Archive for the ‘kaitaia’ Category

On our way

November 29, 2016

It’s time we started our journey south ready for us to take up our camp hosting duties at Shakespear park for the summer.  We were due to leave Rarawa this week, however on Monday we were told that we had to leave that day as DoC were about to start their latest assault on the Argentine Ants (See previous post).  But before we left we thought we would have one last fish off the beach.


And just along from us are Pat & Sue


Not too many fish were harmed in this exercise.

From Rarawa it is a short 60km journey into Kaitaia, as we had also heard that our brake parts had arrived.  However through mutual agreement between Roy and Kaitaia Tractors, they are not fitting the part this time.  We have ordered a matching part to come from the USA, and the pair will be fitted early next year after we have finished at Shakespear.  Meanwhile, we are assured everything is safe and we are good to go.

So now we shall meander our way down to Auckland, stopping off at a few selected  places along the way and endeavour to get ourselves into the Christmas spirit.  Thanks Northland for a wonderful few months, we shall be back soon. 

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Ninety Mile Beach

October 25, 2016

Ninety Mile beach is in fact 55 miles (88km) but it sure does seems like it’s a 90 mile stretch of beach when you get onto it.  From Houhora, the beach is only 10km away on the west coast and as we have not yet kite fished off a west coast beach we thought this was an opportune time especially as the wind was in the right direction.  The beach becomes somewhat of a race track at weekends and holidays, and with yesterday being Labour Day and the first long weekend for some months, it seems as though quite a few other people had decided that they would race up and down the beach in their cars.  The beach is an official part of the highway network therefore the usual road rules apply, however, sometimes common sense does not!

The warning signs are everywhere

In 1932 the beach was used as the runway for some of the earliest airmail services between Australia and New Zealand. 

Long stretch of beach

 Tour buses as well as cars and motorbikes travel up and down the beach, although a few have succumbed to the elements 

Time for us to put out the kite to see what we can catch and in particular, the difference between fishing the east coast versus the west coast.      

That’s Roy in the distance, keeping an eye on the reel whilst I moved the car back up the beach, well away from one of those rogue waves that take many people by surprise.

The surf and wash on this beach is vigorous which means we have to try and get our line out as quickly as possible through the surf so as not to tangle up the line.  That done, we settled in to wait, not too long though as we have been  told not to leave the line out for too long as sharks are known to chew through lines.  After 30 minutes we pulled the line in to find two good sized snapper and a trevally.


An excellent result.  

Matai – Kaitaia – Tokerau Beach

September 6, 2016

No, we are not creatures of habit, really, truly, even if it seems as though we are heading back over familiar ground. But we do seem to drift around this region quite regularly, anyone would think that we quite like it around here.  Our two weeks at Matai Bay was nearly up, which meant it was time to move on.  On the Sunday afternoon, with heavy rain forecast overnight, we thought it may be judicious to move from our position on the far side of the camp to nearer the exit ready for our scheduled departure on Wednesday.  

With that in mind and with their usual due diligence, Roy and Pat spent the next 40 minutes or so walking around the prerimeter of the camp, checking for soft spots, making sure the track they were to follow was free of hazards and marking up the path in which  to go.  With everything checked out, Pat went first…the following video shows the latter part of the move.


We followed shortly after, we parked up and were quickly set up ready to make our exit on Wednesday.  And just as well we did move as sure enough the rain did come, heavy and plenty of it overnight as well as most of Monday  which made the ground very boggy.  Just like the previous week, others became stuck in the mud.  With Pats tow rope it tatters from breaking the week before whilst attempting to tow out a bus, we had to improvise and twist together some rope and use the spades to dig out  stuck vehicles.  

Meanwhile we had been fishing a few times, each time with good success at both Karikari Beach and Tokerau Beach.  Roy also put out the line at Matai Bay on Saturday evening,  managing to retrieve it (and the snapper) just in time for the start of the rugby.  

