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  Wednesday, 29 October 2003

I've just finished publishing the photo album of the Moose Meet on the Nelson Kite Club site.

Look out for some desktop wallpaper sized images on Desktop Decor soon.

5:44:10 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 27 October 2003

I 'm home... and I am shattered after an incredible weekend in what was like another planet. 'Moose-land' is the nick-name among buggiers, for the area of sand dunes at the end of the Muriwai Peninsula. Moose-land is also where I found kite buggy nirvana. The only way to get there is 50km along Muriwai beach by 4x4 or when the wind is just right, as it was for us, you can 'Moose-nuke' the beach. The wind Saturday morning was hitting the beach at the perfect angle to power us straight up the beach in one long reach. Thats 50km fully powered-up with the biggest power-kite you can hold onto going as fast as you dare. No engines, no noise but the wind in your lines, no fumes, and no brakes! Ted drove the van up the beach, so I used his 5-wheel buggy, and my new 6.3m C-Quad to moose-nuke Muriwai Beach in 1 hour 17 minutes with a top speed of 48.5kph. Awesome! The most fun I have had in a buggy... ever!

Heres one photo of base camp on Saturday evening for now. I have many stories to tell and a ga-zillion photos to post but right now I must rest....

11:39:50 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 23 October 2003

The weekend has arrived! At least for me anyway. I am at home now waiting for a van full of Nelson Kite Club members to pick me up. They'll be on their way out of town, going to the Moose Madness Kite Buggy Meet at Muriwai Beach. Here's the rough plan of the weekend.

In about an hours time we leave here for picton (2 hours away). We stay the night there at the house of yet another clubbie.

Friday 5,30am (arrrgghh) we catch the first ferry of the day to Wellington in the North Island. When then drive all day to Auckland and finally to the camp ground at Muriwai Beach.

Saturday we pack up from the camp ground and drive 50km up the beach to 'Moose Lands', a huge expanse of hard black sand and huge sand-dunes. A kite buggiers paradise! We camp in the sand dunes Saturday night (must be fully self sufficent here, bring our own water, etc).

Sunday after more buggying we head back down the beach and begin the drive back to Wellington, stopping for the night somewhere on the way , depending on how tired we are.

Monday, catch a ferry back and drive to Nelson. Probably collapse from exhaustion upon arrival.

Tuesday I have taken off work for recovery....

Now I'd better finish packing.... Don't you hate that feeling like you know you forgotten to pack something but can't think what?

5:58:27 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 21 October 2003

I thought it was pretty full-on flying a stack of three excaliburs... This put it into perspective for me!
9:43:39 PM    Comment []

Act, in your words and works, as though you will never see your peers again. You will not.


7:55:54 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 20 October 2003

After another stinking hot day at work I escaped this afternoon, to the beach to finally test fly the new kite I picked up on Saturday. I'm also happy to finally have a decent photo of my stack of excaliburs in flight. I asked a fellow kite flyer if they would take my camera and get a photo of them from the other end of the lines. So heres a picture of my kites in full flight from the view I don't usually see, (the new one is the all-black one nearest me, the flyer). Each one of these kites is 2.2 meters from wingtip to wingtip. I am happy to say they pull like a train, in even the light sea-breeze I flew in today. After about an hour of getting acustomed to flying the extra kite, my arms felt like jelly, and I think they are slightly longer too. Wait till I use these with the buggy at Muriwai! I feel a new personal best, top speed coming on... ;D

8:40:54 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 19 October 2003

Today we finally kayaked a good portion of the Motueka river.  The river was back to its normal level since the last time we vistied it. Shane, Devon and I were all up for it today and we had driven to the Baton Bridge put-in by about 10.30am... we were ready for a big day! And a great day we had. We did three runs in all. The first 5-6 km after the Baton Bridge was run twice, then we did about 15km from the Baton Bridge, to the spot where the Graeme River joins the Motueka River. This last section had a rapid in it we have now dubbed "Shane's Chute". Shane swam on this fast and narrow rapid and I caught it on video.

