Archive for the ‘camping’ Category

Windy summer

January 24, 2017

It was a little windy over the weekend, well, let’s be honest it’s been damn windy for the past couple of months or so it seems.  But the past weekend we were well warned of the impending weather “bomb” bringing with it torrential rain and high winds.

We took our awning down on Saturday afternoon, even though we are reasonably sheltered in our parking bay, everything else was put away in readiness for the forecast rain and wind.  Some campers who were scheduled to leave on Sunday, packed up a day early so they had dry gear to return home with…sensible people.  Steve came up for the evening as he and Roy were planning to go fishing in the morning, at this stage the wind was annoying but nothing too serious.  After dinner, we settled in to watch a movie, then the rain started and the wind started to pick up.  We watched campers scurrying around tying down tents with extra ropes, hammering in pegs and generally battening down the hatches.  

Time for an early night as the blokes were going to be up by 5.30am to go fishing.  By early evening the rain had settled in, the wind was buffeting us occasionally but generally speaking all was well. However I cannot sleep when the winds are so strong as I hear every creak, groan and crash, besides, I was concerned that the gazebo we had borrowed was getting a buffeted.  I was up and down I don’t know how many times, checking on it, then watching campers torch beams light up flapping tents with loose ropes flying.   At around 1am there was a huge gust of wind, the van rocked and I was sure I heard something so I get up yet again to investigate.  Sure enough the gazebo has been lifted, I yell at Roy to wake him up (who has slept through everything so far – the joys of being able to remove your ‘ears’), whilst he puts on some clothes I dash outside in my nightie.  Outside,  I find Steve trying to grapple the flipped gazebo and hold it away from his car as the legs of the gazebo just missed his car by millimetres.  Roy joined us and we wrestled the gazebo back to its rightful position and proceed to figure out how to take it down.  Not an easy task, in the dark, in the rain, with the wind at near gale force and none of us really knowing how the damn gazebo worked as when we had put it up on Christmas Eve we both had left it to others in th family to put it up !! Once we figured out that we could just snib the clips on each corner leg, we could walk the four corners in and fold it up nicely.  

It must have been strong gust of wind to pull these anchoring pins out of the ground!

A clothes peg used for size comparison

Roy then went on to help some of the campers whose tent had collapsed, taking with him extra ropes and  pegs.  I should admit here that I have Roy on a bit for collecting bits and pieces, especially tent ropes, the odd pole or two and a plethora of tent pegs, but I have to admit that the large bag of ropes, ties and pegs have now come in handy!!!!  These were used for the same campers who earlier in the day we had loaned our spare inflatable bed as they had forgotten the vital part for their air bed….the plug!  Poor people, apparently their tent leaked, then it collapsed,  in the end, they got in their car and went home leaving everything behind only to return in the morning to retrieve what remained.  Many other campers also decamped during the night as tents leaked, some got large rips in them and others just had had enough.  
By the time we got back to bed it was nearly 3am, the alarm went off at 5.15am and no, Roy does not hear it as he has his hearing aids out, so I wake, wake him up and then try and get back to sleep.  Needless to say very little sleep was had on Saturday night and Sunday night was definitely early to bed. But they guys did catch some snapper so all was not in vain.

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

December 31, 2016

It’s always interesting to look back to see what we have done over the past year, and this year has been just as interesting and as fun as ever.

After finishing our camp hosting duties as Shakespear we headed off southwards to the southern most point on the North Island, extensively explored the Wairarapa, checked out every beach along the southern east coast and Hawkes Bay before heading north to the northernmost part of the North Island as well as points in between. We have met lots of new people, met up with friends both from long ago and more recent and from near and afar.  We have wined & dined, from first class to basic with the most memorable meals  being the ones shared with good friends.

We have had great success this year fishing and catching, catching enough to feed us and to share with others as well as stock the freezer.  

We have met up with family along the way, not an easy task coming from a large family but we do try and keep in touch with all of the generations.  We have welcomed a long awaited daughter for Roy’s son Simon & wife Anita, which makes that a total of 5 grandchildren – so far…..no pressure kids!! We also welcomed three other great nieces this year – at the last count we are up to 11 nieces, 3 nephews, 12 great nieces, 12 great nephews and 2 great great nieces and one great great nephew.  Phew! 

