Archive for the ‘beach’ Category

Shhhhh…..we are not telling!

November 6, 2018

Our next destination is a bit of a hidden gem, it’s not advertised anywhere, it’s not listed on any web sites and it’s not in any books. We came across it a couple of years https://brvannini.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/hidden-gem/ so decided to return. Luckily we still had the contact details of the guardian of the site so we rang before making the trek to book in, as well as make sure it was still ok to visit in exchange for a bit of Koha (donation).

We left Tokerau Beach in the rain, accompanied by a terrible gusty wind. We would usually chose not to travel in such wind but it seemed like it was easing, which it did further along in our journey.

We arrived to find that there was no one else here, yay, we can park where we like. We woke the following morning to thIs view from my bedroom window….

and yes, this was taken by me at 7am!

and a panoramic shot taken from the door of the van.

This was also where we saw the Blue whale two years ago, now long gone.

this is us all settled in.

Some people even went for a swim! A tad chilly yet for most of us though.

Well, he (Keith) was a tad warm after hiking out to the end of the point, an hour each way, so I guess cooling off in the sea is not a bad option.

Some of us prefer to sit in the sun and contemplate the world whilst taking in the views

Looking left

looking right, and with that sort of scenery, why wouldn’t you?

Not to be outdone, the following day Deb braved the water for a swim

that’s her swimming along the beach……brrrrrr. It will have to warm up a bit more before I venture in.

We have had a week here and as alluded to in my last post, we have managed to do very little but relax, take time out, go for the odd walk, chill out, fish, swim, relax…..you get the picture? Bliss!

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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!

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.

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.

Uretiti

June 13, 2018

It’s lovely being back on the road, albeit for a brief time and even better being back at Uretiti. Parked up in our favourite spot where there is no one else in sight we can hear the sea just over the sand dunes, and it’s warmer than we have been for a while with overnight temperatures dropping to 15C! A bit better than the frosts and cool weather we had been experiencing at Ardmore. And it’s so nice to be parked on grass again, I’m sure it’s probably psychological but I think it’s warmer than being parked on gravel.

parked up

Hidden behind a few bushes

And just across the road is the beach access, with a Kingfisher/Kotare sitting atop the wind indicator.

Since our last visit, the sand has built up and covered the fence line toward the beach.

with the beach end of the fence disappearing under the sand dunes.

It’s a beautiful day with hardly a soul in sight, and although the wind direction would be perfect for kite fishing neither a Roy nor I feel up to any strenuous exercise right at this moment. Never mind, there will be another time soon I’m sure.

And a panoramic shot of the beach

Back in New Zealand

March 9, 2018

After a couple of good nights sleep we were ready to head down to Kopu to pick up the van. It had been having a bit of TLC whilst we were away with some R&M done with Matt and the excellent crew at Autotech. The van was all ready for us and on a quick inspection of repairs done we were soon on our way back to Auckland where we headed for Ardmore Airport as we would be parked there for the next few days. However, those plans were soon to change.

Roy back at the wheel

The fridge and pantry needed restocking as well as the task of unpacking and sorting out wardrobes ie. put away all the winter clothing particularly as on our return Auckland was putting on its finest weather of high temperatures and energy sapping humidity. There were also appointments to be kept with doctors and specialists which required a bit of planning and tripping across the city. Both Roy and Antony had returned home with some sort of flu virus with Roy ending up with pneumonia, for the next few days he was pretty well bed bound.

But hello, we have another problem that we thought had been resolved before we ventured off on holiday, the fridge was not working and in this heat milk was turning into yoghurt overnight! Any food purchases were kept to a minimum and most of our meals we were having at Antony’s place whilst both he and a Roy recouperated. After making lots of calls to try and sort out the fridge problem, as well as making sure that the previous repairs were still under warranty from both the repairer and the manufacturer and with lots of advice from some “experts” at Ardmore, we eventually upsticks and headed over to see Peter at RVRepairs in Gelnfield. Peter quickly had us on our way after a simple fix, so we then continued northwards to return to Shakespear Park.

on the motorway/carpark!

Whilst we have been on holiday, Pat & Sue have taken over our duties as camp hosts for the summer. Oh it was so nice to be back at the beach, parked on grass and of course great to see lots of familiar faces – Rangers, Volunteers and campers alike welcomed us home like long lost friends.

