Back in the groove

October 17, 2018

We are back into our groove again, you know, get up at a leisurely hour in the mornings, look at the day, quickly dispense with any chores and then go fishing!!!

The fellas went out for an early morning fish, whilst some of us slept on…

Waiting for the fish as well as sunrise, what a beautiful morning, I’m pleased you took a picture of it so I would know what it looks like!

I think Keith was quite pleased with this catch!

The fishing gang on the beach, later in the day

somewhere in the blue shy is a little black dot, that is our kite!

Roy getting in his daily step count walking over to see Keith to discuss whose line we will bring in first (Roy is on light duties so Keith helps us to retrieve our line).

another good catch including this fantastic gurnard. We have never caught one as big before, I’m sure it will make good eating.

Roger the rooster is still here and becoming bolder and bolder, walking on the mat to the door to see if we will give him something to eat. I know what I’d really like to feed him!!!

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Medical matters

October 14, 2018

We made our way down to Auckland as far as Whakapirau where we were staying with Jacky & Chris for the night. It’s a 5hr drive from Rarawa to Whakapirau, including a couple of comfort stops, and then a further 2 hrs to get to Auckland so it’s a good break point for us.

Roy was due at Ascot at midday ready for surgery at around 2pm. Antony came in to take me out to lunch whilst Roy was under the knife laser. Roy was having some remedial surgery of the prostate as some tissue had atrophied as a result of the hormone and radiation treatments and was causing a bit of an issue. Meanwhile Antony and I went out for a nice lunch and a bit of retail therapy returning to the hospital just as the surgeon rang to say all had gone well and he would be in his room within the next hour.

I was happy to wait for him in his room enjoying the view.

the view from his room overlooking Ellerslie Race course.

He was back pretty soon, wide awake and feeling ok after having an epidural and a sedative rather than a full anaesthetic, so good in fact that he was keen to have something to eat. I left him in the good care of the staff at Ascot in the early evening to retire to Antony’s place for the night.

The following day Roy had not had the best night, so the surgeon was checking in on him a couple of times and sorting out his pain relief before he would allow him out later in the day. Meanwhile Antony and I headed over to Southern Cross Hospital on the North Shore where I was to have an MRI done on my hip replacement due to an anomaly showing up on previous X-rays.

MRI’s are not my favourite thing, they can be very claustrophobic, especially as they tighten a special cage device over the hip area to make sure you stay still and also tie my feet together and onto the bed so nothing moves….eeeek……but I told myself it was just for an hour so just suck it up and deal with it. It was completed in around 45minutes, but then they said I had to have more done but this time with a dye injected. Breathe in…….and out……..relax, think of your happy place Bernice, all these thoughts were racing through my mind as I went back into the scanner. But it was soon over with, next came the wait to see the surgeon in a few hours time.

Again, Antony & I went out for a bite to eat and to do a few chores. I must say it was great to have him with me and we had a good chat about everything and anything. We were back at the surgeons office 45minutes early, fortunately he could see me early. And the upshot?

At the top of the trochanter (femur) has some stress fractures that appear to be healing, no wonder it’s been a bit sore! and there maybe very small bone fragments that have come away and irritating matters. As well it looks like there is a pocket of fluid which he was unsure what it was exactly.

What’s next? They want to do a biopsy on the fluid via a needle inserted into the hip area….eeeek! this is to be done under a general anaesthetic and what about having it done next week? Oh and we will also check for infection with some blood tests as well. After a bit of discussion, we agreed that I would have the blood tests straight away and see what they say and put off the needle biopsy and do it next month when I am having my knee replaced negating the need for two anaesthetics in a short period of time. That is presuming everything comes back clear with the blood tests, fingers crossed.

I did ask if I was being a wuss with regards to the pain I have but I was assured that I am not, so with new prescription in hand we were soon on our way.

Meanwhile Roy was being discharged so we could pick him up on the way home and head to Antony’s for the night. We were both feeling pretty good so we thought we would head back north, just as far as Whakapirau initially, just to be close enough to Auckland if we had to return for any reason. After a restful nights sleep, we were ready to head back home.

