At the peak of Summer parking is tight in English Bay. You get a much better view by taking the walking track.
Photo: Google Maps.
There’s probably a reason for it but I’ve never bothered to discover why they named the small beachhead at the end of a steep, windy Opua road English Bay.
Obviously, the Bay was there long before any English man ever set foot there but it had to be someone with a typically Kiwi approach that named the now tar sealed path leading down to it English Bay Road.
Somehow, I think, we Kiwis take a certain pride in over stating the obvious so how could anyone ever expect that road leading to English Bay in Opua should ever bare a more imaginative title.
If you visit there however and get to sit for a few moments you’ll suddenly realise that any discussion over naming and how it came about is rather pointless.
This is one of those out of the way, off the beaten track special spots.
The day I woke up in English Bay is something I’ve never forgotten.
I had stayed overnight in the front room of a home on the waterfront. It was warm and early in the morning when I walked out onto the small grass reserve that takes up almost all the available standing space when the tide is in.
The water was at its absolute millpond best and it was something about the stillness, the colour of the sunrise that combined to make the mood of a moment I’ve never forgotten.
This is a place where yachties and launch oweners haul up their row boats. The row boats are their usual access to the vessels anchored further out.
Not long after I arrived and sat down to take in the view, a weathered old sailor ambled down and pulled his rowboat down to the water’s edge. Then and with the dexterity of man half his age, he pushed the craft from behind and jumped over the backboard onto the middle seat.
The movement disturbed the glasslike surface of the water but only for a moment. By the time he’d set himself right and put the oars into their locks the water was almost completely calm again.
A few more seconds passed and he looked over his left shoulder to determine his heading before raising the oars.
That was the point when I realised that this scene could never be any better and the only thing missing from it was my camera.
Footnote: If you’re taking the walking track out from Opua around the headland, towards English Bay and beyond, don’t forget your camera. Be prepared for some memorable moments and make sure to take them away with you.