Heres Devon showing how its done on "Shane's Chute"

Spring is a bueatiful time to be paddling this river. Note the snow on the mountain in the back-ground of this shot. The water felt like freshly melted snow!

6:53:38 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 17 October 2003

Can anyone else see the somber looking face gazing out to sea?

A vertical panorama for a change (3 shots joined).

This image is linked to a 1600x1200 (89k) version for those of you with large desktops.

11:05:27 PM    Comment []

It felt like the middle of summer all day. This afternoon I put the electric heaters away in the storeroom and dragged out the freestanding fans. With all the windows wide open and three large fans going in various corner of the library it was still uncomfortably hot. I wanted to take my shoes and socks off but didn't want to alienate my co-workers.

I left work at 4.20pm today and headed straight around to Devon's place because I knew he would have been thinking about kayaking all day too. I got there to find his van gone, and both his kayak and his brother Shane's kayak missing. I knew exactly what was up.  Straight home (in the fast lane) to find a scrawled note stuffed into the keyhole of my front door;
"Gone to Cable Bay for a look. Meet us there if you're keen."
A quick change into my kayaking gear. Threw Kaycee in the car, and the kayak on the car and away!

I got to Cable Bay (which is only about 10 minutes away) to see Shane and Devon about 200 metres off shore just heading out. I caught them up and we went about 3/4 of the way around the Pepin Island and then turned and came back timing it so we arrived back in Cable Bay right on sunset (photos to be posted very shortly).

In my rush to get on the water I have neglected to do the grocery shopping today. I am out of dog food, bread, butter, microwave dinners, juice, snack food....etc etc. I've had museli for dinner, and Kaycee (the dog) was lucky enough to get a small can of irish stew which I had purchased for my own consumption (hmmm... what wrong with this picture?). She usually only eats dry dog food so the irish stew will probably make her breath stink. She won't be sleeping in my bed tonight (although right now she's busy making a 'nest' out of my duvee dovae big blanket.)

I also neglected to visit the kite shop after work. They emailed me today to let me know my new, custom made, all black Excalibur has arrived. So now I will have THREE to fly in my stack. MORE POWER!!! Picking up the kite is the very first thing on tomorrows list. I am happy it has arrived in time for Moose Madness, which is a kite buggy meet I'm going to next weekend at Muriwai beach(about 40 mins drive north of Auckland). This is a full on 4 day mission. One day to travel there, two days (and one night in tents) kite buggying in the huge sand dunes of Muriwai beach and another day to get home. I can't wait :D

9:42:22 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 16 October 2003

8:49:35 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 15 October 2003

Today was one of those days...

At work nothing would go right. I battled all day with "Unspecified" internal server errors, and roaming user profiles that don't roam. (Its actually surprisingly upsetting for me when my PC doesn't remember me anymore).  I can't think of a more dispairing error message than "unspecified error". In english I think it means WTF but the PC lacks the vocabulary to really express itself in these situations.

I made literally no progress on anything, all day so by the time I left for home I felt drained (and grumpy).

Some stress relief was needed and a 2 hour paddle around the south coast of Pepin Island did the trick. It was nice to paddle on crystal clear water again. The last few weeks we've had so much rain the the waters everywhere were cloudy. I didn't realise how much I enjoy watching the sea floor drift by while kayaking until it was gone from view for a month or so.

8:06:49 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 14 October 2003

I have run out of energy today. I've had a couple of late nights, and early mornings and I think its caught up to me.

I just added Momo Freaks Out to my blogroll. I found her blog through Zions World and have been reading for a few days. Since I can't be bother posting much today you should go and read her very funny post about a paint-by-numbers panda.

I think I'll go fall asleep in front of a movie now....

