Well That’s A Neat Party Trick

Earlier this year, I underwent another biopsy for my recurrent lymphoma. This involved chest surgery removing part of one rib to access the enlarged lymph node. After surgery and a suitable recovery period, we headed away to what we now know as the recovery ward aka Ramp Road, freedom camping. Sadly during winter, I developed a terrible cough and managed to cause a lung hernia underneath the scar on my chest. Nothing too painful as long as I don’t cough, sneeze or worst of all laugh.

A few weeks ago our motorhome mates John and Gaylene messaged us that they were organising a trip to the far North. With the first stop back at the recovery ward. I told them we would love to come, I just had to get an appointment with the Cardiothoracic surgeon out of the way first, and then we would be up there.

Hoping for some miracle band-aid treatment, I was disappointed to hear that there really wasn’t a surgical cure and that a fix would likely make the pain worse. So this leaves me with what my own doctor called a really neat party trick. A small balloon of lung that blows out of my chest every time I cough, sneeze or laugh.


Doctors appointment out of the way, we made our way north to the recovery ward or as its more commonly known Ramp Road. I’ve done a few blogs about this place and in each one I have mentioned the road into the camping area. If you are precious about your motorhome, you won’t be coming here. If however, you can handle a bit of the rough stuff then the short journey to the beach is well and truly worthwhile.


Usually, when we have come here, we have found our mates parked along the beachfront. This time we saw them set back from the beach on what is one of the few semi-flat spots here. Along with our usual buddies we also met John’s sister Jenny and her husband Willie, more about them in an upcoming blog.

It seemed like we had only just parked the motorhome before it was time to get out fishing. Tokerau Beach is a haven for people with Kontiki’s be they motorised or sent out on a kite. Adrian and Sally have a Predator, motorised torpedo, that had been playing up before we arrived. After some fiddling with the start switch, Adrian had been able to get it going. With both of us looking forward to a decent feed of snapper.

We always have a guessing game as the line starts to come in about the numbers of fish that will be landed. On this occasion, I guessed 4 with 5 actually hooked although we returned 2 to live another day. Like me, Adrian believes if you have to measure them, they are too small.

The following morning was the battle of Mrs Wishy Washy mark 1 and mark 2. Not really a battle more like two ladies with the same idea. Tips and, ideas were swapped and I think both benefited from a chat about the machines. If you are looking for a machine they no longer sell these new but are available on Trade Me from time to time usually between $50 and $100. They only weigh 14kgs so a lightweight and easy to manouvere.

Later in the morning with the washing sorted. We went for a stroll through the sand dunes that run alongside the beach. The abundance of flowers everywhere was really a sight to behold. Also, present in colossal number where snails which seemed to be all over the place. Maybe the full moon had dictated that it was time to mate or migrate, whatever the reason they were everywhere.

Walking back along the beach, we came across some locals in the process of retrieving their Kontiki, from the surf. It had broken loose the previous day and was sitting 60 or 70 metres from shore. They had scoured the length of the beach in the hope of finding it spotting it quite close to where it had been lost. One of them had gone out on a kayak through the surf to get it back.

Talking about getting lost. Later that day, another couple, John and Margaret, struck trouble trying to retrieve their Kontiki.  Having had their line out for a while, they started bringing it in only to have the line snag on something. Despite moving position on the beach and trying from different angles, they were unable to get it to budge. Various people from the camp came to try and help with nothing working.

I don’t know whose idea it was, but someone decided to ask one of the freedom campers, who also happened to be a surfer to help. He paddled out a couple of hundred metres, to try and retrieve the stuck Kontiki. At $3-5000, it’s not something you really want to lose. After a bit of a struggle, the Kontiki was returned to a very grateful owner.

With the Kontiki freed from the line, John was able to retrieve his long line and with it came two other lines in the tangle. One of these lines (not John’s) contained several fish including the 15lb snapper you can see in the above photo. I assume that this was the line that was lost the previous day as the fish were still fresh. Although the large one was dead, it tasted great smoked the next day.

Recently, for my birthday, two of my son’s had given me this Man Cave sign. Which I thought would be fabulous on the motorhome. My question here is inside or outside the door?

With another day of adventure (or misadventure) packed away. There was one final thing to do, try and get that perfect shot of the sun going down behind the flax.

Or try and capture the light reflecting off the motorhomes next to the beach. Whichever way you looked it was the perfect end to another fabulous day motorhoming.

No doubt this won’t be the last time I post about this place. There always seems to be another story to write and another adventure to be had. If you haven’t made the trip North, then I sincerely recommend that you come and spend a few days here at my recovery ward.

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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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