Some places in the world like Australia they treat a 5 hour drive like you are visiting your neighbours. It’s not like that here but sometimes a journey of this magnitude is worth taking when you know that at the end the place and the people make the journey worthwhile. So it was when we were summoned back to the far north to spend some recovery time with a couple of good motorhome mates.
Still suffering from the effects of the chest biopsy I had been back to visit the surgeon at Auckland hospital to be told that they had to remove parts of my rib cartilage to get to the suspect lymph node and that I should have been told that pain may continue for another couple of months. I did mention that he was the one who signed my discharge notes, but in one ear and out the other.
Waiting for us in the far north are friends Adrian and Sally together with John and Gaylene and Chalky on his own. John was still recovering from a triple bypass so between us we decided that this trip would be the recovery ward. Not knowing at this stage that there were a couple of injuries still to come.
On a brighter note Adrian had promised us that this visit was all about slaughtering some fine snapper with the Predator (kontiki) he had acquired last year. With the wind blowing onshore on the Ramp Road side of the Karikari Peninsula we decided to head over to the Puheke Reserve on the otherside. To shelter from the wind and launch the kontiki in friendlier conditions.
This beach is a long stretch of white silica sand that was almost deserted allowing us the freedom to choose our fishing spot. Whilst Adrian and Sally got things ready I wandered down to the water, with the water washing the sand from under my feet I could feel shellfish underneath. A quick check with the hand revealed pipi’s everywhere.
With the line into the water it was time to collect some shellfish and within minutes we had enough for a good feed but well under the quota of 150 per person although it would have been easy to achieve that. 90 minutes later it was time to wind in the kontiki, the line certainly felt heavy and with 8 decent snapper coming back it was an excellent result.
As I mentioned earlier this trip was also about injuries and with Adrian set to dispatch the fish and fillet them he picked up the knife only to fillet the end of his thumb instead. A really nasty cut. Fish filleting and I have never gone together particularly well, I can do it, just not very well. So when Chalky volunteered to take over from Adrian I wasn’t going to stop him. Fresh snapper for dinner that night very tasty.
Chalky had offered to cook the pipi’s for happy hour borrowing a heavy large pot of Sally who rolled her ankle getting it out of the cupboard. She managed to put up with the pain for almost 2 days before Adrian took her into Kaitaia to get it checked out. Although not broken it was badly sprained and a moon boot was in order.
It was at this point during the happy hour discussions that we decided this really was the recovery ward. Me from the biopsy, John from his triple bypass and Adrian and Sally from the injuries sustained here. Although I must say that with the fresh smoked snapper (thanks John) fresh cooked pipi’s and glass or three at happy hour and we all started to feel better.
Someone who was also feeling better after his big adventure the previous week was our 20 year old cat Mr Blobby who was accompanying us on his first ever motorhome trip. It must have been the sea air as he barely made a sound the whole trip whereas he is really vocal at home these days. Given his aged state and the fact he can no longer manage more than a slow walk it was nice to be able to let him out for a stroll although he seemed much more interested in getting back in the van and going back to sleep rather than getting out.
I’ve written a blog previously about people and the lengths they go to catching fish so it was really interesting to see someone use a drone close up for the first time. Larry, who has only recently started life on the road used to use his drone for photography. He has since discovered that you can buy an attachment that would take his fishing line out. Using an electric reel that measures line distance he is able to see how far out the line is and then remotely drop it. This small drone will take up to 8 hooks although Larry only uses 4 and when wound in 45 minutes later dinner was on the other end of the line with a decent snapper.
As part of my own recovery we went walking through the dunes behind the beach every day a really pleasant place for a stroll. It was amazing to see the huge piles of shells in various places a testimony to the abundant sealife in the area.
Even though we only spent a few days here before moving onto the next place it’s amazing how quickly a place like this can recharge your batteries making you feel ready to take on the world again. It’s just amazing what good company, great weather, fresh fish and a beautiful place can do making the perfect recovery ward, even if it is outdoors.
One good initiative from the local council is they have set up patrols to police the freedom camping here. The people in the tent behind our van arrived at midnight so only got moved on in the morning but the rangers were turning up 2 or 3 times a day a physically checking that all CSC vehicles actually were. They went so far as to actually ask to see the toilet in the van if there was any doubt. If the toilet was still wrapped or in the box it was either make it useable or leave.
Whilst I agree that this sort of patrol should help the native fauna from being used as the local toilet I do feel rather sorry for the people in the tent who had only been in the country 2 days as if they are driven from places like this where there is actually a toilet that they can use what chance do they have of experiencing the real New Zealand without staying at overpriced campgrounds. An area set aside close to the toilets in a place like this would surely benefit all without putting to much pressure on local resources. (just my personal opinion)
To view the places we have visited click here to see them on Google maps. You can click the links to read the blog about that area.
To view the Ratings we have done for places we have stayed click here
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