Archive for the ‘Rarawa’ Category

Back in the groove

October 17, 2018

We are back into our groove again, you know, get up at a leisurely hour in the mornings, look at the day, quickly dispense with any chores and then go fishing!!!

The fellas went out for an early morning fish, whilst some of us slept on…

Waiting for the fish as well as sunrise, what a beautiful morning, I’m pleased you took a picture of it so I would know what it looks like!

I think Keith was quite pleased with this catch!

The fishing gang on the beach, later in the day

somewhere in the blue shy is a little black dot, that is our kite!

Roy getting in his daily step count walking over to see Keith to discuss whose line we will bring in first (Roy is on light duties so Keith helps us to retrieve our line).

another good catch including this fantastic gurnard. We have never caught one as big before, I’m sure it will make good eating.

Roger the rooster is still here and becoming bolder and bolder, walking on the mat to the door to see if we will give him something to eat. I know what I’d really like to feed him!!!

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Medical matters

October 14, 2018

We made our way down to Auckland as far as Whakapirau where we were staying with Jacky & Chris for the night. It’s a 5hr drive from Rarawa to Whakapirau, including a couple of comfort stops, and then a further 2 hrs to get to Auckland so it’s a good break point for us.

Roy was due at Ascot at midday ready for surgery at around 2pm. Antony came in to take me out to lunch whilst Roy was under the knife laser. Roy was having some remedial surgery of the prostate as some tissue had atrophied as a result of the hormone and radiation treatments and was causing a bit of an issue. Meanwhile Antony and I went out for a nice lunch and a bit of retail therapy returning to the hospital just as the surgeon rang to say all had gone well and he would be in his room within the next hour.

I was happy to wait for him in his room enjoying the view.

the view from his room overlooking Ellerslie Race course.

He was back pretty soon, wide awake and feeling ok after having an epidural and a sedative rather than a full anaesthetic, so good in fact that he was keen to have something to eat. I left him in the good care of the staff at Ascot in the early evening to retire to Antony’s place for the night.

The following day Roy had not had the best night, so the surgeon was checking in on him a couple of times and sorting out his pain relief before he would allow him out later in the day. Meanwhile Antony and I headed over to Southern Cross Hospital on the North Shore where I was to have an MRI done on my hip replacement due to an anomaly showing up on previous X-rays.

MRI’s are not my favourite thing, they can be very claustrophobic, especially as they tighten a special cage device over the hip area to make sure you stay still and also tie my feet together and onto the bed so nothing moves….eeeek……but I told myself it was just for an hour so just suck it up and deal with it. It was completed in around 45minutes, but then they said I had to have more done but this time with a dye injected. Breathe in…….and out……..relax, think of your happy place Bernice, all these thoughts were racing through my mind as I went back into the scanner. But it was soon over with, next came the wait to see the surgeon in a few hours time.

Again, Antony & I went out for a bite to eat and to do a few chores. I must say it was great to have him with me and we had a good chat about everything and anything. We were back at the surgeons office 45minutes early, fortunately he could see me early. And the upshot?

At the top of the trochanter (femur) has some stress fractures that appear to be healing, no wonder it’s been a bit sore! and there maybe very small bone fragments that have come away and irritating matters. As well it looks like there is a pocket of fluid which he was unsure what it was exactly.

What’s next? They want to do a biopsy on the fluid via a needle inserted into the hip area….eeeek! this is to be done under a general anaesthetic and what about having it done next week? Oh and we will also check for infection with some blood tests as well. After a bit of discussion, we agreed that I would have the blood tests straight away and see what they say and put off the needle biopsy and do it next month when I am having my knee replaced negating the need for two anaesthetics in a short period of time. That is presuming everything comes back clear with the blood tests, fingers crossed.

I did ask if I was being a wuss with regards to the pain I have but I was assured that I am not, so with new prescription in hand we were soon on our way.

Meanwhile Roy was being discharged so we could pick him up on the way home and head to Antony’s for the night. We were both feeling pretty good so we thought we would head back north, just as far as Whakapirau initially, just to be close enough to Auckland if we had to return for any reason. After a restful nights sleep, we were ready to head back home.

