Imagine life where you are confined to the one spot from birth to death, never ever experiencing what the world has to offer beyond such confinement.

Only to be snuffed out by the hand of a human or even worse, from a sea gull beak being consumed!

The Ohau Canal houses a salmon farm. We watched workers toss pellets into the large confinements and the top of the water splash feverishly as the salmon ate with passion. Further along the farm, a large hose ran from a confinement up onto shore and to a make shift shed. The intermittent ‘thwat’ sound was from individual salmon finally escaping except it was it’s final ‘dead fish swimming’ suck. The fish in this confinement were also swimming feverishly as well – we wondered if they knew?

Perched on the farm structure in-between were a number of seagulls. Waiting. Patiently.

It only took one smart salmon to realise what choice lay in-front and take the leap of faith jump to hopefully risk beating the odds and land in the canal before the hordes of beaks squawking “mine, mine, mine” (like they did on ‘Finding Nemo’) swoop to capture an easy meal mid-jump.

Freedom can again be short lived if the salmon make the choice to chomp onto a hook lure, cast from the anglers positioned on either sides of the canal who fish to try and capture the one that did get away.

Life as a salmon eh!

We like eating it and seeing the farm in action made the mouth moist! Especially when one is carrying de-hydrated ‘just add water’ meals and umpteen muselie bars.

We just about snuffed out a trekker on the off-road track of the Lake Ohau foreshore, walking towards us. Apologising, we learnt the young lass was stepping out the South Island part of the Te Araroa Trail, doing it north bound. We exchanged tales from the trail experiences to push on to a section of today’s ride that had us climb up to 900 metres at it’s highest point on the Tambrae Track.

When the track narrowed, so too did the under bike tyre conditions change and there was quite a bit of walking pushing the bikes and gear steadily up. It was about preserving the need to have to change a flatty as much as preserve the body fatigue that comes quicker on any given second day of distance riding. Mountain bikes without sundry would have been a breeze.

Stretching the legs allowed for safer glances backwards and take in the views across the basin to the Benmore Range. The back bone of the South Island looked just as stunning as it did yesterday.

When there is up, you are pretty much gauranteed down and it was easier riding once we summitted the height; it was also again hot, dry and dusty. There was the need to take a pit stop when a puncture did eventuate however, we were within 20kms of the Omarama township limits.

It’s a small township at the junction of State Highway 8 and 83. It’s population is boosted from anglers, astronomers, pilots who fly glider and during winter, snow sporters.  The hot tubs are wood fire heated if wanting a relaxing time to have a soak and, the Top 10 Camp Ground was certainly welcoming to a couple wanting a piece of dirt under some shade to pitch the tent.

Catching up with family friends who reside in Omarama was an additional bonus. They served us up some fresh salmon fillets caught earlier in the day and smoked with a brown sugar and sweet chilli sauce/apricot sauce glaze.

An unexpected different type of mouth moist from earlier this morning. It was devine.

With one eye on the sky keeping check on no sea gull overhead.