|Tuesday 21st March 2000||Page 4 of 12|
When I got up the following morning, I did consider whether it would be worth revisiting the Lake Wainamu Reserve just in case the film crew might still be working there, but to be honest I didn't hold out a great deal of hope for my chances of seeing anything, because as I had been leaving the day before, every indication appeared to be that they were dismantling the camp and preparing to move out. I did feel that I owed it to myself to at least go and have a second look, because if I hadn't and later found out that I'd missed something important, I would never have forgiven myself.
So I loaded the car with provisions and set off for the west coast once again. Initially, things didn't look good, because the Reserve's public car park was completely deserted and it was obvious there wasn't nearly as much traffic within the actual grounds as had been in evidence the previous day. There was an air of complete calm there that morning, and the entire place appeared to be totally deserted apart from me - absolute bliss under normal circumstances, but not what I wanted on this particular day! I did briefly consider abandoning the trip (my ankle injury was getting steadily worse, and another day of staggering up the Waiti Dunes would not help matters!) but carried on regardless and was definitely glad I did because much to my amazement, when heading back around Waiti Stream, I saw the truck again, parked up in the same place as before and with the generator on the back, clearly powered up. Ye gods, they were still here!
I glanced back into the dunes as I was passing, and sure enough, the production tents were still very much in evidence, although I couldn't tell from that position whether any actual shooting was taking place or not. I followed my previous route around the stream and towards the lake, intending to have another look at the other group of vehicles I'd seen yesterday on the way, fully expecting them either not to be there at all or at least reduced in number.
I rounded the bend, and the trucks and horse enclosure were all there as before, with two big differences - for in plain sight, right in front of me, were Tilly - better known as Xena's wonder horse, Argo - and Gabrielle's as-yet-unnamed steed, both grazing quietly and obviously enjoying their time off! Wow, my first ever Xena: Warrior Princess "star" encounter! How I managed to just walk nonchalantly past without doing a double-take at this sight I'll never know, but I somehow carried on along my way thrilled in the certain knowledge that this film crew were from Renaissance Pictures and here to shoot the very latest adventures of the warrior and the bard!
Upon reaching Lake Wainamu, I sat for a while to gather my thoughts and work out what to do next. It would be the most sensible plan to walk back around the edge of the dunes as I had the previous day (after all, I had to try and take a photo of Tilly if I could!) and then climb up and over the top to see whether I would be able to get any sort of look at the production camp from higher up. This I did, but by the time I was within sight of the horse enclosure again, Tilly had gone, and my mind raced to the conclusion that she must have been taking part in the filming by then!
Keyed up with excitement, I made my way up and over the steepest dunes, expecting to see the production tents at any moment. It seemed to take forever, but eventually I did get a good view from above as I approached. I ended up walking right past the tents, even stepping over the power cable as I went! Although I obviously couldn't be seen to be taking that much of an interest at this close range, I did glance over a few times and thought I spotted someone on horseback wearing a light fawn-coloured, full-length costume. Although I didn't recognise either the person or the costume - from the brief glance I got, it didn't look like Gabrielle's long brown overcoat or anything we've seen Xena wearing in the fifth season - the one thought which flashed through my mind at the time was shamaness. I suppose we'll find out when the episode airs.
One thing which was more definite was the fact they had a huge fan there, which was lying idle as I strolled past, but would very soon be in use...
Waiti Dunes, looking down on Lake Wainamu
Even with such excitement unfolding behind
me, I still couldn't resist the tranquility here!
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The production camp, seen from above
Note the presence of the
fan, used later on in filming
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Another shot of the production camp
This view of the Waiti Dunes has been seen
several times in Xena: Warrior Princess
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Waiti Stream, seen from Waiti Dunes
Along the whole length of the Stream, you
will find familiar places featured in the series
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Near to the rocket-launching site from Purity
I climbed this bank to try to get a better view!
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