We were back at the van the following day, ready to take things easy for a bit as Roy is on strict light duties, and I am to rest as much as practicable. That being said, we are both feeling pretty good so hope to get back to some good fishing stories soon.

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!

Rarawa

October 4, 2018

It was time to leave the lovely park over property at Tokerau Beach, Brett & Bronwyn run a great POP there and we are always made to feel very welcome. I headed off first into Kaitaia to attend to laundry and shopping and Roy was going to follow on behind to fill up with LPG whilst Keith & Deb went on ahead to Rarawa. Now you know what’s coming don’t you? It was never going to be that simple.

I had just about finished getting the laundry washed when Roy rang to say he was still at the POP, the damn RV/bus/motorhome/van, whatever label you want to give it, would not start! It seemed the starter motor had decided to crap out. A local auto electrician was contacted and he said he could come and have a look in an hour or so. I decided that meant I could throw the laundry into the dryer, and go and have a coffee whilst I waited to see if I needed to pick up any parts in town. The phone call came just as I had finished folding the washing, it was fixed and Roy was on his way. Apparently it was a rusty/loose terminal so a quick fix and he was on his way. That gave me plenty of time to get the shopping done before he arrived. We met at the dump station, then went and filled with LPG and water before heading off up to Rarawa.

It’s been 2 years since we were last up this way and the growth of avocado farms expanding throughout the north is incredible to see.

We came around one corner to see this sight ahead of us.

Very effective cutouts of children, poignant reminders that there is a school here and to be mindful of your speed.

By the time we got to the DoC camp at Rarawa it was 4.30pm (the start of daylight saving sort of mucked us up a bit), we arrived to find Deb & Keith all set up and our position sorted. They even had dinner ready for us, how nice is that? We were soon all set up and making ourselves at home.

The following evening, the guys decided to have a bit of a quick fish off the beach before dinner, they were back in just over an hour with these beauties.

Not content, the following morning whilst some of us were still sleeping, they were out again to see what they could catch. They were back before 8 am, this time with a couple of huge fish.

The biggest fish was just over 14lbs or 6.5kg. That’s enough for a day or two, by the time we left them to set for a while on salt ice, before being filleted and packaged, most of the day had gone. We split the heads of the large fish ready to cure then smoke them, plenty of very good fish there to make a few smoked fish pies and a bit of pâté as well.

We had originally planned to go and have a kite fish off 90mile beach in the early afternoon but we all admitted that we probably had enough fish for the moment, besides, the freezers were full so we would relax for the afternoon.

Relaxing in the sun after all that hard work with a coffee and some muffins fresh from the oven.

Our next challenge is to somehow get rid of this guy who wakes us at stupid hour every morning with his crowing.

Once we deal with him, we shall have to come up with a plan to deal with his friend on the other side of the river. The joys of being in a rural camp!

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. 

Rarawa – Auckland – Rarawa

November 25, 2016

We left Matai Bay on a Sunday afternoon for Kaitaia as the van was booked in for the final bit of work to be done on the brakes as the parts had arrived from the USA, as well,  a couple of other jobs  were being completed.  However, things never seem to go smoothly, the parts that we had had sent out were not the right ones.  As you were folks, put everything back together then spend the next day researching and checking on hopefully getting the right parts.  It would be so much easier if there were part numbers, or if the size matched what was supposed to be on the van.  Anyway, in the end  it was all sorted, more parts ordered and we were sent off to return at a later date.

Off we went to Rarawa and the DoC camp there, where Pat & Sue were already parked, we set ourselves up, this time in another location, tucked into a corner on the upper level. 


The weather has been pretty good, although we have had a lot of wind with some of it even from the right direction for some kite fishing. But more on that later.

A large part of the camp is roped off as they had recently closed the whole camp whilst they dealt with an infestation of Argentinian Ants.  Who knew that these tiny creatures could create such damage.  

According to the DoC website Argentine Ants  are one of the world’s most invasive and problematic ant species. They are very aggressive, and although they are not poisonous, they do bite. Unlike other ant species, Argentine ant colonies cooperate with each other, and can combine over winter into super-colonies. They reach enormous numbers, which means they have a huge appetite. It also makes them more aggressive towards other insect populations through their sheer numbers.

