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  Sunday, 30 November 2003

The Pelorus River. The most beautiful river I have kayaked so far. This afternoon Devon and I decided to explore a 10km run from the point where the Tin-line River joins it, down to Totara Flat, which just after the Pelorus Bridge and the Rai River joins the flow. Its not the biggest river around; we bounced over a few rocks on the way down, but it is interesting and certainly picturesque. Losts of native forests on along the banks and an amazing rocky gorge section as you pass under the Pelorus Bridge.  Deep green pools of cool clear water interspersed with tight rocky rapids made this a fun afternoon.

The start of the run. Click to enlarge (69k)

Where the Rai River meets the Pelorus River.

Devon beside an old bridge piling.

The Pelorus Bridge. I remember when I was younger this bridge represented a challenge to every local kid. If you could jump off this bridge you were made of the right stuff. Now there is a sign prohibiting anybody from leaping from the bridge. Probably a good thing...

9:35:15 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 29 November 2003

I went out for a paddle this morning, before the afternoon sea breeze kicked in. I hadn't been around the Nelson Haven for a while. The Haven is a large inlet seperated from the open waters of Tasman Bay by the Boulder Bank, a natural breakwater several kilometer long. Port Nelson occupies part of the Haven and is always a hive of recreational activity on a Saturday morning. This morning I saw other kayakers, fishermen (including one man hauling in an octopus), water-skiers, rowing teams, a dragon boat team, fizz boats off to get a feed of scallops, keelers hoisting sails, and a whole gaggle of Learn-2-Sail optimists.

Now this takes me back to my childhood here in Nelson. Learning to sail an optimist yacht is a part of growing up for many Kiwi kids. They are really just plywood dinghies with a centerboard, a mast, rudder, and a distinctive four-sided sail. They are easy to handle, and if you do manage to tip one over, they can be righted by one small person.

I remember going to Saturday morning learn-2-sail courses and was pleased to witness another generation of kids doing the same this morning. Some of the happiest memories of my life...

3:31:36 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 28 November 2003

10:44:00 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 27 November 2003

The Fantail. A tiny bird which I often admire for it aerial agility. They can catch flying insects on the wing. Their tails open up like japanese fans.

It took ages to get this shot. The little buggers don't sit still for long but they are cute.

10:41:56 PM    Comment []

What do ya do, when you've just finished work, its blowing half a gale, theres a really cold wind thats seems 2 minutes from snow. Its just started raining that big-old fat rain, and whats left of the sun has all but dissappeared behind a big muddy-grey rain cloud. The wind is picking up and the temperatures dropping. What. do. you. do?

You go fly a kite, thats what. In fact, fly three of them, all strung together, while sitting on a flimsy three wheeled contraption with no brakes. Hurtle around a wet beach for about 20km or so, or until your arms are burning, your fingers are blue, and your face is numb. It does wonders for the soul...

ps. no prizes for spotting the  lines from two different movies in this post ;P

7:46:52 PM    Comment []

The sooner I fall behind, the more time I'll have to catch up...

7:23:33 PM    Comment []

Wow... my blog has had a rush of traffic today! Probably because Ivette, Michael and GeminiGirl have all posted links to CoffeeWaffle recently! My little bloggy universe just got a little bigger. Thanks guys.

oh... and how could I forget Ana whose photography I have been really enjoying recently :)

6:29:31 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 26 November 2003

9:53:12 PM    Comment []

Today I installed the latest Adobe Creative Suite. Cool. It still lacks the killer feature of coming up with ideas for you though. But it is packed with heaps of other cool features I'll probably only ever scratch the surface of.

I was amused, while registering my new software, at the choices for "product language". Now, I only speak one language. English. So its this type of thing is usually a breeze for me. But here I was faced with the choice of...

  • Universal English
  • World Wide English
  • European English
  • International English
  • and US English

I'm not comfortable with not knowing which English I speak!

And how many more words are there in the Universal English language, as oposed to the presumably smaller, World Wide English?

9:00:05 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 25 November 2003

This wharf picture was snapped a couple of years ago on film. I have taken many shots of wharfs since but this picture remains one of my favourites. This wharf and the waterfront area around it (Rocks Road) is currently being remodeled with boards walks, resturants, apartments, yacht marinas, and large palm trees they truck in. This view may never be the same again.

9:39:11 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 24 November 2003

A friend got this shot of me in my kite buggy on Saturday afternoon using some new digital binoculars. Its the only decent shot I have of me doing this. Being a keen photographer means I don't have many photos of myself taken from more than an arms length away. This was at Wakapuaka in light winds.

