Archive for the ‘beach’ Category

Still here

June 5, 2020

We haven’t moved as we had originally planned. The thinking was that as we move down to Level 2 on the Covid-19 scale, we could move on and start heading north for the winter, NB Southern Hemisphere means moving north for warmer weather whereas our northern hemisphere friends would move south. However, moving down the alert scale also meant that things were returning to some semblance of normality with people returning to work and usual schedules. Hence we seemed to have a flurry of appointments to attend.

In between we had more friends visiting. Helen & Don as well as Wade & Lindsay visited for lunch one day. It was so lovely to have them here and to catch up after being in lockdown. We enjoyed hearing about their lockdown tales, both of them spent lockdown looking after grandchildren, which we were of course very envious of. I’m sure they have created wonderful memories of the strange year that was.

Carol & Glen came to stay in the Self Contained parking area and we enjoyed catching up with them before they headed north. It’s interesting to note how we all enjoyed our unique lockdown experiences, I’m sure we can all take some positives out of 2020.

Roy had a recall to the eye specialist, the upshot being he will be having cataract surgery at the end of the year. It’s not urgent as yet, but best to get onto these things before they become too much of an issue, so December was chosen as the best timing for us.

Roy also has an appointment next week for a repair and replacement to one of his hearing aids, it was scheduled of course for the first week of lockdown but we’ve had to wait until now to get it fitted.

It hasn’t stopped the odd hour or so spent fishing…

An hour of fishing.

We cannot complain about the weather we’ve had all the way through this lockdown period. I’m not sure if it’s because we have all paused for a month or two and had to actually take note of the weather. I’ve always thought that autumn was our most settled patch of weather here in NZ, but this year we had a lovely summer as well and the nice days just rolled into each other for an extended time. It’s starting to get a bit cooler and a bit of rain around now as well which brings to me to our next bit of planning.

We have the van booked in for some maintenance work to be done, actually it’s a major….with the roof being resealed. We had a little bit of a leak develop that Roy seems to have fixed however it seems prudent that we get it sorted properly. That will be in done in just over a week and will take 2 or 3 days so we shall be having a little holiday at Chez Antony.

Moving on down

May 13, 2020

It seems as though most of NZ thought that we were already out of Covid-19 level 3 and had moved to level 2 well before it was happening. Particularly over the last weekend it seemed as though the fine weather gave people a ‘get out of jail’ card and ventured out to the beaches, some travelling quite a distance. We too have ventured to the beach but as it’s just a 150m walk from the van, the beach is well within our local area.

View along the beach on our walk

Although there were a few more people on the beach throughout the weekend, at least during the week we basically have it to ourselves.

We just hope that we do not come out of lockdown too early as we see what has happened overseas with a resurgence of the virus. We can only hope that people are still sensible.

Last week I had my flu jab, Roy had his a few weeks ago at our Doctors. I was scheduled to have it done at the same time after I had my PICC line removed but my appointment times overran each other which meant that I missed out, instead I had it done last week at the local pharmacy. The appointment was made, I was told not to get out of the car as they would administer the vaccine whilst I remained in the car and was vaccinated through the opened window. Easy as.

We also ventured out in the van to fill up with LPG as we have a large built in tank which fuels our fridge, cooker and hot water. It’s about 30kms to the nearest fuel station that also has auto LPG, but it didn’t take us long to get there and return back to our parking spot. Parking at a slightly different angle than previously to make sure we get as much sun as possible for our solar power.

Parked in the sun

This week we have tried our luck fishing off the beach. Now of course the problem was how to get the fishing line out to a reasonable distance off shore. The wind was blowing the wrong way for the kite, our drone compatriots are locked down elsewhere in the country, so what are we to do? Kayak fishing is not allowed in level 3 of lockdown but fishing is now allowed, as is kayaking…..hmmmm, put the thinking cap on. Bruce to the rescue, he came with his kayak, dragged the end of our line 300m off shore, dropped it off and came back to shore and left us to wait.