The best way to tell Argentine ants from other ants is by their colour and trails. Argentine ants are small (2-3 mm long)and honey-brown in colour, while most other common household ants in New Zealand are black.  

Argentine ants can have a massive impact on the natural environment. While they are one of the major household and garden pests, they pose a serious threat to the conservation values of our reserves and natural areas. These threats include:

eliminating other species of ants

competing with kiwi for food such as insects and worms

competing with other native birds and lizards for nectar

displacing and killing native invertebrates

Argentine ants are now known for many parts of Auckland and Northland, as well as Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Nelson 

The camp will be closed again from next week so that DoC can do a secondary bait laying process to make sure they are all dealt with.

Meanwhile, I (Bernice) have been to Auckland and back for a few days.  A trip which is around 5 1/2 hrs driving time each way, plus of course you have to allow more time for stops for refuelling both the car and driver as well as the odd traffic hold ups.  An interesting sight on the way down to Auckland was this convoy of three four wheel drive vehicles which were absolutely covered in mud.  

A muddy convoy which I followed from north of Kawakawa to where I turned off the motorway at Albany, a distance of over 200kms

Why was I doing this trip? Well, our son Antony had had a bit of a mishap whilst playing bubble soccer – yes, it is a ‘thing’ – with a group of mates on a weekend away in Queenstown.  Bubble soccer

Actually, it was a bit of a serious oops as it seems he has torn his MCL and ACL ligaments in his left knee. Ouch.   I went down to give him a hand with a few things and also to provide moral support when he went to see  the surgeon and make sure we asked all the right questions.  His leg is very swollen and bruised from above the knee right down to his foot, and of course rather painful.  But what I didn’t realise was that before he can have surgery to repair the damage, he has to have regained the full range of motion in his knee.  So today he starts physio.  

Meanwhile Mum did her thing, by washing, cleaning, tidying, cooking, shopping, transporting.    Oh and even a bit of ironing…some of the 17, yes that right, 17 shirts I ironed!!

Once I had done as much as I could it was back up to Rarawa. We have been fishing a few times off the beach with some success as well as a good failure when on one outing our line got caught on something and we lost all our traces, sinkers and hooks.  Luckily this all happened before I went to Auckland so I was able to call into the store to replace all the lost gear. 

But with days like this in the picture below, what could be nicer than spending an afternoon on the beach?

Somewhere out there is a kite, and of course some fish on our line too.
Next week it is back to Kaitaia to have the last bit of work done on the van before we move southward ready to start our camp hosting duties at Shakespear for the summer.

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.

Onto Rarawa

October 7, 2016

It had been fine for a few days, the ground had dried out nicely but with some heavy rain forecast for the weekend, we decided it was time to make a run for it and leave Matai Bay whilst the going was good.  Roy & I packed up the van and he and headed out of the camp to return to the PoP at Tokerau Beach for a few days.  I stayed on at the campsite to wait for Pat & Sue to return from their fruitful fishing trip over the hill so I could help them pack up and head on out before the rains came.  We stayed at the PoP over the weekend and sure enough we did get plenty of rain which would have made it almost impossible for us to be able to get out for bother week or so.  

We headed off into Kaitaia early on Monday morning as the van was booked in for a service and wi lots of little jobs and shopping to get done we managed to wile away the day nicely before spending the night at the Kaitaia RSA.  With everything done by lunch time on Tuesday we were all soon on the road heading to Rarawa, a DoC camp north of Houhora.

The ground at Rarawa was also very muddy and soft in places but after a good walk around, we settled into our chosen spot.

here we are parked, with some shelter on three sides from the wind.

With Pat & Sue parked at the far end.

The beach is a short walk through the dunes or a ride in e car down the road to the northern end of the beach.  Rarawa has beautiful white silica sands and at this time of the year we mostly have the beach to ourselves

 A busy day on the beach

We’ve had some good amounts of rain and some very strong winds since we arrived here, we are hoping that the winds will die down enough to enable us to get the kite out for some fishing to be done over the next week or so.  

Meanwhile, with all this inclement weather, we are making full use of our upgraded Internet, all of which will be the subject of a later blog post.  Watch this space.