10:06:43 PM    Comment []

Yesterday was an adventurous day. No kayaking (to windy) but Devon and I went for a drive to the west coast of the South Island to scout out some future kayking runs. This coast is blessed with some of New Zealands most beautiful and rugged scenery, as well as more than its fair share of great kayaking rivers. The biggest of these is the Buller River. This is a BIG volume river and is a mecca for kayakers and rafters alike. It is fed into by dozens other rivers and lakes as it carves through this rugged landscape to emerge into the Tasman Sea on the West Coast. One day we hope to paddle its entire length from its source at lake Rotoiti, to the sea at Westport. Then there's the Karamea River, the whiskey coloured Oparara River, Mokihinui River, the Owen River, the Matakitaki River, the Maruia River (not to mention the falls), and the legendary Granity Creek to name just a few of the great rides we have to look forward to. Unfortunatly alot of them are class 4-5, and we a still thrashing around in class 2-3 stuff. There experienced to be gained... but we have heaps of incentive!

The tunnel to nowhere.

The West Coast gets a lot of rain. The bush is lush.

In places this road is literally carved out of rock. That's the Buller River to the right.

This Matai tree is huge. There are large vines that  take over the tree and almost smother its base.

The canopy above is a whole new ecosystem.

YeeHa! One of many views of the buller from the road.

Karamea beach. (mental note. Return here with kites and buggy in a westerly.)

Lake Hanlon. 10 minutes walk through dense bush from the road to Karamea (click for large view 160k).

The windswept coast.

The Buller River just before it meets the sea at Westport.

2:15:12 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 22 November 2003

"...the wise man looks into space, and does not regard the small as too little, nor the great as too big; for he knows that there is no limit to dimensions."

9:33:30 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 21 November 2003

The cabbage trees at Wakapuaka sand flats grow stunted but strong. This one stands only as high as me but has put forth an admirable flowering effort.

11:22:47 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 20 November 2003

Lichen between two fence slats, with the late summer sun behind it. This shot was taken on film a few summers ago just across the road from home.

9:58:26 PM    Comment []

Going through a well known fast food resturant's drive through recently...

Me: "Could I get a burger combo and a large banna shake. And if its not to much trouble could I get a large cup of water for my dog. She's been on the beach for a few hours and really needs a drink."

I pay and then drive to the next window where  I am asked... "ah... would your dog like ice with that water, dude?"

"No, that's OK" I answer, wondering what planet this kids from.

Few seconds later he's back with my shake, a jumbo cup of water, just like I asked (no ice), and two straws...

7:45:28 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 19 November 2003

I ran out of day yesterday, and neglected to post my daily photo as promised. So today you get two, totally random and unrealted shots...

Curising through Nelson just after I got my new digital camera.

This is Jack (aka boof-head). He is my friend Devon's dog, and if you knew Jack you would say this picture says alot about his personality. No one can time an exit... like Jack.

7:19:51 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 17 November 2003

This is another shot that was taken back in September, as a part of the series that produced this panorama.

7:27:29 PM    Comment []

There's a horrible, gusty, easterly wind blowing here today. And when I say gusty, I mean gusty enough to blow the car unexpectedly sideways along Atawhai Drive on my way home. Although it doesn't come around often, the easterly is the only wind, around here,where there's really no good kiting to be had, anywhere. The gusting means its really hard to find the right sized kite for a start. One second you'll be way over powered, and the next, your kite can just drop from the sky. Its an unpredicable wind.

Anyway, I decided to drop one of my excaliburs off at the kite shop, since I won't be needing it today, at least! It needs a few repairs after the strong winds lately. The backbone of the kite had popped right through the skin (ouch!). It kept flying but left a tear which is just getting bigger. I can't seem to visit that shop without buying something; a kite for my neice's birthday, a harness for my two line kites, frisbee for the dog, etc... and today it was a splash gaurd for the buggy. Of course I had to drag the buggy out, assemble it, and fit the splash gaurd to see what it looked like, even though there was no chance of using it today :)

Ta DA! (its the red thingy)

6:33:41 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 16 November 2003

We decided to return to the Motueka River today. We left my car at the Graham River take-out spot, the same as last week, then drove in Devon's van back to the put-in, but this time we explored up-river further. Instead of putting in at the Baton Bridge like last time, we drove further back up the road until we found another place where we could reach the river easily from the road. This added almost 3km to the run taking the distance to paddle to 10km. It also added a couple of nice rapids we hadn't run before.

The other nice thing about the new put in was the lupins in flower on the river bank (at least I think they're lupins, anyone know what they are for sure?). I photographed the sea of colour they created. I wish I could have captured the sweet smell too...

8:42:10 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 15 November 2003

The only drawback of all the good kiting wind we've been getting lately, is it's no good for kayaking. These days if I want to go kayaking (on the sea)  its got to be in the morning or evening, there's too much wind in the afternoons. Today was no exception, with a gusty SW wind arriving (as per the forecast) around lunchtime. After 4 o'clock, as the sun gets lower, the wind usually drops away. The sun doesn't set till 8ish these days so there's a chance to kayak in the hours between.