We are both fortunate that we have experienced good health over the past year (long may it last), and apart from the odd accidental injury, our children and grandchildren are healthy as well.

We bade farewell to some good friends over the year, we remember them all fondly and especially the memories we share.

As we look forward to 2017 we know we have plenty to look forward to, culminating with a trip to the UK & Europe later in the year, a trip which we are just a little excited about.  

I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures of our set up this year at Shakespear, complete with our own Pohutakawa resplendent in all its Christmas colours.


Here’s wishing you every good health and happiness and all the best for 2017.

Christmas 2016

December 28, 2016

Christmas has been and gone for another year. 

We celebrated it with some of the family on Christmas Eve with my brother Steve and wife Leslie setting up camp behind the van and we also put up our tent for our son Antony who joined us for a few days.  Steve and Les’ three daughters, husbands and children all came out for the day as well as one of my sister Hilary’s daughters, Amy.

The planning started well before hand, with the menu sorted and organised with input from everyone, all should go easily and smoothly on the day.  To add to our planned menu, Ranger Bruce arrived the night before bearing a gift of a side of freshly caught Kingfish Kingfish prior to being cleaned up. 

The kingfish was boned and cut into portions with half of it smoked on Christmas Eve to add to our lunch of glazed Ham, Moroccan spiced Lamb Leg, garlic & rosemary roasted potatoes, lemon zuchinni & asparagus with goats cheese, baby leaf salad with baby tomatoes, snow peas, radishes, seeds and white balsamic dressing.  But to start off the proceedings a large sharing platter was laid down the length of the tables artfully arranged on large banana leaves; cheeses, pates, dips, truffle cured lomo, hot smoked salmon, capers, relishes, crackers and breads completed the feast.   

Once everyone arrived we got into the present opening.  Every year we do a secret Santa present for each of the adults with everyone buying a gift to a pre agreed value, before pulling numbers out of a hat and taking turns choosing a present BUT once you open your gift, you can choose to either keep it or exchange it with someone else’s already opened present.  It adds much hilarity to the proceedings.

Shaun getting assistance opening his present

Steve and Sarah watch Amy open her gift.


Steve trying to swap his gift

Discussing options
 The youngest family members Georgia and Emily having a chat

Once the adults have their turn, then it’s time for the families to exchange gifts

Asher and Ben opening their gifts from Erin

Christmas time for our family also heralds lots of birthdays, with Christmas Eve being Finn’s 6th birthday.  

Finn and his cake with his mum Sarah looking on
Blowing out the candle

And to show that Antony does get to hold a baby occasionally

Antony and Georgia
Later in the afternoon we had dessert which comprised of a sharing platter of; passionfruit meringues, fresh strawberries, chocolate brownies, white chocolate blondies, berry coulis, apricot tartlets, and coconut yoghurt.  It was all beautifully laid out to resemble a Xmas wreath complete with mint leaf garnishes, as usual I forgot to take any pictures and of course there was birthday cake as well. 

Everyone had to leave by late afternoon so the evening was spent very quietly with a ham sandwich for dinner.  Christmas Day we feasted again with a boned turkey which was stuffed with a cranberry stuffing and brined.  We cooked it on the BBQ and I have to say it was damn delicious complete with gravy, cranberry sauce and roasted veg.  And some people think that we don’t eat well living in a motorhome!

Wishing you all safe and happy holiday season and best wishes for 2017.

I shall leave you with this view of the Pohutakawa as viewed through the bedroom window in the van which will be a stark contrast to the white Christmas we shall experience next year in the northern hemisphere.

Rarawa – Kaitaia – Houhora

October 21, 2016

The weather gods decided to play in our favour so we could finally get out to do some fishing.  Roy and I had good success over the first couple of days with one or two snapper caught each day which meant we could enjoy fish for dinner nearly every night.  It’s just a short drive from the camp to the other end of the beach where there is vehicle access onto the beach

An overview of the camp area wedged between the curves of the river. 