We had a couple of visitors before we left Matai Bay.  The first were Gary & Marg whom we knew from our days in Tokoroa.  Gary used to work for Roy at Kinleith and its been a few years since we have seen them so it was lovely to meet up again.  They now live at Tokerau Beach and kindly invited us, as well as Pat & Sue, along to their place for dinner on Tuesday evening so we could continue reminiscing.  Our next unexpected visitor was Bernice’s brother Steve, who just happened to be in Mangonui and Taipa on business.  He popped in to catch up with us and it was great to hear about his recent holiday in Bali.  Then on Tuesday evening we had a great evening and meal with Gary & Marg and we look forward to a few more catch ups soon.

Wednesday came and with perfect weather,  we reluctantly left Matai Bay to head into Kaitaia as we had a list of things to get done, appointments to keep and mail to pick up.  Over the next few days we got nearly everything done and Friday we said hooray to Pat & Sue as they head across the Tasman for a break but they will be back soon to join us.   Brian & Marj called in to say hello as they are currently parked in Houhora but had come down to Kaitaia for a days shopping, it was lovely to catch up with them again. 

  Our last piece of mail arrived on Saturday morning which meant we could pack up, visit the dump station, fill up with LPG and head off.  This time we were off on just a short trip back out toward Matai Bay but not quite as far, this time to a PoP (park over property) at Tokerau Beach where we shall be for the next  week or so. 

Matai Bay

August 24, 2016

We’re back at one of our favourite places in New Zealand, Matai Bay on the Karikari Peninsular in Northland.  We left our previous parking place, albeit reluctantly, and headed into Kaitaia for a day to replenish the larders, book in for some work to be done, cross a few things off the shopping list, and catch up with a few people before making our way out to Matai Bay.

We arrived at the DoC campsite to find that there had been considerable rain over the previous few days which resulted in lots of boggy ground with evidence of others having being stuck in the mud. We parked up in the top entrance on the hard gravel in behind Pat & Sue,  so then Roy and Pat could walk around the camp site, investigating options and checking out ground conditions, including testing it out with the cars first.  After about a good 45 minutes of deliberating, they came to the conclusion that yes, we could get into our favourite parking place so long as they followed the route that they had determined.  

Roy led the way.  I have to admit that I could not watch as he drove around the perimeter of the camp to our desired spot but we were soon parked up, ready to relax,  closely followed by Pat in their van.

And the view of the bay


Once settled in, it was time to go fishing.  It seems like forever since we have had the kite out fishing but with the wind blowing in the right direction for getting the kites out off Karikari Beach, we all headed off over to the other side of the peninsular.

Away off in the distance along the beach is Pat & Sue fishing, and just past them is Jim. 

 

We put the line out, hauling it back in after an hour or so with two fish on the line, one on the first hook and one fish on the last hook.
The smaller snapper was 33cm and the big fella was 48cm.
Perfect, enough fish for dinner for the next couple of nights. 

 Actually, that brings me to an aside that I have been pondering for some time now. The spelling of Snapper has changed over the years, once upon a time it was always spelt Schnapper, I wonder why or when it changed?  Anyone care to enlighten me?

Back to the present, this is what it looked like for dinner last night 

Snapper with tomato, avocado and orange salad with olives and coriander
And damn delicious it was too!

 

Every morning Roy goes off for an early morning wander, walking quite some distances at times and he always comes back with some ‘treasure’ of some kind that he finds along his meanderings.  But this particular morning he came back with this offerring found washed up on the shore

I think it may be a little on the small side!!

R&M

November 17, 2015

Like most homes, there are alway repairs and maintenance to be done in order to keep everything up to scratch, some of which we do ourselves and the rest we leave to those who know what they are doing and who also have the tools and equipment required to get the job done.  The van went in to Kaitaia Tractors last Wednesday to have the bushes replaced on the anti sway bar, as well, they had to fix and reweld into place one of the airbag supports on one side at the rear, then refit the airbag and test it.  The handbrake needed a tighten/adjustment and  as well, we had them spray the underside of the van with anti rust  gunk – that’s the technical name for the stuff – preventive maintenance,  as we spend such a lot of our time near beaches and salt laden air that we thought this was a good idea.  Once all the work was completed, we were advised not to travel on dusty roads for a day or so to allow the gunk to harden properly which meant a stay at the Kaitaia RSA for a night or two.  