Today Devon and I took advantage of this window and went for a paddle in Cable Bay. Along the south west side of Pepin Island there was a large swell rolling in. Usually we can kayak right into the many caves around here but not today. Out in the deeper water the huge swells made for intermitant views as you crested each wave. Fellow kayakers would dissappear out of view into the troughs between each pair.

Closer in, where the water gets shallow, some very rideable waves were rolling in at the north side of Cable Bay. We spent about an hour just surfing in these. Before this afternoon Devon was proud that since getting his kayak he had only fallen in twice, where as my 'score' was three. The tables turned today though with Devon going for three unexpected swims while I managed to stay in my seat the whole time. 5-3 to me! Ha!

Below you can kind of see the size of the swells that were rolling into the bay. Great fun to ride when they break in the shallower water. A little tricky to photograph there though. I was even a little reluctant to take the camera out of its water-proof bag for this shot!

8:25:10 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 14 November 2003

An almost perfect sea breeze at the beach this afternoon. I clocked up 28km on the kite buggy, using three excaliburs, after work which is a long way on a short beach.

I have sand in my socks...

11:47:54 PM    Comment []

11:12:22 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 13 November 2003

I have a huge collection of photos...really ;)   I have been taking pictures almost constantly now, for 10 years, first on film and now digital. I have a draw full of negatives. Pictures of anceint forests, warped trees, rock formations, sunsets galore, wharfs, boats, fish, heaps of neice and nephew shots, my old car... I also now have about a gigabyte of photography taken on my new camera, only a fraction of which, I have published here.

Then theres all the floppy disks I have stashed away in draws and shelfs around the house. They are full of snaps I took with my old camera, which used a floppy disk which you just slotted into the side of it. Very handy but it only took shots 640x480 pixels, a good size for emailing but thats about it... except for maybe posting it on a blog, when you can't think of anything insprational to write about... like today.

So... I have decided to make a point of posting at least a picture a day. If I don't have one to post I'll just pick one from the archive, and post it instead...

This one was taken in colour, under a crimson sky. The sunset looked incredible, I filled to disks with great shots, but it wasn't until I converted this shot to greyscale, that I saw the couple on the beach. Sudenly this shot spoke volumes more... more than it had with all that striking colour.

7:13:31 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 11 November 2003

8.30pm - West of here.
8:58:25 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 10 November 2003

Yesterday was spent kayaking the Motueka River again. I can't get enough of this river, and it sure beats paddling 'uphill'. The water is clear and bottle green from a distance, like the masses of willows, wattles and countless other trees bursting forth from its banks. The rapids on the strech between the Baton Bridge and the Graham Valley are fun, but always wide enough to give you plenty of options. I've been down this 7km piece of the river three times now and I'm still finding new waves and routes on each rapid.

We ran the 7km twice yesterday. Here are a few highlights...

This little place is near the start of the run. I actually rented this 'shack' for about two years in the late 90's while I was off work waiting on a shoulder operation. Being paid by the Government to do nothing while living here was great, even if I did have a bung shoulder the whole time. This place remains my all time favourite place I have lived!

(Click for 1024x768 desktop wallpaper (83k))
The bottom of a typical rapid. We have dubbed this one 'the dolphin rapid' because the large rock to the left looks just like a huge dolphin's head coming out of the water.

Variety of Riverstones.

A sceneic drift about halfway down.

Kaycee gets the job of car alarm for the day. (she takes her job very seriously).

The signpost at the Baton Bridge put-in.

The final kilometre is a gentle drift and wind-down before the take-out. A chance for all the rants about "this rapid" and "that wave", "did ya see me when..."!

6:50:29 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 7 November 2003

Today was Senior Prizegiving at school/work. That means the junior school go home early and the seniors and teachers spend the afternoon sitting on hard chairs, in a stuffy assembly hall. For me, it means I can sneak an afternoon off work.

Today is also my 32nd birthday. So the afternoon off was spent in the best way I could think of. Kite buggying with a storm kite in howling NW winds, on Rabbit Island beach. The speed record I set the other day is now exactly 1kph faster. With two excaliburs (again) I ran the enitre length  of the beach (7.76km west to east) in exactly 12 minutes and 18 seconds, with a top speed of 64kph! The wind kept picking up and soon I was flying just one kite, instead of two.

I retired to the car at 7pm after clocking up 38.5km up and down the beach. I had buggied through 2 or three rain-showers but the wind had been perfect. They storm front made a dramatic sky.:D

The wind was blowing balls of foam across the beach like tumble-weeds.