We were back at the van the following day, ready to take things easy for a bit as Roy is on strict light duties, and I am to rest as much as practicable. That being said, we are both feeling pretty good so hope to get back to some good fishing stories soon.

Blue sky days

October 7, 2018

We have had an incredible run of beautiful blue sky days, with not a cloud in sight. The shorts and t shirts are well and truly being worn everyday and the sunscreen is being slapped on as well as a hat. And what better way to spend these stunning days than on the beach, oh, and whilst we are there we might as well have a fish.

Getting ready to fly out the baited hooks.

The following video shows what happens next.

The drone releases the line once it’s out as far as we choose it to go and then it magically returns to the beach and lands exactly where it takes off from. It’s a clever drone made here in New Zealand specifically for fishing. It has inbuilt safety mechanisms that will automatically ditch the line and return it to base if it detects that its battery is running low.

Once the line is set out, we usually wait anything for 45 minutes to an hour before bringing in the line. However, on this occasion, the line was only out for 3 minutes when the rod starting dancing. It was obvious that there was something rather large on the line. After much speculation of what it was….stingray, eel, very big snapper, and with the line continually being dragged out after just 15 minutes we decided to bring it all back in. Now the reel is also electric so doesn’t require but winding in but in this case the line was not coming in at all.

There is a fair amount of pull on that line. Not wanting to lose any gear, Keith started the slow process of getting in all in. Whatever it was, it was sure putting up a good fight, perhaps we had caught a taniwha (that means monster for you overseas readers). The line came in slowly when it was just over half way in, all of a sudden whatever it was gave up the fight and the line started coming in a little easier. However, once all in, there were only a couple of snapper on the hooks, but what’s this? A broken hook and one trace tied up into so many knots it’s not funny, whatever it was that was on the line was obviously very grumpy at being caught and made a bit of a mess of the line. Oh well, can’t complain I guess, we will go out again in the morning.

just hanging around in the sun waiting for the fish to come in. This beach has incredibly fine white silica sand tat squeaks when you walk on it.

and here they come, five or six in this set, I can’t remember!!

I’ve decided I am like the proverbial ‘banana on the boat’ jinx as the guys seem to do so much better when I am not with them, so later that day the boys went out for another fish at dusk. After such stunningly beautiful days it does cool down rather quickly in the early evenings so I am happy to stay nice and warm in the van doing my knitting!

Roy and I are heading to Auckland for a few days and we would like to be able to take some fresh fish with us for family and friends. We shall be back in a few days though so whilst we are away Keith & Deb can practise their fishing and relaxation skills ……and do something to quieten down Roger the Rooster!

Rarawa

October 4, 2018

It was time to leave the lovely park over property at Tokerau Beach, Brett & Bronwyn run a great POP there and we are always made to feel very welcome. I headed off first into Kaitaia to attend to laundry and shopping and Roy was going to follow on behind to fill up with LPG whilst Keith & Deb went on ahead to Rarawa. Now you know what’s coming don’t you? It was never going to be that simple.

I had just about finished getting the laundry washed when Roy rang to say he was still at the POP, the damn RV/bus/motorhome/van, whatever label you want to give it, would not start! It seemed the starter motor had decided to crap out. A local auto electrician was contacted and he said he could come and have a look in an hour or so. I decided that meant I could throw the laundry into the dryer, and go and have a coffee whilst I waited to see if I needed to pick up any parts in town. The phone call came just as I had finished folding the washing, it was fixed and Roy was on his way. Apparently it was a rusty/loose terminal so a quick fix and he was on his way. That gave me plenty of time to get the shopping done before he arrived. We met at the dump station, then went and filled with LPG and water before heading off up to Rarawa.

It’s been 2 years since we were last up this way and the growth of avocado farms expanding throughout the north is incredible to see.

We came around one corner to see this sight ahead of us.

Very effective cutouts of children, poignant reminders that there is a school here and to be mindful of your speed.