A little dot somewhere out there on the water is Bruce in the kayak

And what do you know? It worked! 7 snapper caught the first day, but only one was kept, even though some of the others were of legal size (just), we sent them back into the ocean to grow a little more. The following day we had another go with this time two very nice fish kept and a further four returned to swim again.

A couple of nice fish

Yum, fresh fish for dinner. And if you are wondering, the platter that the fish are sitting on is 60cm in length, so both good sized fish.

Thursday (tomorrow) is the day we change to level 2 rules, I think we will shy away from the shops until the excitement/madness wears off.  It’s all very well having all this spare time locked down but you need supplies to do all those things you’ve been meaning to do.  I must say that the hardware store and the wool shop will be on my must visit list as soon as possible.

We still have to remain careful so remember to wash your hands, keep your social distance, wear a mask, wash your hands and wash your hands.

Visitors, surgery and stuff!

February 14, 2020

We had another busy weekend with visitors as well as a campground full of people. Antony came up for the weekend with the drawcard being the Friday night poker with Roy and others. Niece Fran came to visit for the day on Saturday with her eldest daughter Bea and cousin Finn. The kids had a great time at the beach playing in the water, even though the tide was waaaaaay out.

Fran standing at the waters edge, coaxing Bea and Finn back into the shallows!!

Bea and Finn…butter wouldn’t melt in their darling wee mouths!

They also had fun sliding down the hill on their boogie boards in the campground, it kept them amused for some time.

Sliding down the grass bank.

We’ve had incredible weather over the past couple of months and we are now officially in drought conditions. The situation further north is really serious as we know that in some places public access to water taps has been cut off, and some campgrounds have had to close due to lack of water. There are restrictions in place for householders and in some towns, the situation is extremely serious.

Here, we have put out water in shallow containers for the birds, which we seem to have to refill a couple of times a day for them, but they are desperate for water. The bigger problem is of course that the ground is so hard that birds like Kiwi cannot dig into the baked earth for food, and we know that in some areas further north, Kiwi are dying because of the lack of food and/or water.

But back to our visitors. Friends Pat & Steve called in and stayed for a night in their caravan on their way south, it was great to catch up with them again whilst spending a couple of days with them. Another friend John came to stay with his 3 sons for a few days R&R. John also writes a blog which you can read here. Of course I forgot to take photos didn’t I?

I also got confirmation of my surgery plans for Monday and the diagnosis from the MRI. Apparently I have “mild canal stenosis at the L4/L5 level due to disc bulging and severe hypertrophic facet joint osteoarthritis, particularly on the left side”. Dr Google helped with the understanding of all this, plus the explanation of “the trochanteric Avulsion fracture, non-union, of the left hip”. In a nutshell, it means that I’m a crock of rubbish bones….shoulda got better genes! However, it does mean that the knee replacement can go ahead on Monday and as long as everything goes to plan and I recover as well as last time, we will be on our way to the UK in April as planned.

We can’t wait to see this wee happy fellow again.

Callum.

Moving on

November 26, 2019

All good things must come to an end as it was time to leave Rarawa; the lovely beach, the fishing, the relaxation….but needs must.

Leaving the white silica sands of Rarawa Beach, until next year!

Before we left and went our separate ways we all had a final brunch together in the glorious morning sun.

L-R: Keith, Deb, Roy, Bernice, Glen with Carol taking the photo

The exit gate at the camp was potentially a little tricky to exit as there is a large ditch either side of the entrance which was eroding away making the entrance narrower. In the days prior to our leaving, a car had crashed into the ditch, it had been retrieved out of the ditch but left on the side of the road right by the entrance. I went ahead of Roy to see him out of the gate safely and we would hook the car on the back after he had exited.

Sign at the entrance

The entrance and road in to the camp

It was actually an easy exit but as we have a long wheel base it’s always best to check. Safely hooked up we ventured into Kaitaia to dump the tanks, fill with gas and water before spending the night at the RSA. The next morning we were off again, we weren’t going too far though, just to the NZMCA park at a Tokerau beach for a couple of days. Glen & Carol were heading off to Matai Bay for a couple of weeks whereas we are now slowly working our way back down to Shakespear for our summer stint there.

