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  Saturday, 31 January 2004

3:26:13 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 27 January 2004

I had to take Kaycee (my dog) to the Vet this morning. About a week ago she somehow ripped a claw and was left with a very sore toe. It was healing nicely and a new claw was starting to grow. She had been keeping it very clean and I thought we had escaped a Vet visit, until yesterday. When I got home I noticed she was favouring that leg again and upon investigation found that the toe was very swollen, and purple, and looking very sore. It was no better this morning so work was put off and away to Kaycee least favourite place. They always remember it too. It must be 18 months since we'd been there but she knew as soon as I pulled into the carpark!

I was very proud. Kaycee put her head in my arm pit and stood as still as she could, (apart from the uncontrollable trembling) while the Doc trimed her all her claws, poked and proded her sore toe, took her temperature (you know where), and gave her a vacination jab. She then sat like a well trained K9, while the Vet explained to me how to give her a foot bath twice a day, and get her to take two anti-biotic tablets with her kibble.

So now she's home, living the high-life dogs-life. Sleeping on the bed all day, getting regular paw-baths, and of course getting fed twice a day instead of once, because the two tablets have to be taken with food. I've also found they need to be crushed into a fine powder and smothered in tomato sauce before she'll even sniff them. After ten days of this she'll be spoilt. ...oh wait, she already was   ; )

10:19:44 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 26 January 2004

As promised, here are some pictures from the trip down the Maruia River yesterday. This is an incredibly beautiful area. My breath was taken by the scenery as much as the whitewater. The some of the rapids were bigger than anything we had paddled before but we did pretty well. I didn't swim at all, although Devon went in twice. We had to scout out a few of the rapids, but only decided to walk one.  The water was perfectly clear and the trout abundant. The whole 17.5km took us about four hours to descend and I can't wait to go back!

The drive to Maruia is long, but at this time of the morning theres no traffic and the scenery is well lit. (Kids! Do not use your digital camera while operating a motor vehicle!)

Some rock formations near the falls.

A fencepost along the track to the put-in.

A nice sandy beach along the way. Sunbathing anyone?

At the put-in, after 150m dragging the kayaks along a track through the bush.

The rock tower we constructed on the river bank at the take-out. With the falls down-river we didn't want to miss it!

The Maruia Falls again. This willow tree stump has become wedged in the rock at the lip of the falls. It is growing and has sprouted many new branches. Its hydroponics, mother-nature style.

10:21:27 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 25 January 2004

We kayaked 17.5km of the beautiful Maruia River today. Awesome. Breathtaking. Exhausted. I have many photos to post but I'm to tired tonight. So, untill tommorrow, heres one shot of the Maruia Falls. No, we didn't go over these today, our run finished several kilometers up-river from here (very good incentive to not miss the take-out). These falls were first kayaked in 1983 and have been paddled many times since. At least four people have been hospitalised with compressed vertebrae from landing flat in the pool below. Not for me today, thanks all the same.

7:53:09 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 24 January 2004

"One cannot fix one's eyes on the commonest natural production without finding food for a rambling fancy."
Jane Austen (Mansfield Park)

6:30:06 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 22 January 2004

I woke up this morning  with a really sore neck. I hadn't been able to turn my head to the right all day without feeling it. I'd rubbed it, streched it, and kneaded it and the muscle in question just wouldn't relax. I have put this down to the fact that there has been no good kite flying winds since Sunday, and it's stressing me out. There's been wind, but from the south-east. It a lumpy, bumpy, indecisive wind and it just taunts me by bending the tops of trees one minute, and disappearing all-together the next.

My 'stress' theroy was proven this afternoon when I left work (still with a stiff neck) and went to the beach for a kite buggy blast. There was the first decent northerly sea-breeze of the week blowing, and a few kite-surfers were already out there setting up when I arrived. I didn't waste any time and went straight for the new Blade when it came to choosing a kite. I love that kite! Its got bags of power for its size and it delivers it hard and fast, with acceleration like nothing else I've flown. I spent about two hours buggying around the sand spit and covered 49.85km according to my odometer! The strange thing was that as I was driving home, I suddenly realised that my neck was almost completly back to normal. The stiffness had all but gone and I hadn't even noticed it going. So there you have it... kite buggying must be good for you! At least thats my story and I'm sticking to it!

The best therapy money can buy.

8:30:43 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 21 January 2004

7:43:39 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 18 January 2004

Another great day at the festival today. Overcast conditions and threatening rain didn't deter the spectators or flyers. The northerly breeze was stronger than yesterday with some pretty big gusts that got the vechiles (trucks and tractors) we used for anchors bouncing on their suspension. There were lots of kites in the air, lots of buggies on the field, and lots of happy spectators.

Buggy rides are always popular. There were queues of kids and adults alike all afternoon. Roy was only using a 1.6m c-quad when I took this picture and was still getting plenty of power from the strong northerly wind.

This festival was not without its world firsts.... nuf said.

Where did that buggy come from?

The man himself, Peter Lynn. Legendary kite designer and the inventor of the kite buggy. Seen here in his wonderful monster buggy entertaining the crowd with his new prototype kite the 'f-arc'.

