Fishing pole in hand and a bag with a tin can filled with weights, hooks, and live fish bait, I hit the trail to Tinline Bay. The last bridge crosses a creek that empties out to the bay and it’s my favorite part of the coastal track. Down over the rocks and when the tide is low a large rock sticks up and at the top one lone tree is growing. Further along, the bay rocks are covered in black mussels and oysters. Crunching beneath my feet, I hop from rock to rock and make my way out to the furthest spot to bait my hook and get to casting.

Coquille Bay is an ideal place to surf cast and in the evening Kahawai fish are hungry for dinner.

The seagulls, oystercatchers, and pied cormorant patrol the bay and swoop low. Little shags dive in shallow water for up to 20 seconds to catch some kaimoana – usually crustaceans, small flounder, or eels. Some do violent nose dives and dart into the ocean to snag small fish. A flock of birds flies right across and the leader holds a fish in their beak. The sunset turns the sky pink and I keep casting but smaller fish nibble my bait off the hook.

A large rock shark made its way to the surface and I swear it winked at me as it swam by. I caught a baby Kahawai and another small gurnard. As I unhooked my catch to step down I spotted an eleven-armed starfish and another one hidden in the crevice of the rocks. I continued to cast for a while longer before heading back. One last series of casts and I spot a stingray and another rock shark (maybe the same one I saw before). No more bites and I’m ready to call it a day as the temperature drops pretty quickly. Winter is coming.

Cortinarius lubricanescens
Cortinarius lubricanescens

I could search for fungi for days.

Getting absorbed in the search, attempting to think like a mushroom, where would I be? I step over moss covered logs and branches further back into the thick of it. Kahurangi is wet and cold today, typically a good time to find fungi. Along the trail, off to the side, a small creek forms and water runs alongside. Water drips from the moss and on the side, an almost unnatural purple color catches my eye. A Cortinarius lubricanescens with a baby underneath.

A Cortinarius is a new name of genus added to my fungal lexicon and I would later find a couple of slimier capped ones. Another one I ended up coming across was a Purple Pouch Fungus (Cortinarius porphyroideus), famous for being 1 out of 6 fungi featured on NZ stamps.

At Tinline I immediately came across two Purple Pouch Fungi that stuck out of the fallen silver ferns. I spent around 3 hours wandering around observing the forest floor.

“The smaller you look, the bigger the world gets, and the bigger the loss gets.”

I am reminded of this quote in relation to deforestation, but no complaining here in Abel Tasman as on the hike along the coastal track close to Marahau tons of DOC (Department of Conservation) workers and volunteers were planting trees. I appreciate how much New Zealand cares about its natural environment and the effort to preserve its beauty. The other day I had even read that a river was given the same rights as a human.

Legislature was passed and this river is viewed as a life source for the local Maori tribe, and therefore just as important as the humans that rely on it. The Whanganui River in New Zealand is a legal person. A nearby forest is too. Soon, the government will grant a mountain legal personhood as well.

At Tinline, I kept on going and stumbled across brilliant colored fungi that kept distracting me and taking me further into the bush. More Entoloma hochstetteri.

These new names are being introduced to me via the help of a new FB group I’m a part of (Mushrooms of New Zealand) and with the help of members of the iNaturalist NZ app. As I catalog more findings I will update a new Mycology category on this blog with the hopes of luckily finding some unknown species yet discovered in the Tasman region.

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