Back again

After completing his work in Dunedin in super quick efficient time, Roy managed to get flights back north on Thursday, even managing to have a few hours spare in Auckland where he caught up with Antony over lunch. I picked him up from Kerikeri on Thursday afternoon, then it was back to Kaitaia. We had some pretty terrible weather whilst Roy was in the south which meant that I could not get up to too much mischief on my own!

Friday we were joined by friends Pat and Sue who are joining us for a bit of a northland escape and explore. We all spent the weekend in Kaitaia getting a few minor jobs done as well as stocking up on fruit and veg at the Saturday Farmers market. Saturday afternoon we took a drive out to Matai Bay and Tokerau Beach to scope out suitable parking spots as well as checking to see how busy each place was likely to be, as we had all just realized that school holidays have just started. Although it is probably too early for many families to think about camping holidays just yet.

Sunday and we headed out to Ahipara and 90mile beach as we had been given the heads up on where there were good spots to gather tuatuas. I am sure that the locals must have thought we were a bit mad as they were all well prepared with wetsuits and flax bags.

20130930-161900.jpglocals showing us how it’s done.

We were not gathering too many in our chosen spot until the locals called out for us to take over from where they had been gathering their quota. Roy had an onion sack whilst the rest of us had buckets – not the ideal receptacles as they fill with water, are damn heavy when they do and also act as anchors. We were not prepared for the surf pounding in on us either, one minute up to our knees, the next minute it was waist deep. Sue got completely bowled over at one stage so she was dripping from head to toe. In the end we gave up trying to save ourselves from getting too wet and just got on with collecting shellfish.

20130930-162235.jpg the happy, albeit wet, gatherers.

Back to our vans in Kaitaia, and prepare ourselves for moving on tomorrow. We had already booked the van in for a COF (certificate of fitness) Monday morning, so we knew we had that to get. Also we have to empty all the waste tanks, fill up with fresh water, top up the gas tanks and get some washing done then we could head out to Matai Bay. Which is exactly what we did, and by 11.30am we were on the road to the Karikari peninsular and the DoC (Department of Conservation) camp at Matai Bay.

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Here we are all parked up, washing on the lines, happy to stay put now for a couple of weeks. There is no one else here in the camp so we have it to ourselves. We have parked in a different location to last time, this time positioning ourselves to maximise the sun (for solar power and our own enjoyment) and sheltered from most winds. The DoC officer came along just as we had settled in and after a chat we now have the local knowledge for the good fishing spots. Watch this space!

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