And of course whilst at Tokerau, we just had to have a last fish, some good snapper were caught and as well Roy caught a good sized Kahawai to add to his varied species collection.

Roy with his Kahawai

This was smoked and became a lovely smoked fish pie for us to share.

We had just a few days at Tokerau Beach, visiting friends and generally catching our breath. We visited Jim at Ramp Road which is not too far away, and a very popular spot these days. We have stayed there in the past but these days prefer other options.

We were soon underway again after a few days, this time just as far as Kerikeri. We had planned to be at Kerikeri for a Saturday morning so we could all visit the very good market that is on every week. Our favourite German bread maker is there (hi Peter) and we love trying out new things that always seem to be on offer at the market.

Roy also managed to catch up with his cousin Stuart whilst we were in Kerikeri and we generally added to the locally economy through one thing or another, as we usually do. Soon it was time to farewell Kerikeri and head further south, the weather is glorious, summer is definitely on its way.

Rarawa part three

November 20, 2019

Not everything relates to fishing, the sea, beaches, sunshine……you get the picture, but the fish are still biting and in particular, onto Roys line. So much so I’ve been told that if he’s not careful, no one else will want to play with him soon if he keeps on winning!

In between fishing and Tuatua gathering I have not been idle by any stretch off the imagination as my hands have been busy knitting some winter items for Callum.

A few of the knitted items

I’ve already completed a couple of jerseys and hats for him as the weather starts to cool off in the UK, and I really enjoy keeping my hands busy.

And with a few scraps of wool I managed to make these as well

Mittens

And just in case you have forgotten what Callum looks like…

And he’s off, slow down mate, you are only 4 1/2 months old!

At the circus with Mum and cousin Olivia. The earmuffs mandatory!

Oh and two new teeth as well!

He’s growing so fast, but with video chats we get to talk to him regularly and it won’t be too long before we are back visiting him.

Now back to the fishing!

Tokerau Beach

October 30, 2019

(Still in catch up mode….).

We finally left Uretiti heading towards Kerikeri and the NZMCA parking site for a couple of nights to hunker down, out of the way of an impending storm that was forecast.

Apparently we missed most of the storm but we heard from others who were still at Uretiti that they suffered 100km/hr winds and terrible driving rain, and it wasn’t very pleasant at all but much better than the snow, wind and rain that we saw the rest of the country was suffering. Spring weather at its finest showing its true self.

The ground at Kerikeri was very very boggy with most of the site cordoned off and reduced to a small area that had scoria laid down, even then we sank into the ground a bit. We can report that we had no leaks through our roof so we can presume that it had been well and truly fixed.

Roy also got a chance to have a catch-up with his cousin Stuart to discuss genealogical matters and other projects going on in their respective lives. As well, we lined the pockets of a number of establishments in and around Kerikeri stocking up the larders, getting a few maintenance matters sorted, buying wool for this grandma to knit up, and some of the touring party apparently visited the chocolate shop (I resisted 😇), as well as numerous other sundry items were purchased.

After a couple of nights ‘enjoying’ the very wet ground at Kerikeri, we were soon on our way again heading further north, this time to Tokerau Beach, and the NZMCA parking area.

It wasn’t long before the blokes decided it was time to have a fish, and for Roy to perfect his method of launching his baits and line with Keith’s drone.

Glen launching his drone next to Keith’s

Keith launching his drone and line

Now for some reason I did not take many pictures of the fish caught, but suffice to say over the four or five days, quite a number of fish were caught, processed, eaten and many vacuum packed and frozen.

Roys first catch

A good start

Roy was gaining a bit of a reputation of catching the largest fish each time they went out, and he was not allowed to forget it either!!

A couple of trips into Kaitaia for laundry and shopping were done whilst we were here. My vacuum sealer finally gave out after many years of good use (it would vacuum but not seal) so a trip into the shops to buy a new one was in order.