7:31:12 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 12 October 2003

For the second time in my short kayaking history I have paddled right around Pepin Island.

We found this hidden waterfall. Its not visable from the sea as you paddle by. We've been past here 4 or 5 times before and never seen it (It probably dries up some of the time too).

This shot shows the hidden waterfall to the right (just above the kayaks). This shot is made up of 11 frames shot vertically.


Thats me sitting behind the waterfall.

The view of the esturay at high tide. Cable Bay is on the left, Delaware Bay on the right, the end-on view of Pepin Island in the middle. This photo was stiched together in Photoshop from 11 frames.

10:38:31 PM    Comment []

The rain didn't let up all day yesterday. Today it is still cloudly but its not raining at the moment (I just got out of bed) so kayaking might be on the cards...

I went for a walk up the valley last evening in the drizzle. With all the new spring growth and the fesh rain everything looks so clean and green.

9:30:34 AM    Comment []

  Saturday, 11 October 2003

Another rainy Saturday. Three weekends in a row! We've had lots of nice days during the week then come Friday afternoon and the clouds start rolling in. At least its not raining hard so if it does clear the rivers won't be too high for kayaking (touch wood).

I dragged my tent out from under the bed last night. I haven't used it in years so I was planning to pitch it on the back lawn this morning to check all the parts are there. I wonder, is it bad luck to pitch a tent inside?

10:05:06 AM    Comment []

  Thursday, 9 October 2003

found in "the even more complete book of Australian Verse" by John Clarke.

Myer's Whopper
by Fifteen Bobsworth Longfellow

Take the pieces from the package,
Lay them out as per the graph,
Gathering the bits you'll need,
Removing what your shouldn't have.
With the implement provided
Ease the bearings to the left,
Push the little angled mullion
Up into the socket 'F'.
This will free the moulded bracket
Holding back the nylon strand,
Draw the slippery hoop and coupling
Through the right-hand rubber-band.
Put the topside brown side outside,
Push the inside upside down,
Underneath the left-hand wingnut,
Press the folding backward crown.
Overlapping lifting side-flaps
Lower in to fit the screws,
Pack up tools, retire to distance,
Don protective hat, light fuse.

6:29:45 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 7 October 2003

Check out the new site I've been developing for the kite club.
7:33:25 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 6 October 2003

I was putting together a little search page for a clients Intranet today. Just a simple web page with a search form on it that can submit your query to the search engine of your choice and return the formatted results. Of course I had to test it and decided to use my name as the search string (just to see what the other Murray Neill's of this world are up to, not to see how popular I am or anything... )

It was nice to see that CoffeeWaffle was top of the pops on Google and Yahoo! and I found myself on a list of "Non-Pro Kiwi Photographers on the Net" (with my name spelt wrong but my email right!). Excite also had me as the number one Murray Neill on the web, but I had to wonder why it thought my search for "Murray Neill" might have been a mis-spelling of  "Carol Zander"? Go figure. I guess when the search engines find this post Carol Zandor (whoever she is) and I will be erternally and cosmically connected via the great google cosmos! Weird.

Its funny how computers seem to occasionally remind us that they have no intelligence of their own. Like when my CD-writer software ejects the blank CD in the drive, asks you insert a blank CD, then happily writes to that same blank CD when you re-insert it (I think it secretly resents me being one step ahead).  Or when your image search on Google for "Castles" returns a picutre of a middle aged man and a lama. These things remind me that although computing has come a long way we've still got a long way to go. In auto-mobile terms we're dealing with model-T ford's here. Imagine what an internet search could be like to 100 years time. Hopefully an educator's dream...

  • An after-thought to this post... With all the strange meaningless error messages an operating system dishes up these days, just once I 'd like to see,

 "ERROR: I have no idea whats happened, or why... you should probably turn me off now."

It just has that 'honest' ring to it.