By the time we got to the DoC camp at Rarawa it was 4.30pm (the start of daylight saving sort of mucked us up a bit), we arrived to find Deb & Keith all set up and our position sorted. They even had dinner ready for us, how nice is that? We were soon all set up and making ourselves at home.

The following evening, the guys decided to have a bit of a quick fish off the beach before dinner, they were back in just over an hour with these beauties.

Not content, the following morning whilst some of us were still sleeping, they were out again to see what they could catch. They were back before 8 am, this time with a couple of huge fish.

The biggest fish was just over 14lbs or 6.5kg. That’s enough for a day or two, by the time we left them to set for a while on salt ice, before being filleted and packaged, most of the day had gone. We split the heads of the large fish ready to cure then smoke them, plenty of very good fish there to make a few smoked fish pies and a bit of pâté as well.

We had originally planned to go and have a kite fish off 90mile beach in the early afternoon but we all admitted that we probably had enough fish for the moment, besides, the freezers were full so we would relax for the afternoon.

Relaxing in the sun after all that hard work with a coffee and some muffins fresh from the oven.

Our next challenge is to somehow get rid of this guy who wakes us at stupid hour every morning with his crowing.

Once we deal with him, we shall have to come up with a plan to deal with his friend on the other side of the river. The joys of being in a rural camp!

Never a dull moment

October 1, 2018

The fishing was going great guns, every time the blokes went out they came home with lots of fish so we were eating it, giving it away and freezing some. Just as well as both couples were heading away for a couple of days, us a quick trip to Auckland for medical appointments and Keith & Debbie were off to Tauranga the day after we left for a family matter.

But not before a last minute fish off Tokerau Beach.

Keith with control in hand ready to send the drone out with the baits and longline.

We have lift off.

Wait for 45 minutes then press the button on the reel to bring in the line….

Enough fish to share around with family and friends.

We were very fortunate as we were going to break our journey to Auckland by staying with Jacky & Chris at Whakapirau as it is a non stop 5 1/2 hour drive from Tokerau to Auckland, and who does that sort of distance without a couple of stops at least? It’s 3 1/2 hrs to Whakapirau, but add another hour on to that for stops, road works and the like so it’s still a decent drive.

Roy had a checkup with the Urologist, the upshot being he is having some surgery to clean up the prostate on Monday 8th October. He will be in Ascot Hospital overnight or possibly two nights. Meanwhile I had my 3month checkup with my surgeon, and we made a date for knee surgery, 19th November it is scheduled for the first knee replacement, a great birthday present to myself!!

After another great stay with Jacky and Chris on our return journey home, we headed home Wednesday morning, calling in to the Jewellers in Whangarei to pick up my repaired rings and necklace.

my rings, all beautifully repaired and polished, and now all joined together so that they don’t rub against each other.

I also had my necklace repaired with a new chain put on,

This necklace is one that Roy gave to me for my 21st birthday, just a couple of years ago!

Back at the van on Thursday I received a call from my surgeon, on reviewing the latest X-ray of my hip, they’ve noticed an anomaly on the trochanter (top of the femur) which doesn’t look quite right and could I go back for an MRI scan to further investigate things? Oh no, what could it possibly be? Stress fractures possibly, but they will see once they do the scan. No wonder I still have pain!! I’ve scheduled the MRI and consult for the 9th October so we shall have to wait and see what eventuates. Bugger!

Never mind, we can hopefully get another week of fishing in, whip down to Auckland in the car for a couple of days and get everything over had done with and still be on track for knee surgery in November. Fingers crossed.

When Sh*# happens

September 29, 2018

Sometimes you just wonder when will it ever end. This entry is all about the realities of living in a motorhome/RV so skip this one if you are of a delicate disposition.

We were in the sh#*. Literally! The valve that we open to empty the black tank had developed a leak, just a drip drip drip, but nevertheless a drip, and a smelly one at that because we are under no illusion that our crap does not stink!

Luckily we had a valve to replace the said leaky one, we’ve been carrying it around for years….just in case.

The new pieces, the black tank valve is 3 inch diameter valve (the picture shows the smaller grey tank valve).

