua, who knows the river like he knows his own hand, was knocked for six by the beauty of reflections from this silent highway of glass. He even found navigation difficult at times, not knowing where reflections ended, where the river became dry land or whether he was standing of falling over.
The Whanganui river between Wanganui and Hipango park (2 hours upstream) is tidal. Leaving the wharf at 7am we were lucky enough to strike a dead calm morning when the tide was full and the river slack. By 8:15am or so, when we had left the town behind and were steaming into the hills the light was perfect, being filtered through a benevolent mist still clinging to the hills. It was one of those rare moments when you wished you had your camera, wished you had time to take some images, wished the river would stay calm for a few more minutes, wished that the shy sun would remain in hiding. It was one of those moments when all your wishes came true. For the last hour of the journey we were treated to the surreal, lost in a wonderland that threatened to turn us on our heads. Had we met Alice no-one would have batted an eyelid and probably not even noticed.
There was a reason to make this trip today. David McDermid, friends and four Wanganui Daybreak Rotarians were out for a working bee at Hipango Park. Today the object was to clear the picnic tables of long grass and mow tracks to the hut and toilets. This is in preparation for further working bees and tours to the park. Evidence of the work can be seen below.