Todays kiting desktop wallpaper (1600x1200) . My black excalibur kite against the stormy sky.

11:07:44 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 6 November 2003

"The longer I live, the more I realise the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than succeses, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company..... a church.....a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding he attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past....we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude..... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our Attitudes."
Charles Swindoll

Found on Zion's World

Word's to live by, I'd say.

6:39:50 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 4 November 2003

Another windy day! I was 'wind-watching' all day, out the window at work. When I left, at around 3.30, there seemed to be no wind at all. But, it was just a lull as it changed direction to become a crisp, stong northerly by the time I got to the beach. Perfect! The tide was just low enough to allow a nice run up and down the beach. Even better still, there was hardly any people around so lots of room for speed. My previous personal best was 52.5kph in the kite buggy, and I did that here during the winter in almost exactly the same conditions. Too much wind to fly 3 excaliburs today but I went with a 2-stack instead. After 3 or 4 lengths of the shortish (1 or 2 km) beach I had a new top speed of 63kmh! I glad I bought that buggy helmet now.

Heres a video of me scudding, (thats being dragged through the sand like a barefoot water-skier by really big, loud, kites >:D ) with the two kites, just before taking off in the buggy to break my record! As you can see, there was plenty of power.

I still can't wipe the grin of my face! 8D

9:50:36 PM    Comment []

How come decaffeinated coffee costs more than the stuff with the caffine?
8:05:54 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 3 November 2003

I forgot my wallet when I left the house this morning. That's not an uncommon thing for me to do. I swear, I'm getting more absent minded by the day. I think I'm getting "old-timers" disease or something, or maybe I'm taking to much ... er ...medicine... these days.

This afternoon, for example I was reading an artical on the internet when my boss's phone rang across the other side of the room. He wasn't there so, on automatic pilot, I reached to my phone and dialed the 5 digit combo that lets me pick up his call (hardly taking my eyes off the screen to do so).  I then put the phone to my ear and continued reading my screen, silently. A full 10 seconds must have passed when I tuned back in and realised that I was answering a call, not making one, and it was customary in this situation for me to speak first...

Me: "uh.. hello?"
Di (receptionist): "Ello! Tune out for a second there did we? (laughing)"
Me (laughing): "Um... yeah, not sure what happened there. Must be working to hard... I think I was waiting for it to start ringing, ...or something..."
Di: "Thats alright, I knew you get around to speaking some time. He (the boss) does it all the time."
Me: "Oh, I feel alot better now..."

I'm losing my mind!

Oh, and the wallet? Well its not usually a problem because I have a tab at the school canteen to get lunch and that gets me through the day. Today, however the cars fuel gauge was on empty, and halfway to work the warning light came on, and stayed on.  I should have just enough to get home after work, and then 5 minutes back down the road to the only fuel stop near home. Sure enough I made it home (stopping on the way for another buggy session at Wakapuaka, this time in SW winds). I picked up my wallet and drove straight back to the shop, only to see a sign on all three pumps saying "No Fuel". The tank was dry and the truck wasn't expected till tomorrow!  I didn't think I'd have enough in the tank to drive the 25km back into town in the morning. Thats when the friendly neighbourhood shop owner went out the back and came back with 5 litres of petrol in a can.  She said it was for the lawn mower but she won't be needing it today. Now you wouldn't get that kind of service just anywhere!

Now what was I talking about again...?

7:56:31 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 2 November 2003

Had a great time kite buggying at the Wakapuaka Sand Flat today. Most of the spring rain had dried up and there were only a few wet patches to look out for. The surface was dry and fast out in the middle. The 40kph Northerlies forecast had arrived and after flying 2 excaliburs my arms were like jelly after exactly 12 minutes in the buggy. I stopped for a rest and put one kite away, leaving a single black excalibur...

...a fitting tribute for halloween I thought.

It was a pleasure to buggy with just a single delta. The relatively light power, responsivness and speed of one kite compared to a c-quad or a stack means you can do loops and dives and all sorts of stunts while your buggying. Its alot of fun. Kaycee has worn herself out chasing the kite and buggy for about 2 hours solid! She is sleeping soundly now. Even the storm outside (brought to us by those 40 kph northerlies) isn't enough to rouse her.

Here's a wee video production (950k) of my buggying today including a ride in the buggy with me).

  • ps. I just realised that the link to the video (890k) in this story was wrong and no-one would have been able to access it. I fixed it... So go look now.... ;)

12:17:48 AM    Comment []

  Saturday, 1 November 2003

I just weed-whacked the entire section. What an effort! It looks 100% better now though. I love the smell of freshly cut grass.

You know its time to cut the grass when you start losing your dog in it...

1:41:07 PM    Comment []

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