We settled into our usual routines back at the camp with lots of catching up with friends and family over the past few weeks (which will be the subject of another blog entry), and we have kept ourselves very busy what with one thing and another.

With the beginning of the school year the past few weeks has seen the camp being taken over by lots of school groups so we have decamped into the Self Contained Parking area for the interim but still do our duties from there and keep a watchful eye over the rest of the park. We shall probably stay here for the next week or two as there are more school groups booked in over the coming weeks and it seems stilly to keep moving in and out.

that’s a school group enjoying the water with sailing, paddle boarding and kayaking

and that’s the Navy boys on diving exercises off the beach. They also were in doing night diving exercises some evenings as well.

Our plans at this stage are a little up in the air as Roy starts a course of radiation treatment soon so we have to sort out dates and where we shall base ourselves. And the other news? Well, I am off to see the specialist next week to see about my knees….eeeeekkkk! I have managed to defer having replacements done for 10years now but the time has come where I cannot handle the pain, discomfort nor the lack of being able to stand or walk for any length of time before my knee collapses. Watch this space for what comes next.

Faro

November 21, 2017

A big day in Faro as we tried to fit in as much as possible in our short time here. As we arrived at nightfall there was only the opportunity to have dinner before heading to bed for the night. Again, we have been very lucky with our accommodation, in Faro it’s just a short walk from the train station and our host Vera was waiting for us to show us around the gorgeous apartment before sitting us down and telling us of places to see and what to do.

After a great nights sleep we were off into town to walk around the old town and to get our bearings. Roy had already been off to the market early in the morning so he roughly knew where we were heading. The following are a few scenes from the market, Roy got there just as they were setting up.

Plenty of fresh, fresh fish of all shapes sizes and species.

Plenty of fresh and dried fruits and vegetables as well.

Into town and the marina area first.

we did not have too far to walk to the outskirts of the old town alongside the marina (checking out boats for you Steve!!).

Just outside the old town walls we came across a tuk-tuk, we thought it was a good oppportunity us to have a quick tour of the old town and parts further afield to orient ourselves.

Church inside the old town walls

the outside wall of the old town

After our short history filled tour with guide Ernesto, we walked along the outside old town wall to our next stop, which was to have a boat trip around the National Park wetland area called Ria Formosa.

There are five barrier islands that protect the wetland area from the ocean. Our boat trip took us throughout the low tidal flats that are home to many bird species, many of which we also have similar species in New Zealand, including the pukeko!

the old town walls as seen from the boat.

There are fish farms located within the waterways and we saw a few small boats out with men fishing. It seems as though there is no size limit and they catch and keep everything.

A flock of spoonbills grazing amongst the growth

Once back on land we went back into the old town to have some lunch at one of the restaurants that had been pointed out to us during our tour. We were keen to try the local dish of Cataplana, a fish dish in various forms that is cooked in a covered dish, similar to a Tagine. As this region was once settled by the Moors, it is no surprise that some of their traditions remain.

It was rather delicious and surprisingly light. And included shellfish and fish such as monkfish, bacalhau, clams, mussels and shrimps.

We even decided to try the local desserts, one of us had a portugese tart (rather like a creme caramel) and the other had a portugese cake which is made of almonds, orange and figs. Both were rather delicious as well.

Now very much replete, we headed back to the main square where we had arranged to meet Ernesto again, this time for a tour through the National Park and out to Faro Beach. Again, we learnt lots of the history of the area and also about local agricultural practises, as we passed many farms growing crops of raspberries, oranges and tomatoes to name a few as well as goat farms. This region also produces a large proportion of the worlds cork. Ernesto explained that you can only remove the cork from the tree once every 9 years, with the best cork for wine bottles taken at the third cut. The men that perform this task are very skilled and in high demand.

Tree with cork removed from its lower trunk.

As well as cork and olive trees there are also acres and acres of pine nut trees.

Also within the park are salt pans, all dried naturally in the hot sun.

Salt pans

The salt is settling around the edge of the pans as evaporation does its thing

and once collected, it ends up in large mounds.

There are a large number of birds that call this area home, including spoonbills and flamingoes, however, the flamingoes were too far away for us to get a decent photo of them, besides they were wearing mostly grey feathers today.