After a couple or so days in Kaitaia we were more than ready to head back out to Matai Bay to the relative peace and quiet of the DoC camp,  with a little bit of fishing thrown in the mix as well.  But first more wee chores to be done, you know all those silly little things that are annoying but you never quite get round to attending to them.  The jobs that are designated to Ron, as in later-on!   Things like attach some magnetic catches to the cupboard doors above the drivers and passenger seats.  These doors have never closed tightly, and as I had found some really good magnetic catches in Kaitaia it was time to sort it out.  Roy set about screwing the catches in place, but of course it was never going to be that simple. For a start the doors lift up to open and of course do not open straight out,  they angle down slightly which meant in order to access the inside of the doors you have to twist yourself into awkward contortionist-like positions to use the drill ….then just as he was starting the job, the drill bit broke,  cue colourful language! After much muttering, dropping of tools, bits and screws, more colourful language, the doors now close tightly so no more bits flying out of cupboards on bumpy roads!  Another quick fix was to tidy up all the plugs and cords by attaching a multiplug to the wall out of the way.  

Next we had a blown bulb in one of the brake lights which meant removal of  the brake and reversing light cover, again not a simple job as one screw remained stubbornly in place and needed a special bit to drill it out.  Again, a bit of muttering ensued before replacing the offending bulb, test and reattach the covers.  Then there was the task of reattaching the small handle on the door opening for the fly screen door.  But first a clean up and removal of old glue before replacing the handle and hope it stays in place.

On our recent CoF of the van, it was pointed out to us that the running lights at the rear side of the van were the wrong colour…..the rest of the lights covers down the side of the van are amber coloured, but the ones at the very back were red.  In nearly 5 years and 10 vehicle checks since we have had the van this had never been mentioned before, apparently no red lights should be visible from the front of the vehicle.  Where were we to source such things? after checking a few auto supply shops we resorted to doing a quick internet search which resulted in two new lens covers ordered and delivered within a week, these were easily replaced.  

Roy got up on the roof of the van to check and clean the solar panels.  There have been a large number of birds leaving their calling cards on the windows and sides of the van so we thought they may have also been on the roof, but no, their aim is obviously for vertical  surfaces rather than the horizontal.  All we need to do now is give the van a good clean which we managed to do this morning in between rain showers utilising the rain to wash off the last of the dirt and dust.  A polish will be next on the agenda but that can wait until we get to Shakespear.  

Numerous other ’round-to-it’ jobs have been done, and even some fishing has been fitted in to the busy schedule.  The last piece of R&M to be done is on Roy – he broke a tooth so off to the dentist this week!

Time spent at Matai Bay

October 27, 2015

I am becoming really slack at this blogging lark, I never remember to take photos and there seems to be enough to do in a day to keep me busy.  Of course this past few weeks has meant some very early mornings to watch rugby games, some mornings it has been a 2am start through to the 4am and 5am starts.  Up until the quarter finals we have had a few people joining us to watch it live on Sky, however as the tournament has progressed then All Black games have been broadcast on free to view TV which for me has meant, no need to get out of bed to watch the games as we also have a TV in the bedroom, and without others joining us I don’t have to get up and get dressed! Roy and I also enjoy watching all the games, not just the All Blacks, so it has been a bit of some early morning marathons.  In between the rugby there has also been the Netball to watch, and what with fishing and/or chores to do during the days, sleep has been in short sharp bursts!!

We did not go out fishing over the long weekend though, as there was a fishing tournament on in the area, which meant there was a large number of boats out and about. We are just a little nervous these days about lots of boats around our kite lines, so best to wait until everyone else returns to their working lives.  Although, that does not mean we have been without out fish, we have been given some snapper from some fellow motorhomer said, and other friends gave us some lovely fresh bluenose.  Then the other day campers who were in for the weekend gave us a lovely crayfish.