8:02:01 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 5 October 2003

The Motueka River was more of a river than we had anticipated today. Coffee coloured and very swift, it was probably not the best time for a couple of relativly inexperienced whitewater kayakers to make their first descent. The area we scouted last week had a few rapids along the way, but today the whole river was one big, flood swollen, rapid.

We did however make a few runs down this 500m stretch... just to see what it was like before retiring to the more predictable waters of the Appleby River for a 1 hour drift to Rabbit Island. We shall return to ride 'the Mighty Mot' before too long.

The Baton Bridge

The view from the bridge

The Appleby river was a little higher than usual but much more placid.

The banks were lined with many whitebaiters today. We managed to stay between the showers despite the threatening grey clouds.

8:47:52 PM    Comment []

Its that time of year. Kiwis all turned their clocks forward one hour last night. I hate waking up on a Sunday morning and loosing a whole hour of my day before I'm even out of bed! Its kind of depressing and I feel like I need to make up for it.

Today we were hoping to kayak part of the Motueka river. The weather today is still as weird and indecisive as it was yesterday. I woke to a blue sky this morning and it is clear and warm out there now, but half an hour ago I had to run off and put some warm socks on as the temperature plumetted and it rained, hard, for about 10 minutes. Hopefully it settles as the day goes on.

10:15:37 AM    Comment []

  Saturday, 4 October 2003

Today I went for a paddle through the wharfs around Nelson. Yesterday it rained and blew all day. A big storm has been making its way up the country. The forcast for today was more of the same so when I woke this morning to blue skys I was pleased.

By 10am it was still clear so I checked the forcast again. 'Occasional showers'. I still had blue skys. I loaded the kayak and drove towards town. The plan was to get some photos around Port Nelson, but apparently the 'occasion' the occasional showers were waiting had arrived. I was halfway there (about 10 minutes down the road) when I had to turn the windscreen wipers to full. I just started bucketing down. 'Just a shower' I said to myself, and kept driving. Arriving at the port I was greeted by bluesky again! A southerly breeze was there but not enough to put me off.

I paddled south through the harbour into the wind and a choppy sea, but soon tucked in under the wharfs, behind huge hulls of container ships, where the water was calm and the light surprisingly good.

This shot is my desktop wallpaper today

I've had a 'thing' for wharfs for a while now... Heres some other wharf pictures I've taken in the past. Mapua Wharf , French Pass Wharf , and even a 3D model of Fishermans Wharf on Rocks Road created with Bryce.

6:15:53 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 3 October 2003

I've finally got around to adding a blog roll to the site. Just a short list of my daily reads. My favourite blogs seem to be the ones without political agenda or even a specific topic. Rather they are usually just personal glimses of daily life from a like-minded individual. Often whimsical but always thoughtful. Thanks for your inspiration.

..and warm-fuzzies to ScorpioGirl and AdventureJournalist for linking to me.

10:09:46 AM    Comment []

  Thursday, 2 October 2003

I worked at home today. The webserver at work has lost a hard drive (again) and so is in hospital. I had some work backed up on the laptop so it wasn't enough of an excuse to take the day off.

Went and got the kayak wet after work. Just a play in the training waves at Cable Bay again. These waves are just big enough to take the kayak for a ride but not big enough to roll it (at least they haven't got me yet, which is good because the water still pretty cold around here). They keep you on your toes though, and its great exercise because you have to keep paddling the whole time your out there to keep control of your kayak. Once summer gets into full swing I'll be putting all this training to the test in the bigger surf of Delaware Bay.

6:43:20 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 1 October 2003

I spent some time today getting re-aquainted with Terragen. This program is so much fun! Its like virtual landscape photography where you control everything from the position of the sun to the density of the atmosphere, the shape of the terrain to the the reflectiveness of the water.

I ended up with this image after about 3 hours in Terragen and another hour touching up in Photoshop. My first attempt at a river with Terragen. I've titled it 'to the sea'.

3:06:25 PM    Comment []

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