Last Friday Roy and I decided that we would go down to the beach and have another fish, the weather was overcast with the odd shower coming through but we thought it was worth going to the beach and having a try, besides, it’s better being on the beach than finding jobs to do in the van.  So off we went and we soon had our kite out flying, not too far out though as we know that there is a reef about 900m off shore and we don’t want to get our lines caught on the reef.  We text Pat & Sue to let them know that the wind was going in the right direction for kite fishing so they came down as well and set their kite out further along the beach.  

Once the kite is safely locked off its just a waiting game, when we play the guessing game of trying to determine how long we should keep the line in the water – usually we figure about an hour is good.But what do we do for an hour?  sometimes one of us will  wander off for a walk along the beach and a beachcomb, other times is just a matter of sitting and waiting.  This time however, we came prepared. As we can drive the car onto the beach and sit in the car to wait we had brought with us with our wifi router and iPads with headphones so we could both watch/listen to our individual choices of programmes and dodge the showers.

Waiting….
For this lovely lot to be hauled ashore

6 snapper ranging from 36 -40cm plus a 55cm Trevally

 
Not to be outdone, Pat & Sue caught 3 snapper and a small trevally.  With all this fish to deal with We thought  that it would be a shame to waste the fish frames and heads as there is plenty of edible fish left behind. We sometimes smoke the heads and wings and have lots of smoked fish but this time we thought we could give them away.  I had read about a web site that puts you in contact with people who are happy to pick up heads and frames for their use so we decided to give it a go.  I rang a lady on the list and yes she would love to come and pick up the heads and frames. Within an hour she was at the camp delightedly taking away all the heads and frames.  The website is Free Fish Heads a fantastic initiative as it means there is no waste.   The lady rang me later that evening to say thank you, that she really appreciated having such lovely fresh fish heads and her family really enjoyed them. 

It’s not all fishing and relaxing when we are on the beach though, one day Roy and I were just settling down to wait patiently for the line to do it’s thing when we see a young lady come walking toward us with purpose in her stride.  When she finallygot to us, she was so out of breath and in between sobs, she struggled to talk.  We sat her down and tried to calm her somewhat before she could tell us of her tale of woe.   It seemed that her car had skidded off the road back at the entrance to the camp. She had already walked into the camp area to try and find help but as there was no one around she had then trekked down to the beach to find us.  Poor thing was beside herself. I took her back to her car to see if we could tow it out, but it was too difficult and I did not want to create even more damage to her car by attempting to move it so after much discussion we called a local towing company.  They were with us pretty quickly after only waiting 20minutes, in that time I discovered she was visiting from Argentina and was hoping the car was not too badly damaged as she only had a week left in New Zealand.  Once she was sorted I left her in the capable hands of the tow truck driver and returned to the beach to help Roy pull in our line.

Ooops!
This is not the first accident we have seen on this particular corner, as on previous visits to Rarawa we have seen a couple of vehicles on their side either in this ditch or the one on the opposite side of the road.  

We had to leave Rarawa on Sunday as we had the van booked in at Kaitaia Tractors on Monday to have its annual service, and to have the brake linings replaced and for it to have it’s CoF done Tuesday morning.  So what are we to do all day whilst the van is in the workshop? We go out to Tokerau Beach to catch up with Gary & Marg.  To cut a long story short, we ended up staying the night with them.  During the afternoon we headed off to the beach and collected a bucket of Tuatuas which we will shell and eat later as fritters.   That evening, we all thought it would be a great idea to watch a movie…Gary  & Roy – both of whom spent their working careers in IT – spent a good wee while trying to sort out TV, connections, PC and cables with lots of muttering and mumbling going on…it looked like this

We picked up the van on Tuesday afternoon, initially we had hoped to return to Rarawa but the camp had been closed that day for the next 3 weeks as DoC are treating the campsite for Argentinian Ants.  So plan B was instigated.  Instead we headed back up to Houhora where Pat & Sue were already parked and here we will stay for a week. 


 Pat & Sue wanted to go and do some fishing in their wee boat, and with Houhora having a safe harbour they can easily launch it and go off fishing in and around the harbour.  But it’s only 15 minutes from here to Rarawa so yesterday Roy & I went up to have another fish off the beach.  We sent the kite up, attached the long line and proceeded to wait.  

Roy baiting up the hooks.