  

Crayfish just out of the pan

 

Enjoying every last tasty morsel.

We have managed to get a few jobs done on the van that we have been meaning to do for a while.  One was to install a shelf along the back of the two seater which tidies up that area nicely…..of course I have not taken a photo of it but I will do at some stage.  Outside we have gained a locker,  one of the external lockers contained a radio and CD player, speakers, iPod dock,  TV aerial and plug in point plus a 12v plug – the only thing we have used – we do not need to broadcast our choice of music to all and sundry, unlike some with their “doof-doof” music played loudly for all to suffer.  Anyway, we have now removed the entertainment section and gained another locker, which was quickly filled with the rest of the tools and other essential bits that were scattered in various hides holes throughout the van.  I have also had the labelling machine out so now everything is suitably labelled.  The screen door latch has been fixed – it was not catching properly.  The fishing gear has been tidied and refined and a few other odd jobs have been done.

We are now in Kaitaia for a day or two as we get some maintence work done on the van, then we will be heading back out to Matai Bay and its environs to continue relaxing and fishing.

Fixing, fritters and fishing 

October 21, 2015

It’s so nice to be back at Matai Bay, relaxing in the warmth and sunshine and generally keeping ourselves busy with one thing or another. 

 First on the list was a trip into Kaitaia to pick up the replacement fishing kite, line and accoutrements and also to check on mail that was being forwarded to us at Kaitaia as well as catch up with extended whanau.   The parcels were duly retrieved from the courier depot then it was back to the van and the beginning of getting our lines sorted.

 This is what the damaged kite line looks like when it’s removed from the reel.

Next  it was the task of joining the last of the old line onto the new line and wind the line onto the reel.  The traces (these are the short lengths of line with the hooks at one end and clips to attach to the dropper rig at the other end)  were put onto the trace rack and a few new ones were tied.  Now it was time to try it all out and a trip to Tokerau Beach was in order, as if the fish weren’t biting, we knew that there are plenty of tuatua (shellfish) to gather in the shallows.  

No fish were harmed in that expedition but the kite and line all worked perfectly and there were  plenty of tuatua gathered.  The shellfish were left in a bucket of sea water overnight so that they purge themselves of any sand, as there is nothing worse than eating gritty fritters.  Sue and I made two batches of fritter mixture using two different methods and recipes – one an Al Brown recipe and the other Lauraine Jacobs recipe with Lauraines  version getting the thumbs up from us all.

  Sue wondering who ate all the fritters?

Another day and we headed off to another beach close by to try our luck fishing (we can’t tell you where as you would all want to go there) this time with much more success, with good sized snapper being caught and brought home, and a barracuda returned to the sea to swim again.  Of course you will have to take my word for it as we were so busy living in  the moment we forgot to take any pictures. 

However, another day and we returned from a mornings fishing and with 6 snapper, this time I remembered to take a photo of the fish.

 
Shame I neglected to take a photo of our delicious dinners the past few nights though, they were pretty damn good even if I say so myself!

Back to Matai Bay

October 13, 2015

We left Uretiti last Wednesday as we needed to get a CoF (certificate of fitness) in Whangarei, we got there by 10am and joined the queue with us being 5th in line.  Four and a half hours later! we left VTNZ with our CoF but with a couple of jobs on a to do list before our next CoF is due.  We ended up staying two nights in Whangarei, staying at the Hatea Bridge parking area, or Tippy Bridge as it is known locally, catching up on jobs such as hearing aid checks for Roy, pedicure for me and some shopping.  We also managed to catch up with fellow motorhomer Frederick and his partner Ursula as he was  on a break from his camp manager job at Port Jackson on Cormandel.  We hadnt seen him since his brief stint at Shakespear so it was fantastic to catch up.

Next stop was Kerikeri for a couple of nights and a quick catch up with Roy’s cousin Stuart before heading northto glorious Matai Bay.  We did make a quick sojourn into Kaitaia to book the van in for some maintenance which will be done in the next couple of weeks, then it was out to the Bay to settle in for a couple of weeks.

