Saturday, February 6, 2016

Jackson Bay and the Craypot Cafe

Jackson Bay, New Zealand (June 1, 2008)

Remember the nice retired couple that asked me about my Nikon at Arthur’s pass? Well, before they left they told me that one place we have absolutely to visit on our way to Fiordland was Jackson Bay. It is easy to find, they said, just follow the road along the coast until it ends... and then keep going: you cannot be mistaken, once you reach the bay there is no other place to go. And to make sure I would remember the name, they wrote it on the first piece of paper they could find, which turned out to be a mint new check, barely remembering to void it at the last minute. As I have said many times in this diary: New Zealand people are just plain nice, and they don’t seem to have lost the trust in other human beings that is so rare in many other parts of the “civilized” world.

Jackson Bay
And to Jackson Bay we went. The road is very scenic. It starts before Route 6 turns inland towards Haast Pass, more or less at Haast Beach, and continues along the coast until it crosses the impressive Arawhata River Valley. Due to ours numerous stops along Route 6 (including Lake Matheson, Bruce Bay, Shop Creek...) it was getting very late for lunch, and we were starving as breakfast in Fox Glacier was only a remote memory. We where however comforted by the billboards we saw, from time to time along the solitary road, of the Craypot Cafe serving fish & Chips in Jackson Bay. When we arrived at the bay the view was really magnificent, with the white capped mountains reflected in the most placid bay, shielded by the currents of the Tasman sea by the Jackson Head on its westernmost side. A long wood pontoon is the main structure in the village, which doesn’t have many other constructions apart for some fishermen houses, and of course the Craypot Cafe. I found on the internet that the owner of the cafe is called Meg. In her own words, as narrated by Allan Dick of NZ Today Magazine: “My kids were in Queenstown, I moved to Wanaka and came through here one day and just loved the place and stayed. That was 12 years ago. - Meg’s owned the Craypot Cafe for just one summer season. - It’s been busy. It’s seven days a week and I’m looking forward to closing for winter and going somewhere for a holiday — probably the islands...”.

Uh oh...

Did you read with attention? “I’m looking forward to closing for winter and going somewhere for a holiday” she said. And read the date of the photo above: June, which is Winter! There it goes, our fish and chips: Meg was somewhere vacationing in the islands, whatever islands she meant, while we where in that beautiful, but deserted, village at the very end of the last road, with an empty stomach and nothing to eat! Oh Meggie, Meggie what have we done?

Jackson Bay, New Zealand (June 1, 2008)

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