On hauling the line back in we only had one fish on the line, a reasonable sized Kahawai  which we decided to use as bait and immediately sent the line straight back out again.  The next retrieve was much more successful with these two beauties landed to take home.

44cm and 62cm
Needless to say we have had fish on the menu most days and as well, the freezer is full of vacuum sealed packs of fish fillets, enough to keep us going for sometime.

The long and winding road

March 11, 2016

By Wednesday morning the gales had subsided and we were soon on the road heading toward Gladstone which is just out of Masterton in the Wairarapa, to meet up with Pat & Sue as we are off to the Wairarapa Harvest Wine & Food Festival this weekend.  We set off from Feilding taking just a small detour to the dump station before we were tootling along quite nicely enjoying the ever changing landscape. We caught glimpses of the Apiti Wind Farm peeping out from cloud covered hills.

 
 Apiti wind farm under the clouds

It wasn’t too long before we came to the Manawatu Gorge, we had heard a lot about this road through the gorge, its reputation preceded it so it was with some trepidation we approached the route.   Yes, it is a winding, narrow road but with all traffic travelling at a sensible, appropriate speed and it was not long before we came out of the other side.

    

  Manawatu gorge
Before long we passed through many small rural towns including Woodville, Pahiatua and Eketahuna not to forget Mangatainoka – the home of Tui Beer.

      Tui Brewery

Our GPS took us through one very convoluted bypass around Masterton to arrive at Gladstone Scenic Reserve where Pat & Sue were waiting, having just recently arrived.

  All parked up!

Some people

January 14, 2016

Some people are a worry.  Over the past few days we have had a few interesting “incidents”.  It started off when I (Bernice) put my back out, I managed to do this very easily by picking up a bucket of water and twisting around at the same time.  Ouch!  I must say that it was abrather painful event and continues to be so.   I could hardly stand up let alone walk any distance without looking like an old woman with a severe stoop!  Rest, painkillers and anti inflammatory cream was the recipe for recovery, the first two of which I could happily administer myself but I had to trust Roy with the applicationof the cream.  It all went well for the first few days, I rested as best I could without aggravating things and the painkillers helped a little.  Roy was very good at rubbing in the anti flam ointment, very carefully applying the cream without inflicting too much pressure thus making by back even more painful.  That was until one evening, when he was half way through rubbing in the ointment he said “oh no this doesn’t feel right”.   Well, what is girl supposed to think? A lump? A rash? What’s wrong, I asked?  Oh damn, says he, I’ve used the wrong tube of ointment, I thought I grabbed the Voltaren gel but instead I’ve used the Polident!!  For those of you not au fait with such things, Polident is a denture fixative and now my back was covered with the stuff.  Yes, I did see the funny side of it and no, I have not discovered a new cure for backache!

On Sunday, friends Colin & Edwina arrived to stay at Shakepsear for a week, they had booked a few months ago before they knew that we were in fact returning to be Camp Hosts.  Once the greetings were over and a site sorted for them to set up camp, we set about helping them put up their tents and gazebo.  It did not take us too long to get everything ship shape, by then it was time to have some lunch.  As we were sitting at the table having lunch, Roy seemed to be constantly asking us to repeat everything being said, I noticed that I could not see his hearing aid in his left ear so asked him why he hadn’t put his hearing aids in today. Oooops, and bugger, yep, you guessed it, he had lost his hearing aid.  Well, it must be around Colin & Ed’s tent somewhere having been knocked out when he was crawling around under the tent.  After much searching without any luck, we resigned ourselves to the fact that it was well and truly lost and at cost of over $7000 per aid, it is not exactly a cheap exercise to replace them.  It did not make it any easier to find when we realised that it could have been lost at any time during the morning and anywhere within the camp as earlier in the day he had gone for for a walk wearing his headphones, and we presumed that when he has stopped to talk to people and removed his headphones that he may well have dislodged it at any time.

With lots of other campers coming and going throughout the day it was soon time for Roy to do his afternoon rounds.  This consists of welcoming in new campers and making sure everyone knows where essential amenities are located and answering any questions people may have.  Today though, he also asked campers to please keep an eye out for the missing hearing aid, and also saying that we would happily offer a reward to anyone finding it.  Well, that set the tone for the rest of the afternoon as the children of the camp (around 60 of them) took it upon themselves to do a thorough search of the camp ground.  We had a constant stream of small groups of children coming to ask where did Roy think he last had it, or could they search around the van, or has anyone found it yet.  Their diligence and eagerness was just delightful to see, I guess it was a new form of treasure hunt.  But by the time evening and darkness descended on the campground, the hearing aid was still missing.  Heavy sigh.