   


Next on the agenda will be some fishing, hopefully some catching too.
  

Kaitaia & Maitai

October 16, 2014

Back in Kaitaia for refreshment and recuperation.  We arrived at the RSA to find friends Brian & Marj already parked up there.  They were ‘stuck’ waiting for parts to arrive to fix a leaking loo.  Also at the RSA was another vehicle also awaiting parts for a brake problem, we soon met the owners Reg & Rima who along with our other travel companions made for a lively group in the RSA at happy hour.

We also needed a COF (Certificate of Fitness) for the van as well as an engine check and general overhaul.  We duly booked the van in for the COF with the maintenance check to be done afterwards – yes, we know it really should have been the other way round but that was just the way it worked out.  Both services were done quickly and efficiently and we were reunited with the van by lunch time with the wallet only taking a minor battering!

With all this extra fishing gear we seem to be accumulating (Kite, winches etc), we decided we really needed to put a roof rack on the RAV so we can easily store and access the equipment so it seemed logical to store it on the roof of the car,  particularly as we use the car on or near the beach. 

So how many men does it take to install the roof rack?  Just two – Brian came along to help out.

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Roof rack installed, now to figure out the best way of securely storing the necessary fishing gear. 

With that all done, and with the prospect of more rain on the way we made the decision to decamp to Maitai Bay whilst it was still relatively dry underfoot.  Meanwhile. friends Barry & Sandra had made contact as they were planning to fly up to Kaitaia in their plane to attend a funeral, however, their plans also changed as the weather forecast was not pretty, instead they drove up from Taupo.  We arranged to meet for a catch up the following morning in Kaitaia over breakfast.  It was good to catch up with them and hear all their news.

Just as well we made the decision to move when we did, as when we arrived and doing our usual walk through before driving to our preferred parking place, we noticed some very deep tyre tracks where it looked as though someone had recently got stuck.  We shall not name the culprits but we did end up parking along from where Brian & Marj were already parked! They say take photos and only leave tyre tracks but I don’t think they mean it literally Brian.

3Before the hoards arrived!

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After the rest arrived, from left Brian & Marj, Reg & Rima, Jim & Judy, the Vannini’s and just around the corner out of view is Gail.

An almost perfect rainbow out over the bay

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Since we were here last some very artistic? visitors had arranged a series of posts with stones and/or shells on top.  A little different from the usual stone pyramids.

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Now another conundrum for you? How many men does it take to tie a knot?  Apparently it take four!

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L-R Jim, Roy, Brian, Reg

Actually they were tying stoppers in the backbone of one of Jim’s long lines!!!

This time I did manage to remember to take a photo of one of the happy hour gatherings

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L-R Roy, Gail, Judy, Marj, Brian (obscured), Jim, Rima and the back of Reg’s head.  Ha – got your front view Reg! 

I should add here that Reg & Rima had initially planned to head back to Auckland from Kaitaia once their vehicle was repaired, however, we persuaded them to come and join us for a day or two, which eventually stretched to ten days. Rima is almost as keen a netball fan as Bernice is,  they watched the games together adding their knowledgeable commentary to the games.  And Reg is a keen rugby league man so he and Roy watched the final.  Although no one took up our offer when we invited all to come and watch the All Blacks play South Africa, maybe it had something to do with the fact that the game was on at 3.30am?  We don’t know what is wrong with these people – us keen fans were up cheering (albeit quietly).

The lunar eclipse was on display in the clear skies over Matai Bay, this was a rare red lunar eclipse and I managed to get a few half decent shots of the phases of the eclipse, without the use of a tripod I might add.

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According to Wikipedia – A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes within Earth’s umbra (shadow). As the eclipse begins, the Earth’s shadow first darkens the Moon slightly. Then, the shadow begins to "cover" part of the Moon, turning it a dark red-brown colour (typically – the colour can vary based on atmospheric conditions). The Moon appears to be reddish because of Rayleigh Scattering (the same effect that causes sunsets to appear reddish) and the refraction of that light by the Earth’s atmosphere into its umbra.

