Posted by yachtcamomile
This bay lies within the natural inner harbourof New Zealand’s Great BarrierIsland and the shore surrounding it’s very sheltered anchorage is the private property of the Webster family who generously make it’s facilities available to any visitor there. As the name implies there is a working smokehouse on the shore. Unfortunately, when we inspected the inside of the smoke cabinets, some kind soul had left something unspeakable, which may at one time been a fish, on one of the shelves, something that the local insect population appeared not to have overlooked. There was also a gutting table for cleaning fish catches along with cloths lines and old fashioned mangles for all that smelly yottie washing.
Of far more interest though, was the open air bath or, for the more modest dirty people, a bath house. Outside its door is a small “wetback” wood burning stove where all that is asked is you forage for and cut up (with the tools provided) enough wood to replace what you use to heat the bath water. Having not taken a bath for over a year Sue decided this was an opportunity not to be missed so Norman and I were dispatched accordingly to light and nurture a fire in the proper place.
Norman accomplished this with a slightly worrying enthusiastic efficiency so it was only a matter of waiting for the water to heat and our customers to appear naked. I am good at wishful thinking but not so good at waiting for water to boil and therefore the Welsh yardarm rule, which apparently states that drinking anytime is ok as long as a Welsh person is present, was invoked and the cold beer came out.
It took about an hour for the water to warm but when it had Sara elected to bathe outside while Sue took the inner sanctum and the incongruous aroma of various bath-oils wafted throughout the glade. While the ladies soaked in fine style the old soaks (Norman and I who were also suitably oiled by this time) attempted to chop our fingers and other appendages off in the name of leaving a fair supply of firewood for the next dirty visitors. All good clean fun then and sadly no gratuitous nudity. Well not much anyway….