We rounded off the day watching the sun set at Faro Beach

with the knowledge that as it dipped down over our horizon it would be popping up over the horizon in New Zealand. Cheers and good health to friends and family at home 🍹.

Last days in Porto

November 18, 2017

Initially we planned to stay in Porto for 3 nights but ended up staying 8 nights in total, it really is a lovely place which was particularly enhanced by the fact that we had clear blue skies most days. Now that I was feeling a lot better we had a couple of things we wanted to either go back to do, or to see, before we departed.

We had a trip out along the coast to Matosinhos, on the northern side of Porto across the Duoro river, with a long stretch of white sandy beach it is popular with surfers and beach goers alike.

We came across some interesting sculptures, the first an homage to the fishermen who made their living in this area. The sculpture is a flexible stylised fishing net with the mesh net billowing in the breeze. At night it is floodlit with changing colours which must make a spectacular sight.

Further along the beach is a poignant statue of a group of wailing women and children all looking out to the sea. The statue is a tribute to the fishermen of Matosinhos and their families. the victims of a tragedy when 4 fishing boats were wrecked in storm on December 2 1947, a total of 152 men lost their lives which greatly affected the area leaving over 200 orphans and 71 widows resulting in serious economic and social problems in the region.

We were surprised to hear that there is a direct connection between New Zealand and Porto, lining the foreshore in Foz is a stand of Pohutakawa trees. They must look spectacular when they flower in the summer.

The beach sweeps around to the exit of the Duoro River and we travelled along the river edge back toward the city. We passed fishermen packing up their nets for the day

Boats moored in the river

Looking across the river to a castle and grounds

Heading back into town, a traditional boat cruising down the river

Last but not least we went for a ride on the funicular which takes passengers from the river bank up to the old part of town.

passing another carriage on our way down

looking back up at the funicular

the funicular showing it’s clever leveling system

The single track funicular uses a central loop system that is nearly 300m in length, allowing it to descend the 61m with the steepest gradient below the passing loop. Due to the slope along the line, the cars have self-levelling platforms allowing the car floor to maintain its horizontal position no matter the incline. You exit at the top near the Dom Luís I Bridge, and the lower level exits along the river edge along the Ribiera.

We also went back to the local market to pick up a couple of souvenirs for ourselves, we didn’t stay too long as the smell of the fish at the market was a little too much for my still delicate tummy to handle!!

So that’s the end of the Porto segment, there is so much more we could have written and lots more photos of places and things we have seen and done but it’s time for us to move on.

Obrigado Porto.

A day at the beach

October 29, 2017

It’s not all sightseeing and gallivanting on our holiday, we do chill out as well. Swimming in the pool at the villa is always on the agenda, and to be honest, to allow us to cool down, we also went swimming in the sea and we can now say that we have swum in the Atlantic Ocean.

A couple of mornings before breakfast, Roy, Alex, Christine and I went to the local beach at Costa Teguise for an early morning swim and after a few days of running around it was decided that a day off to chill out would be in order. Alex & Ian were to spend the day at the beach (and to have a break from hanging out with the oldies!!), Roy and I were going to go down to meet them for a swim before going off to explore another beach on the other side of the island and Barry & Christine were going off to visit a cactus garden in the north.

Having a swim later in the morning meant that the beach had filled with tourists and locals alike all enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful clear waters.

yes, that is Ian at the left of the picture with ice cream in hand

Once we had had our dip, we left them to relaxing in the sun and Alex was also keen to have a go at paddle boarding.

Alex coming into shore from paddle boarding.

Roy and I headed off over to the other side of the island to a beach area renown for its surf, a beach called Playa de Famara.

it was a lovely drive over, with the landscape changing from volcanic to more tussocky and sandy, a lot like the dessert road we thought.

We came over the hill to be met by a large sweeping vista down to the ocean.

The entrance to the parking area at the beach

There were lots of people surfing and many more swimming, although I could not figure out the flag system they had set out as it appeared that people were swimming and surfing all along the beach.

After a wander along the beach, which we noticed was bereft of any shells, and watching the surfies battle the waves, it was time for us to return to home base, and another dip in the pool.

perhaps this time someone will tame that unicorn!!!