Archive for the ‘beach’ Category

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!

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?