Next morning and the search continued with a constant stream of people stopping by to see if it had been located, and the head Ranger Bruce was going to come later in he day with his new metal detector to see if he could locate it.   Colin had crawled all through their tents feeling through the floor to see if it was under their tent, he found lots of twigs and foliage but alas no hearing aid.  We had previously executed a throrough search through the van, looking in all the usual places; beside the bed, in the bed and under the mattress, on the floor in the bedroom and bathroom, in the kitchen and living areas, under chairs, down the sides of chairs, everywhere you could think of all without any luck. Then Roy got down on the floor to have a look under his desk which is set into the front dashboard and what do you know? There, right at the very front tucked into a deep dark corner …….there it was!  Phew, relief all around.  and a collective woohoo from the campers as well, life could return to normal status. 

Some people eh?

PS.  Another search for a damn hearing aid was again mounted this morning….I definitely put it here he said! …….but no, it was found elsewhere! 

Hosting 

January 7, 2016

Life as camp hosts provides us with varied days, we get asked for all sorts of information such as where to get gas bottles filled, to which walking tracks take, what time do the gates close and everything in between.  Campers come looking for all sorts of things to borrow or use, everything from a needle, to scissors, pens, and even a cooking stove!

 This summer, we are supplying power for people to charge up their phones and iPads etc, all for a gold coin donation to SOSSI (Shakespear Open Sanctuary Supporters Inc) .  At this time of the year, our solar panels generate enough energy to keep our batteries full to capacity and some, so we turn on the inverter – which converts the power from the batteries to 230v – we have an external power point to which we have plugged in a multi plug unit and people come along, plug in their device and charge it up.  I have to say that we have made a small fortune so far for SOSSI, as well as making for some happy campers.  Although we have had to put a sign up to say that it is solar generated power therefore only available during daylight hours and when the sun is shining, some people have been turning up and 7am wanting power!!  They get a bit of a grumpy response from me being woken at that hour  I have to say but a sign with the hours available has corrected that.  A few days of rain put a dampner on our charging capabilities but we were quickly back to normal again once the rain stopped.  

Speaking of rain, we had a deluge over New Year’s Day, and plenty of strong winds that saw many in the camp pack up and leave, but a hardy 60 or so campers remained and sat out the horrible weather.

  The view out of the window 
We didn’t seem to have had it as bad as some parts of the country, with only a couple of gazebos getting blown apart and we did not have as much rain as was predicted, besides, it drained away very quickly. 

  The following day, this was the view.
Another day saw Roy being asked if he could fix a bell on one of the kids bikes, soon he was surrounded by eagle eyed onlookers, with  the bell being repaired and some happy children off zooming around the camp on their bikes.  

 Bike workshop!  
 Experts abound.

Life certainly isn’t dull, and we meet some very interesting people.  We are greeted by returning campers from last year like long lost friends, and have shared drinks, and the occasional meal as well.  

Today we have had a bit of another exodus of campers as heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow . As many folk are back to work next week, the thought of having to pack up wet gear in the rain and wind is not exactly appealing, so today saw many packing up their dry gear and heading home.

Living full time in a motorhome

January 2, 2016

We are often asked what it is like living in a motorhome and when are we going to finish traveling and get a “real” house.  The following is an attempt to answer some of those questions  (with some ideas and inspiration from the latest NZ American RV newsletter).

1. This is not Camping

Our version of full-time RV’ing is not camping… it’s living. In other words, we don’t consider our lives to be one big camping trip. We don’t eat at Maccas or RSA’s every night, nor do we eat dehydrated instant packet food, nor do we sit around the picnic table playing boardgames by lantern/torchlight. Yes, we stay in a camp ground occasionally, but for the most part we are not camping.


