A night encounter

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This piece featured in Collective Holiday Memories
Contributed by: Diane Bargas Rees

A couple of years ago, after a great Christmas at home in Christchurch, we decided to top it off with a few days of relaxation at Tahuna, our favourite camp ground. We knew we would find great facilities and beautiful scenery there. However we also looked forward to making new friends, and the possibility of meeting with old ones again, because we know people who come to Tahuna from far and wide.

We arrived in the early evening. We found that our camp site was at the base of a small hill, where a good few other campsites were also set up. We set up fairly quickly. There wasn’t much going on around our site so we walked across the lagoon to the beach as it looked as though we were in for a lovely sunset. As we wandered past the various tents we noticed the usual multiple-family campsites, most with children’s belongings around them. Other sites had single small tents and while others had a “home away from home” display of barbecues, fridges – possibly kitchen sinks as well. We hoped that our neighbours would be friendly and easy to get on with and we looked forward to meeting them later on.

When we got to the beach we found that the sunset was everything we had hoped for and we got some beautiful photos. We were particularly pleased that there were so many other people out enjoying the lovely evening, strolling along, walking dogs or riding bikes. As we walked slowly back to camp, we shared memories of previous Tahuna holidays oblivious to the water gradually seeping in to the channels of the lagoon. Eventually we realised that the water was rapidly getting deeper and it was getting too dark to see our way. We weren’t wearing suitable shoes and without a torch we couldn’t make out the best way to get back without a very uncomfortably wet experience.

When we saw the silhouettes of a few people on the other side of a big channel, my husband called out “Hey, there, can you see where we can cross over to get near the camp ground?” They shouted back “Is that you Dave?” It turned out to be the sister of my husband’s sister-in-law’s and her family all the way from Invercargill!

When we’d met them briefly on Christmas Day a few days earlier, we had no idea that we were all heading to Tahuna. We enjoyed our impromptu reunion once we had made it over to their side of the channel and walked back to camp as a group. Somehow we weren’t surprised to find that they were set up on the hill just a few metres from us and were therefore our nearest ‘camp neighbours’!

Yet another great Tahuna memory to enjoy and share as the years go by.