This is where it all happens, inside the locker is the two handles to pull, one for the grey waste one for the black. By the time I took this picture we had managed to get the black valve out before the harrowing task of trying to get it all back together. How does it all work I hear you ask? You go to a dump station, place the evacuation hose into the dump station, pull the handle to open the valve and it all magically disappears down the pipes though the red hose you can see at the bottom left of the picture into the dump station, never to be seen. It is usually a no mess easy to perform task but not when there is a leak. Ewwww.

I researched how to replace the valve on YouTube, we watched the videos, it looked oh so simple, yeah right. Roy and I spent nearly a whole day trying to get the said goddam valve removed, it is in an awkward position and we had to both try to get our hands in there to undo nuts, wiggle around pipe work and other bits and generally become more and more frustrated with the whole process.

Roy contemplating the next move.

We finally got the valve removed but it was no easy task as two of the nuts and bolts were at the back of the locker behind the pipe work, almost flush against the rear of the locker. It did not help that also in this locker is the panel holding the outdoor shower and light panel which quite frankly was just a damn nuisance and got in the way.

In the end we gave up and waited for reinforcements.

Gary and Keith to the rescue. Not everyone would be ok dealing with someone else waste outlets, but in saying that we did make sure they were well and truly emptied and left empty for a couple of days to dry out.

Not only did they have to get the replacement valve in place, but it was critical that the two rubber washers were perfectly lined up so as not to create another leak and with little or no wiggle room to move the pipes apart, patience and determination were the key elements as you no sooner got the valve into position then one of the rubber washers would either fall out or be in the wrong position. Grrrrr.

three heads are better than one to nut out the problem, right? The easiest way it seems, was to also remove the grey waste valve giving a little more room to move and then replace the grey valve last as it is smaller and with less other pipe work around it. After a little while it was all done, great team work between the guys and it was time to test. I poured a bucket of water down the toilet to test for any leaks. Holding our breath we waited…..success, no leaks. Then the grey, hooray, it’s all working as it should, no leaks and all cleaned up.

all back together, handles labelled, pipes reinstated, we are now good to go.

A HUGE thank you to Gary and Keith for coming to our aid, it’s times like this that you get to know who your friends are!!!

The things we do

September 22, 2018

Gary & Marg had sold their caravan whilst we were staying with them, however an earlier mishap meant that a new awning had to be put on the caravan before the new owners collected it. So how many people does it take to put on an awning? ….I’ll let you see for yourselves.

Luckily Keith & Debbie had arrived earlier in the day so it was all hands on deck, however the author of this blog post was told she was a little vertically challenged to be of any real assistance, the cheek of it!!! And yes, Roy’s shorts were falling down in the above picture, it got worse a little later!!

showing off the undies and builders crack!

It was a very successful effort and the awning was put in place, tested and they all stood back to admire their handiwork.

The neighbour had been out fishing and gave us some fish, some trevalli which became marinated fish and some kingfish steaks which Marg made for our dinner with a lemon caper butter sauce, it was delicious.

Not to be outdone, we are starting to get our fishing mojo back again with some good catches made. Keith had had his drone out a few times and is bringing in fish every time, including these beauties.

Another late afternoons haul

Around and about with an adventure.

September 17, 2018

We somehow manage to fill each day keeping ourselves very busy, but ask me what are we busy with, and I would be hard pressed to tell you exactly what we get up to! We are still at Gary & Margs place at Tokerau Beach, fishing, eating, talking and keeping ourselves out of mischief, well sort of.

Sue & Dave from Oamaru called in to see us during the week on their holiday to check out the north. We haven’t seen them since we left Oamaru so it was lovely to catch up with all the comings and goings in the town. And again I was too busy talking to remember to take any photos.

Another day we did go for a bit of a tiki tour up to Houhora to get some nice avocados, and at $2 a bag, they are a steal. It was a glorious day.

fishermen retrieving their boats and catches on the outgoing tide.

We decided to treat ourselves to a fish & chip lunch, sitting in the sun, watching the world go by…

Gus (dog) also enjoyed his day at the beach. What’s not to like about it?