2. We do Laundry

When I lived in a house, I felt like I was always doing laundry. A load of towels, whites the next, clothing separated into dark and light for more loads.  It was a never ending cycle that I couldn’t seem to break. That is, until I moved into an RV with a small washing machine on board. Now I do laundry a couple of times a week. And it doesn’t take long.  I sometimes even use a laundromat, or utilise friends and family large washing machine for when I have big stuff to do (thanks!).  And I have finally given up ironing everything in sight, yes folks, you read it here first, I no longer iron my sheets or tea towels!!! 

3.  I will choose my tiny house, over your guest bedroom

When we visit or park in your driveway (which we appreciate greatly by the way) chances are we’ll say thanks but no thanks when you offer up your guest room. You see, the thing is that we like our tiny house with our cosy bed, favourite pillow, all our clothes within reach and the bathroom a few steps away from our bed. We travel in a motorhome because we enjoy the convenience of always having our house with us. So it’s not that we don’t appreciate the offer, but we really would prefer to sleep in our own bed. However, I will take you up on that offer to use your shower though!
4.  This is not a permanent holiday

This is a hard one for non full-timers to grasp. So you live in an RV and you get to travel to any cool place you want, yet you don’t consider yourself to be on holiday? Nope, not at all.  I think you can only function in ‘holiday’ mode for so long. At some point you have to create a normal routine with down time and off days. For us full time RV’ing is a lifestyle choice, not a permanent holiday, we choose where we want to go and when and what we want to do.

5.  I Sometimes Forget That I’m Not “Normal”.

I sometimes forget that our lifestyle is considered out of the ordinary. Especially if we’ve been spending time with other full time RV’ers who view living in a tiny house on wheels as commonplace. It usually takes an encounter with the “normal” folks to remind me that how we live is fascinating and envy-worthy.
6. I Have No Idea When I Will “Be Done”.

We get asked this a lot and I’m always tempted to reply, done with what? Done with a lifestyle that brings me joy? Done with expanding my horizons and becoming a more well rounded person? Done with meeting incredible people and making lifelong connections and friendships? Why would I want to be done with all that? The short answer is that I have no idea when I will be done, and I enjoy not knowing. There is something very appealing about a future that is open to endless possibilities. I’m confident that when we get the urge to settle in one spot, we will know when the time is right. But for now we will continue to roll down the road with no plans to “be done” any time soon 
7.  We will never see everything

We could travel around in this beautiful country of ours for many more years and still not see everything. In the beginning we enjoyed keeping track of where we had visited and making sure we checked off all the major attractions along the way. At some point we realised that it didn’t matter how many things were checked off the list, we would always be adding more. And I love that! I love discovering more things to do, see, and explore than I could possibly hope to accomplish in any amount of time. I love that our country is incredibly diverse and filled with such an array of landscapes, communities, and people that even if I travelled for decades, I could never see everything.  Besides, life isn’t about checking off lists…….. is it?

8.  Technology

Yes, we have the technology!  Not only do we have satellite TV (actually two Tv’s – one in the living area and one in the bedroom), we have a wireless router that connects us to the Internet – note to Telco’s; give us better, more and cheaper data!  We have PC’s as well as iPads, we have a large extensive library of books and movies (mostly in electronic format), we listen to podcasts on MP3 players with headphones,  we run a business from our home which has an office and yes we even have a full printer/copier/scanner.  We generate our own power from solar panels with a back up generator for when the sun doesn’t shine. We have a large bank of batteries to store all our power which we run through an inverter to give us 230v.

9.  We have a chefs kitchen!

You name it, we have it…full oven, fridge and freezer, cake mixer, blender, stick blender, wok, casserole dishes, risotto pan, brûlée torch, baking tins of all shapes and sizes, dariole molds, thermometers, meat slicer, vacuum sealer, banettons, microplanes, and a myriad of other essential gadgets like a spurtle (to stir porridge), and a special cutter to take the top off a boiled egg,  as well as knives, knives and more knives of every shape and size imaginable,   I mean, who else has two ham knives! We have a cold smoker and a hot smoker, we make our own; bacon and pastrami, sourdough bread, jams preserves and pickles, baking, and anything else you can think of.  

10.  If we won lotto…

We  get asked this often as well,”if you won Lotto, what would you do to live your dream?”  Our response is; we are living our  dream, what are you waiting for?  Sure,  a bit more cash would be very nice, but our basic lifestyle would not change much at all. Now let us just win Lotto and we’ll test out this theory!!!

