Tuesday, April 17, 2018

ABC- Auckland Blo Kart Club, New Zealand

We're slowly working our way around the top of the north island of New Zealand heading to Auckland.  We're going much slower and doing shorter days than those on the south island.  We're even spending a day or two in one place!

One of the places on the west coast that we found was Waipapakauri about 1/3 of the way along the famous 90 Mile beach at the very tip of the north end. Just after pulling into the campsite late afternoon, we spotted some very interesting looking 'toys' being washed and cared for by other campers/guests.

We had stumbled into the Auckland BloKart Club's semi annual rendezvous - 4 days of racing along 90 mile beach along with lots of socializing and an awards dinner on Saturday night.  Tom and I were very interested in the carts and stopped to chat with our neighbor while he was cleaning gear.

Most of the group was about our age 35-70, a few couples some of whom both are racers, a few singles and lots of enthusiasm.  This group has been meeting in this location twice a year for the past 12 years.  When we learned that they have a 'mischief committee' we were hooked! We decided to stay an extra day and photograph the next days races.

We headed down to the beach the next morning and just stumbled upon their starting point.  With our rental RV, we are not allowed on 90 mile beach.  We had to find an access point to get there.  This involved getting permission from Ricky at the logging headquarters of Summit Forest to be allowed on their roads.  Turned out we picked the right one as our road ended at their gathering point!

They had many races over the course of the day, so both Tom and I got about 600 shots each!  Talk about an editing task!  
Somehow, Lefty got a ride... the little bugger!
After returning from the beach and   going through our images, the group graciously invited us to attend their “Western” themed costume awards dinner. 

A roasted lamb, and a whole bunch of sides had been prepared by the holiday park.  Tom and I were asked to participate in the evening as judges – me for costumes, Tom for the Tall Tales story-telling contest.  Lefty, once again, made many friends.. who all seemed to think he needed a drink!

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, with lots of laughter and possibly some new New Zealand contacts for our next trip.  We have been deemed worthy of a ride in a BloKart!  We will be back!
 And,   Lefty the Party Animal, will be back for another ride!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Rockell Bay - Mom's picnic on the beach, New Zealand

The sunrise on Saturday was lovely.  I’ve had mixed feelings about having another ‘service’ for Mom.  This is what she had requested, but it just made all the emotions and grief resurface for all of us.  I bucked up and with the help of Mom’s ‘adopted’ New Zealand daughter, Glenda and good friend Glenys, we got the food prepared, the tables decorated, gave directions to the guys and were ready for the neighbors to arrive at 12.

Glenda and Glenys helped to keep the mood in the kitchen light hearted!

Dad gave a few words, then we all walked 
down to a spot that had been chosen for a
 Puhutakawa tree, a Maori Princess, 
to be planted in Mom’s honor. 

About half of her ashes were spread here.  The afternoon was spent socializing and getting caught up on friends and neighbors life and activities.  The day ended with one more group swim to Ken’s boat for some ‘jumping off’ activites.

About 15 of us shared some campfire memories from previous visits and the famous New Zealand humor until late in the evening.

                         Our New Zealand family and friends gathered for a great picnic.

Sunday morning, we all gathered once again and as a group headed just off shore in Kens boat.  A few more final words were said.  

Then in sight of our bach at Rockell Bay and Brookers Bay, previous home to  their dear friends Brian and Margaret’s – the instigators for getting them to NZ in the first place, Dad placed the rest of Mom’s ashes in the sea.  

The wind stopped, the sky was beautiful and the ocean was teal blue , the same color of  Mom’s eyes.  

Brandon, Dylan, Brian and Dad

Dylan dreams about his own yacht.... someday!

Glenda, our adopted sister!

Carl and Hayden

Laura, Carl and Glenda

Rory, our adopted cousin

Sheryl, our other adopted sister and Alesha in the background, another cousin!

It’s done.  …..Well, except for the ‘shooting her out of a cannon’ part  - also a request of hers!  But that will have to wait until we return to the states for that little caper!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Thames to Whananaki/Rockells Bay New Zealand

We arrived at the 'family' bach on Tuesday afternoon and enjoyed two quiet days lounging and getting caught up with emails, and chores. (A bach is New Zealander for small house/shack on the beach. Ours was updated to a nice comfy, one bedroom, one bath, kitchen and small family room/bunk room.)
My folks had purchased the bach some 25 years ago - along with several hundred acres and beachfront property and used it almost every year for several months in our winters. Several years ago, Mom had an medical issue on the flight to NZ and decided she just couldn't take the long flight to get here. The decision was made to sell the property. A few phone calls were made to our New Zealand friends and one of them Ken, purchased it in 2015. Part of the purchase agreement was to let any of our family use it whenever we wanted. Dad had booked 10 days here, for down time, a family reunion and the "picnic on the beach" that Mom had requested before she passed away.
A late afternoon fishing trip resulted in fish for dinner! Tom and I got up early to explore some of the back acreage.
We were trying to find the earthen dam that I had hiked to, on a previous visit, 19 years ago. Going mostly by instinct, we climbed hills, and over gates and it all felt right, until it didn't! We turned around at that point, and later learned we were 20' from the turn in the trail! We did have a good time; the light was beautiful, and the greens were stunning.
Carl and his family arrived on Thursday afternoon along with Ken on his 48' motor launch. Friday Ken took all of us out for a day of exploring the Poor Knight Islands and for fishing.
The islands are all a reserve and it is prohibited to go ashore anywhere. I'm not sure where you would as it's pretty rugged. There were many caves and arches dotted along the shore line, with one being big enough for a small yacht. We choose to keep the big boat outside, but we all may a dinghy run inside before continuing our tour around the islands.
inside the cave, the water really looked that blue!
I kept spotting faces and critters in the rocks.
A lizard facing us.
And the 'fallen face'.
Capt Ken dropped the anchor in yet another scenic spot to let the kids go for a snorkel.
The rest of us just hung out in a small squall, being lulled to sleep with the rocking of the boat.
Once they were back on board, we headed to just outside of the reserve boundary, where there is a sea mount. The anchor was dropped on the mount, and the gear was in the water. Mason hollered 'fish on!' almost immediately and the catching began! Those of us that wanted to fish were very successful and had fun. The biggest was caught by Logan and reeled in by Carl - a snapper at 15 pounds!
The fisher people were very successful and filled up a cooler for a big fish cook- off later that night and the next day. We headed back to the beach to see my younger brother Brian and his 2 boys, Brandon and Dylan having fun in the water and hanging out at the beach. The whole family was here.
All the cooks gathered in the kitchen to whip up some good food - fresh fish fixed 3 ways, fresh venison, pasta, and several salads. Needless to say, after a day on the water there wasn't any food left over!