Sarah and I have been together for over 30 years and a motorhoming couple for the last 18 years. Other than the time I took a couple of my boys away not long after we purchased the new motorhome, I have never been away without her in the motorhome. It’s not something that I really wanted to do. However, the gathering of the Dethleffs owner’s group we are a part of was going to take place at Otamuri Bay a DOC Camp that forbids domestic pets.
Those who have been following my recent blogs will know that recently we have started travelling with Mr Blobby, our 20-year-old cat who obviously would be persona non grata at the DOC camp. The event also coincided with an event that Sarah was going to. So the decision was made that I would be flying solo for the weekend.
This camp is very special to both of us as it’s the very first place we came when we purchased our Mitsubishi Canter in 2001. With so many family memories about this place, it was very nostalgic driving along the road to the camp. Although it would have been better to have shared these memories with someone else sitting in the other front seat.
The Dethleffs gathering is mainly based amongst Dethleffs owners who live north of Auckland, but somehow a couple of interlopers like myself have managed to become part of the group. Having met a number of these people at the last gathering some of whom now follow this blog I was questioned upon arrival about the absence of both Sarah and Mr Blobby, in fact, they seemed far more disappointed that Mr Blobby wasn’t there than Sarah.
The Gathering had been organised by another John who like all excellent organisers puts together an event and then gets called away to another event. We all missed you, John! Your attendance at the next is compulsory!
I am sure that Jonas from Zion Motorhomes would have been proud to see such an array of vehicles he had sold with models right across the Dethleffs spectrum. That evening we all gathered together for happy hour and amongst the topics for discussion was the mileage on our motorhome with everyone wondering how far we have travelled in it since we appear to have covered most of the country. The answer is just under 23,000kms, and we have loved every kilometre of it. What a beautiful country we live in that allows the freedom to explore so many places.
With daylight saving now finished and the temperature starting to drop happy hour ended before the sun began to disappear, leaving the sky with the orange glow you can see above.
One of the drawbacks of this beautiful camp is the lack of cellphone signal and while that wouldn’t have bothered me much if I had Sarah with me. I did find it frustrating to only have enough signal to text and just white noise if the phone call did connect. With that in mind, it was out with my bike early the following morning for a ride up the hill to find a signal. I found the perfect spot overlooking the small motor camp at Barrons Farm. This is somewhere we have never stayed and looking at the road (track) down to the campsite I am not sure that the motorhome would make it back up the hill.
Then out with the fishing rod and a stroll to the next bay round from the camp, for a bit of a fish. Having previously caught fish directly from the beach before, that was where I started, but without a bite, I moved to the rocks at the far end of the beach. Making an excellent job of catching nothing except snags I gave up to head back to the motorhome and joined everyone for morning tea.
And what a morning tea it was with almost everyone providing something (read cakes/scones/biscuits etc.) I felt embarrassed about the display of food when I hadn’t made anything to contribute. Maybe not as embarrassed as Colin who in jest had volunteered Neville and Sue’s van. As the venue only to then have Sue offer sausage rolls to everyone that she had cooked in her stove. Thanks, Sue, they were delicious! There was no need for lunch after a morning tea of that size.
It was then time to have another go at trying to catch the elusive fish. With a couple of people already surfcasting out from the camp. I wandered down the other end of the beach for a solo fish. Sadly, the fish had decided that this was the perfect weekend for their holidays as absolutely nothing was biting.
It was while I was at the other end that I noticed Ken together with most of the others in the group setting up his fishing cannon (at least that’s what I call it) he had made this cannon himself which uses compressed air to launch the sinker and bait much further that you could surfcast. As Ken had left his compressor at home, he was using a large bicycle pump to get air into the cannon. Judging by the number of people who had a go at pumping it was quite hard work to get it to launch a PSI of 100.
The first fire resulted in a strike; however, Ken lost the fish in the fight to get it back to shore. One disadvantage of getting it out so far is it’s a long way to rewind it in. While Ken was setting up for another go, I decided that I had wasted enough time trying to catch the non-existent fish and wound in to then go and inspect the mighty cannon. As I was wandering back down the beach, the second firing took place sadly the cannon malfunctioned sending the sinker out hundreds of metres without either the line or bait attached as the cannon tube came apart separating the sinker from the line. Oh well, there’s always next time.
With the waves barely more than a ripple and the water looking so inviting after I had put away the fishing rod, it was on with the togs, back to the beach for a swim. Considering it’s the middle of April the water is warmer than you might expect. It was delightful even if the rest of the group all thought I was mad. At least I enjoyed it.
For the second day in a row after a decent happy hour sharing stories, the sunset lit up the sky behind the camp with a beautiful orange glow. It’s when you get back to the motorhome, knowing that you are on your own without your lifelong companion that being away solo becomes much harder. There is no one to share the stories of the day with and without cellphone coverage to say goodnight too, it wasn’t the best of nights.
A night made even worse with the alarm from the fridge telling me that it had run out of gas at 4am. From that point, it was impossible to get back to sleep, and I decided that flying solo, leaving Sarah behind is not something that I would do again in a hurry. I could have stayed another night, in fact, that was the original plan, but I just didn’t have it in me and headed home after breakfast.
The Dethleffs group had like last time made me feel very welcome, and I certainly enjoyed everyone’s company. I just missed Sarah a lot more than I thought I would. The next gathering of this little group will happen again in a few months, and I am looking forward to being there with Sarah and Mr Blobby.
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