Food vacuum sealer

The freezer is getting nicely full of fish for us to enjoy over the summer months when we are parked up camp hosting at Shakespear. As well, lots of fish is being eaten, from whole fish, to fillets cooked every which way, to curries and the like.

Fish fish fish

We have our favourite dishes that we regularly come back to, after trying many many recipes. Sometimes the simplest is the best especially for such fresh fish.

Deb had a birthday whilst we were here, Keith cooked dinner of crumbed Weiner Schnitzel with a cauliflower mash, salads and veg which was all very good and I made a dessert of lime pannacotta with citrus salad and passionfruit.

Dessert

We do eat very well.

Time to leave here and head further north whilst the weather is reasonable, again we are picking our days to travel as with another bit of windy weather due, we make the most of calmer days.

Matata

April 9, 2019

We left Taupo initially planning to go to Rotorua, once there we first headed to the dump station before we decided that we would continue on through to Matata as there was nothing in Rotorua that necessitated us staying on.

Now we have been to Matata a number of times so we know the place quite well. On reflection it seems we have been coming here at about this time of the year, every year since 2013 – apart from last year as let’s face it, last year was a s@#* year for us both health wise.

It is usually relatively quiet at this time of the year at the DoC camp, however there are still quite a number of people passing through, both locals and tourists. But can anyone explain to me (yes, even after 8 years on the road I cannot fathom this out), why do people insist on parking right next to you when there is a whole camp to choose from? Beats me. It seems as though this occurs more often at the weekends. Again I cannot fathom why. Must be our magnetic personalities.

We try and park away from others which we have managed quite nicely, for the moment.

with a bit of space around us after the “weekend warriors” had left.

The beach is beautiful although not a safe swimming beach but is usually good for fishing.

Looking south along the beach toward Whakatane

Looking north towards Tauranga

We can attest that it is much warmer here on the coast from what we experienced in Taupo before we left. The winter clothes and duvet have been put away again, in the interim!

Happy New Year

December 31, 2018

It’s been a bit of a busy old week between Christmas and New Year what with one thing or another. There are 160 campers (maximum daily capacity) to deal with and all their associated queries, assistance and issues.

Here are a few pics of the camp ground after the rain,

View from above with large areas roped off due to wet ground and lakes forming

And some of the camping set ups are quite impressive, this group of friends have their tents on the left with a corridor between their 5 gazebos all lined up in a row.

And this is one set up we rarely see, a fence around their camp site, we are not sure if it is to keep their children in, or other people out!

And we have had a few friends visit this week which has been wonderful.

First there was Brian, a very dear friend whom we met on our very first week in our motorhome and subsequently met and travelled with him and his dear wife & best mate Marj who died at the beginning of the year. We had a few trips away together including the Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay and to Cape Reinga and points in between before they sold their bus. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane reminiscing about places we had journeyed to and people we have met, and a bit of a tribute to Marj, an amazing lady who is greatly missed but remembered with lovely memories.

The following day we had a visit from Jude & Shaun, friends from Tokoroa days who now live in Te Anau. They were up in Auckland celebrating the festive season with a couple of their children who live here, and with their granddaughter who they are now raising after the tragic sudden death of their daughter Lesley. They are doing an amazing job and it was great to catch up, reminisce, then discuss and solve the problems of the world!

Of course I neglected to take any photos of either visit!

The next day Helen & Don (Oamaru) came in their motorhome to stay with us for a few days and to see the new year in.

This is the 2018 photo

And this is the 2014 version!!!

not a lot has changed!

We have been very fortunate this year with many gifts given to us from grateful campers, we have enough chocolates and wine to last us quite a while, we even got some lovely solar powered Christmas lights from some, and the live crayfish from other campers was very gratefully accepted 😉.

We would like to wish all our readers a very happy, safe, healthy and contented 2019 and we look forward to many more adventures to share. Cheers.

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!

.

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!