Archive for the ‘otamarakau’ Category

Heavyweights

April 28, 2013

The van NOT the occupants are classed as Heavyweight vehicles, and this last weekend there was a rally held at Little Waihi so we thought we would pop long and find out what it is all about.

Before we left Otamarakau, on Thursday night we had Keith & Deb round for a very enjoyable evening and dinner.  Although there are eels in the creek, we left them where they are and instead settled on T- Bone steak for dinner.

 eelsand to prove it, here are the eels still swimming in the creek.

barnacleFound this example of a Goose Barnacle attached to a piece of pumice.  Based on the length of the barnacle shell the piece of pumice must have been floating in the sea for some five years.

Friday morning we headed off to Little Waihi which is further along the Bay of Plenty coast toward Tauranga, not far from Maketu.   It sits on a small peninsular on the inland side of the estuary, with  Pukehina on the ocean side of the peninsular.  We got a great view of the motorhomes all lined up from the hill coming down into Little Waihi.

waihi 1Motorhomes lined up in the centre of the picture. Pukehina is the collection of houses on the ocean side at the top of the photo.

As we had a few errands to run, we headed off into Tauranga once the van was all parked up and settled and before the weekend activities began.

little waihiA close up view…oh, and that is our van parked facing forward in the centre front of the picture.

We arrived back from Tauranga only a little late for Happy Hour, the shopping was quickly put away, poured ourselves a drink, grabbed our chairs and headed over to the marquee to meet some new people and find out what lay ahead of us for the weekend.  We arrived in time for the final two quick fire raffles of the day, and guess what? We won both of them!!  The first was a breakfast pack consisting of bacon, eggs, sausages and pancake mix, the second was a meat pack.   Score!

winningsWinnings.

Saturday; morning tea, meeting new folk, checking out other vehicles, fishing competition, silly games afternoon, and a surprise visit from John who was passing on his way home from Rotorua.  A quick catch up before he left and it was time for Happy Hour.  Bernice remained in the van to watch the netball whilst Roy headed off to be sociable, it was not long before he returned with… yes, you guessed it, another meat raffle win! The freezer is now very full.

As an aside, we have been pouring over the latest editions of both the Cuisine and Dish magazines, both of which have a focus on all things Italian.  We have picked out a number of dishes to try and had stocked up on our Friday shop with items required to make a selection of menu items.  Saturday evening we enjoyed from Dish; Lemon & Oregano crumbed Lamb Cutlets with Potato rosti and salad – divine.

Lemon and Oregano Crumbed Lamb CutletsDinner

 

sunrise 1Early Sunday morning looking across the river estuary to the Little Waihi settlement. sunrise Sunrise on Sunday morning

litle waihi 3Some of the 47 Heavyweights lined up.

Sunday and after friendly farewells, we headed off to Tauranga. This time to Fergusson Park where we had been told was good free parking right on the waters edge.  After first visiting the dump station near Tauranga Airport, we settled into our very nice parking spot before Jenna came for a quick visit.  After more netball watching, time for another delicious dinner, this time an item chosen from Cuisine,

photoan Italian Sausage Ragu with Polenta.

Rolling on out

April 25, 2013

It was previously mentioned that we had some issues with maintenance on our awning.  To recap, some time ago we had scraped the rolled up awning on a tree and over time with sun and wind, the material had started to delaminate.  We undertook to take the awning off the van and have the piece of material cut off and then reattach the awning to the van.   We took the awning off with only some slight hitches, and on Roy’s birthday we attempted to put it back on the van, after the delaminated section had been removed. As John put it, Roy had a birthday and a near divorce all on the same day! 

It did not go well, however Bernice did find an excellent ‘how-to’ You Tube video on the correct way of re-installing the awning.  Once we had managed to get the material back onto the roller plus slide the material plus arms etc back onto the van, which is definitely a three person job, the next thing is to tension the roller.  Each end of the awning has a tensioning spring which enables the awning to be rolled out and then roll back up into the locked position.  This is where we had the major issues. 

As we had had some of the material removed, the number of turns that the awning roller requires to roll up needed to be adjusted, plus you have to ensure that each end is tensioned EXACTLY  the same number of turns….well, lets just say that we managed to get the awning back onto the van with one end rolled up very tightly and the other end, shall we say, loose.

It was decided at this stage that we may require an experts advise and assistance so a quick trip to the local motorhome store only to be told that they could not fit us in for another week or more.  Oh well, it was now secure to the side of the van and we agreed to leave it until another day. 

After everyone had left on Sunday afternoon, Bernice & Natalie headed off into town to partake in a little retail therapy. Whilst they were away, the blokes decided it would be a good time to have a go at fixing the awning without the helpful advice of the female member of the touring party!   The girls arrived back before the job was finished, which enabled them to get a couple of pictures of the work at hand.  

174_thumbHow many men does it take to turn a crescent? John, Mike, Stuart and Roy.

164_thumbNote that the youngest bloke was sent up the ladder!!!

After a couple of attempts, they eventually got it wound the correct number of times to efficiently roll out and wind back up. Phew!

We left John’s on Tuesday and headed on up the road to Otamarakau.

OtamarakauHere we are parked 20 metres away from the beach, and about the same from the railway line, plenty of noise when the train comes rumbling through. We have been here before, in fact it was just over two years ago when we had just purchased the van. 

sign 2 sign

A new addition at the parking spot is this sign which has two unusual features.  The first is that it not only provides distances to local and remote locations but it also shows the direction and angle for setting satellite dishes for TV reception. The second unusual feature is the Christchurch indicator which reflects the nature of events there by being rippled.  Someone’s good sense of humour.

bikingAnd a rare event captured, Roy trying out his bicycle to prove that they are just not ornaments on the back of the RAV.

Early morning wandering shows the usual bird life with Shags and Dotterel.

shag 1 dotterel

And two unusual items.  One is two spirula shells.  These are commonly found on beaches in both islands. 

barnaclesThe unusual aspect of these two is that they have been colonised by barnacles, in fact they look like the young of the goose barnacle.

The second unusual find is the 20cm long example of an unusual ‘organic’ item.  It is light in weight for it’s size and when broken the interior has a quite strong ammonia smell.  I would be interested if anyone can tell me what this is.  There were several smaller pieces around in the same area. 

mass 1  I have asked here and been told by someone that it may be a residue of something from the wreck of the Rena as plastic beads, clothing, timber and other wreckage has been cast up on the beach here. But this item appears to be organic in nature.

Today is our grandson Andre’s 3rd birthday, Happy Birthday Andre, and hope you have a wonderful day.  Today is also of course ANZAC Day.  Unfortunately we are some distance from a dawn service but we still paused to consider those that have gone before and those whose lives were and are affected by war.