So that’s it in nutshell, I hope that has answered any questions you may have had, if not, feel free to ask!

A couple of weeks at Uretiti

August 5, 2015

Two weeks at Uretiti have passed very quickly indeed. Goodness knows where the days have gone or what we have done but the days sure do seem to fly by.  Some days were spent flying kites sending out the bait and line for a good wash but with no fish being caught at all. We were told by everyone that wandered past that no one was catching any fish, so the gear has been packed away ready for warmer weather when apparently the fish will come out to play.

We have made the odd foray into Whangarei to attend to shopping and other such essential matters  including a visit to the Saturday Farmers market where we get our fill of fresh fruit and veg but in the main we spent most of our time relaxing and attending to the never ending list of chores that we seem to make for ourselves.

imageParked up at Uretiti, Pat & Sues van in the foreground, us behind them with Brian and Marj in the back.

Uretiti Beach is in Bream Bay, with Marsden Point and Ruakaka to the north and Waipu to the South.  The beach is approximately 5kms in length and very popular especially over the summer months when the numerous camp grounds dotted along the coast line are full to capacity.  This camp is a DoC (Department of Conservation) run campground, with limited facilities i.e. fresh water, composting toilets and rubbish bins, and with no organised or allocated camp sites among the sand dunes.  Newly planted ‘islands’ are making the place look very tidy as well as affording separation and shelter for campers.  The camp is popular with motorhomers over the winter months as a good place to stop for a couple of weeks before moving on to the next port of call.

image A rainbow above our van.

Walks along the beach make for many new discoveries, especially if the sea has been a bit rough or an extra high tide brings ashore treasures.  Although we have not found Pat’s kite which fell into the sea on our first few days here, thats what sometimes happens when you forget to attach the floatation balls, the kite falls into the sea and either disappears never to be seen again, or like ours comes back shredded.  But we did find this chap standing guard over the edge of the beach..

imageSentinel on the beach.

We shall be leaving Uretiti this weekend, although the van will be staying here in storage, when we head to Whakapirau to Jacky & Chris’ to take up our hosuesitting duties.

image

Tent City

May 1, 2015

Anzac weekend was upon us, Friday morning amongst the usual comings and goings in the camp a large truck turned up with a dozen or so porta loos on the back of it which they then proceeded to unload and place in the centre of the camp.  Hmmm, must be something on this weekend, perhaps we had better ask the Rangers what is happening.  Not a lot really, just 400 or so Sea Scouts arriving tomorrow for a weekend camp!!  We asked if we should remove ourselves from the camp ground,  no, we were assured that would not be necessary.  However, after a bit of discussion Roy and I decided that it may well be better if we moved from the camp ground so they had full use of all areas without us getting in their way. 

 Porta loos in a row

We packed ourselves up and high tailed it out of the camp to reposition ourselves all of 500m away in the designated Motorhome Parking area.  After dawn service on Saturday morning, we noticed a steady stream of traffic passing us by and by the afternoon it was a continuous stream of cars, trailers and trucks heading in and out of the camp.  They were highly organised (of course) and it was not long before they were well set up. 

  

Tents covering the whole camping area

 And just as well we did move, it was tent city as they covered every bit of the camp ground with the different groups set  up in their allocated areas.  

 
The beach had a long line up of boats of all descriptions parked on the sands.  They were mainly sailing vessels for the scouts with plenty of support/emergency craft for the adult supervisors.  

  
And all the cars, trailers and sundry vessels parked in the buffer zone  
All in all a very successful weekend, although we did feel for them as Monday mornings activities were cancelled due to the terrible weather. They then had the onerous task of packing up heavy, soaked canvas tents plus all the sundry equipment in the horrendous rain and wind that prevailed until mid afternoon on Monday.  

Although the weather cleared and the camp ground emptied we remained in the Self Contained Vehicle parking area until Wednesday when we left, however,  it won’t be too long before we are back at the end of the year to take up our Camp Host duties once again.  We are now at Ardmore for a few days. 

Oh and for those of you who are interested, the mouse kill count was up to 90 by the time we left the main camp last Friday!