We started to head home, but oh no, what’s this? The car is boiling over…

parked on the side of the road waiting for things to cool down.

It was then a very slow trip back to Kaitaia with hazard lights flashing, if we kept below 50km/hr the temperature gauge stayed fairly static and we could make it back safely.

At the garage….Gary showing Roy where the problem lies. I am sure that the garage mechanics will sort it out fellas!

We had to get a ride back out to Tokerau Beach with family who very kindly came to our rescue. And yes, we did get a good supply of avocados after all that. They will go very nicely with fish!

fish, now that is another story, we have been out fishing a couple of times with our kite but without great success. However what’s not to like about being on the beach in this sort of weather.

That’s Roy and Gary gathering a few tuatuas.

Roy and Gary have been out with Gary’s torpedo a couple of times, but the torpedo did have some issues. First it kept going left, which really means it would go around in circles, so off to the repair man it went to be fixed. Once it was returned Gary repaired and replaced all the sealant. That done it was out for a fish, but what’s this? Oh no, the torpedo is slowly getting lower and lower in the water the further out it goes before disappearing altogether and becoming a submarine….hmmm, apparently that new sealant doesn’t like salt water, ooops! They managed to drag the torpedo back to shore where it is now undergoing another repair but this time with the correct sealant.

Meanwhile we wait for the winds to come back so we can get out with the kites again. At least the temperatures are lovely and mild with the shorts and t shirts getting an airing and the sunscreen making an appearance. Summer is on its way.

A week at the beach

September 5, 2018

It’s hard to believe we have been here at Tokerau Beach for a week now and we have done very little but relax and hang out with Gary & Marg.

And can you blame us? This is the view from the deck

Just a short meander down to the beach, although today is really the first day in a while that we have not had terribly strong winds which has meant that kite fishing has definitely not been on the agenda.

If we did put the kite out I am sure that we would have been dragged off the beach and surfed across to South America before stopping! But Gary and Roy did venture out with the torpedo for a fish off the beach and came back with gurnard, kahawai and a couple of good sized snapper. Of course I forgot to take any pictures until Gary was in the middle of filleting the last of the fish.

Delicious fish for dinner for the next couple of nights and even a few fillets for our freezer.

The wind has settled today so hopefully we may just be able to get our new kite out in the next day or two.

We have been catching up with a few chores and as well I have been knitting up a storm, knitting market bags to replace the plastic bags that are the scourge of the planet. I knitted up a whole heap of these about 12 years ago ( I was always a bit before my time!!) but I have now been trying a few different patterns to varying success.

I knit them out of a bamboo/cotton yarn which is pretty much weightless, they scrunch up to take up very little space in your handbag and are very strong. I prefer the original pattern I made years ago (the red one on the right in the above picture), which I have subsequently modified to have two handles which makes for easier loading/unloading and carrying. Anyway, they don’t take very long to knit up, they have interesting stitches and they are practical and make nice presents. Guess what will be given away as presents this Christmas?

Tokerau Beach

August 28, 2018

We beat a hasty retreat out of Kerikeri as the NZMCA Park was jam packed with less than a quarter of the site being able to be utilised due to the very wet and boggy ground. I was going to do a bit of a rant about inconsiderate people who park their tow vehicles to take up as much room as possible so that no one else can get in, but I won’t!!!

With Stuart being away from Kerikeri on a jaunt south we decided that there was no good reason to stay in Kerikeri so with that in mind, we packed up and left after one night.

Onto Tokerau Beach….I can almost hear the sighs of pleasure emanating as we depart Kerikeri and the levels of relaxation rise the further north we go.

crossing one of the single lane bridges, this one just out of Kaeo

shall we stop here for a morning cuppa?

oh, if we must. A coffee with a view

a panoramic shot of Cable Bay

another one lane bridge, this one at Taipa which is being worked on to upgrade it to a two lane bridge.

We arrived at Tokerau Beach and are now parked at friends Gary & Marg’s place for a bit, let’s hope that the fishing is better here than we have been experiencing of late.