Whilst stationary at Matai Bay, we took the opportunity to try our hand at Kite fishing off Tokerau beach.  We decided it was time for us (Roy & Bernice) to have a go at fishing by ourselves without assistance from anyone else so that we could be sure that we could actually manage the process by ourselves.  After a couple of goes, we seem to have managed the intricacies, the first time we only managed to catch a bit of weed, but the second time we could not work out why our line only went out about 500metres before it stopped.  It wasn’t until we winched it in that we discovered we had managed to catch someone’s discarded tangle of line which effectively became an anchor on our line.  However, the next time out, we did come home with a good sized gurnard and very good sized snapper.  At least we did not get our line stripped by a torpedo like Jim did – grrrrr.

Rima came along for a ride on our last venture out kite fishing – she did follow us along the beach in her vehicle on one previous trip.  However, after we had to tow her out of soft sand a couple of times, she decided it was safer to come along with us in our car.  But back to the fishing, whilst the line was out in the water, Rima and Bernice discovered a very plentiful tuatua bed in ankle deep water.  After collecting a 20litre bucket full, and leaving the tuatua  to spit out their sand overnight, the following day Rima showed me the easy, un-hand-stabbing method of opening the tuatuas!  We ate some raw, steamed open a pot full,  and I froze a good container full ready to share with family later this month. 

For those who do not know what Tuatuas are – here is a brief description; known as tuatua in the Maori language, Tuatua is a species of edible bivalve clam. It is found on all three of the main New Zealand islands, buried in fine clean sand on ocean beaches. The large shell is asymmetrical, with the hinge at one side. Its closest relative, the pipi has a symmetrical shell.

  Tuatua

Dried and salted, they also make good bait for fishing.

After 10 glorious days it was time to move on again, we had planned to move on in the morning, however, late afternoon on the Thursday it started to rain,  Roy and Reg went for a walk around the exit route to test the ground.  

maitai 5Walking in the rain

It was already getting very soft in places so instead of waiting until morning, we packed up and headed out to the exit to spend the night on hard ground before leaving for Kerikeri in the morning. And just as well we did move when we did as the ground was very muddy and boggy by the following morning. 

And if you were wondering where the bird picture was – here it is!

26_thumbA Tui covered in pollen from a flowering flax bush.  This was seen in the RSA car park in Kaitaia.

Heading North

September 10, 2014

We enjoyed a week in and around Houhora – relaxing, fishing, hooked up to power, with plenty of Internet access, and lots of great company. In particular thanx to Di, Gail and Marie for your company over the week at Houhora, it was great to meet such lovely women who also are living full time on the road. It just so happened that the three of them arrived at the camp independently over the week, although we had met Gail before a couple of years ago when we were in Lowburn, and Di we had met recently in Kerikeri, and Marie we had met in Kaitaia, we all got together each afternoon for drinks and a bit of a chatting. There were other campers who came and went over the week with a get together held each afternoon to swap fishing tales and the like. However, like all good things they must come to an end and we all headed off in separate directions, we headed back into Kaitaia for a couple of days

Here we can attend to lots of wee chores and get some shopping done to refill the pantry and fridge ready for the run north to Cape Reinga and the DoC camps at Tapotupotu, Spirits Bay and Rarawa.

It just so happens that it is my late sister-in-law Ann’s mother Beryl is celebrating her 94th birthday today, so we called in for a quick chat and the usual celebratory wishes. She does very well for a 94 year old, however, she tells us this birthday she is not renewing her drivers licence and is giving away her car!

We shall be leaving Kaitaia tomorrow morning (Thursday) and once we pass Houhora, there is no cell phone reception, no internet, no radio reception either so things shall be a little quiet for a couple of weeks as this will be our last post for a while. In the meantime, here are a couple of random photos.

The first is the final lot of poppies that were sent off to the Army museum

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This is how the locals fix their car aerials, we have seen the usual coat hanger but never a fence standard!

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And finally a sign seen locally – it was just missing an ‘R’ –

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Enjoy the peace and quiet!