And this is the F-Arc. Designed to be a 'cross-over' kite which can be used for buggy, kiteboard, surfing, jumping, or whatever. Its big feature is its huge de-power and smooth power delivery. By all accounts this is an amazing kite.

The back-end of a gaint spin-sock.

Ever tickled a gaint Gecko's belly? Heres your chance.

The gaint Gecko takes to the air.

The blowfish is alot of fun for kids and apparently he likes having his belly scratched.

Ever wondered what kitemakers do with all those leftover bits of kite fabric? They sew them all together and make more kites of course!

The Ray and its prey!

A business end of the trillobyte.

The whole trillobyte.

Hootie the blowfish had a couple of new friends today.

A view of the field from the hills.

Another successful festival and I'm sore, my buggy is bent, and I can't wait till next year!

8:59:34 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 17 January 2004

'Hootie' the blowfish sat tethered to a  small tractor all day. At the end of the day it took about seven of us to deflate him.

A peek inside the blowfish, looking in his mouth towards his tail.

I got a chance to try out a monster buggy. This thing is like buggying in an armchair! It has full suspension, wide wheels, and a beautiful big bucket seat. Thats a stanard competition buggy behind it for comparison.



I also got to try one of the new Peter Lynn 'Rebel' range of kites. These are very simalar to the blade, but slightly smoother power. A very nice buggy kite.

One power slide to many. My buggy wheel got a bit bent in a power slide. Its supposed to sit straight up and down. At least with my extra strength axle I only have to replace a bearing and a bolt. Not to expensive...

Some of the neat kites in the NKC kite arch.

Tommorrow is the big public display. Should be lots of onlookers and hopefully the really big kites will come out. More photos to come...

8:48:01 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 16 January 2004

I went to Neale Park after work today. The park is to be the stage for the 13th annual Nelson Summertime Kite Festival over the weekend. This afternoon was the setup/practice day and the northerly sea breeze was kind. I spent an hour or so buggying around the park with my new kite. The more I fly it the better this kite gets. It loves being looped and swooped around the sky, and seems to maintain full power through the turns; not like the predictable c-quad which only turns if it has to!

The Nelson Kite Club 'kite arch' was flying today. A kite to represent each member flown on one line attached to the ground at both ends.

9:55:58 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 15 January 2004

10:48:55 PM    Comment []

I was in the Supermarket this afternoon picking up a few supplies to get me through the coming weekend (Kite Festival!) I had just come from the beach, where I had gone to unwind with a kite after a very hot day at work. The temperature was still around 30°celsius and definately NOT shoes and socks weather. The reason I mention shoes and socks is, a strange thing happened beside the cereal isle. A particularly good looking, mid-twenties, long-legged, Maori girl gave me a glance, looked me up and down then in the eye, and said "You should definitely wear shoes in the supermarket.", in a very 'matter-of-fact' tone, then carried on walking, with her friend jabbing her in the ribs.  A complete stranger.

I looked down... I was indeed in bare feet! Shock! Horror! Had I broken some unwritten rule of the supermarket, or even worse, of soceity? Was she just playing with my mind? My eyes began to dart around at evenone elses feet. Lots of sandles and jandles, slip-ons, some sport shoes, but no one else was in bare feet. Maybe she was checking me out, we did make slightly-longer-than-normal eye contact, and by not wearing shoes I failed to meet her standards? Maybe it was some weird pickup line and I should have had a witty retort? (or maybe I'm hopeful?)    More likely scenario... in her eyes I had committed a heinous fashion crime, and she felt compelled to help me with some timely fashion advice. Whatever, it weirded me out and made me concious of my bare feet all the way back to the car. strange.

7:04:59 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 14 January 2004

10:00:53 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 13 January 2004

I caved, and bought myself that used kite I found on to celebrate my megameter. It arrived in the mail today so I knocked off work early and went to the beach to test fly it. Its a 3m Flexifoil BladeII which has been in the carefull ownership of Scottish mountain-boarder in Dunedin. She gave me a great price (because she needed the money) and I was pleased to see what great condition it was in when it arrived. I always spend a few hours flying a new power kite on the beach, before getting into a buggy with it. This kite, being a ram-air foil, this kite needs a very different flying style than my c-quad or deltas but with a little practice, I soon had it dragging me all over the beach. I was impressed by its speed and incredible acceleration. Its still going to take a while to master flying this little pocket rocket, but I can tell already it'll be worth the effort!

This is the top-side...

...and this is the under-side. Its wingspan is 4 meters and the total area is 3 square meters. It packs alot of punch for its size! The skid marks you can see on the beach were made by my feet as it dragged me around. In this shot you can see the vents along the leading edge that allow the kite to inflate and hold its shape without any spars.

I had a quick go in the buggy with it just before the wind dropped off and got an easy 40kph out of it right away. Can't wait to try it in a big wind on Rabbit Island Beach!

10:58:30 AM    Comment []

  Sunday, 11 January 2004

Today I kayaked 15km of the 257km Wairau River. This river is mainly braided and over a mile wide in places. Its offers kayakers choices at every turn with smaller flows winding across its huge width of shingle and sand river bed. Choosing the wrong route could mean  having to get out and walk to deeper water (which I had to do once), but we found that if you stick to the larger braids the is plenty of water. The Maori name aptly means 'many waters'.  Theres not much in the way of rapids but the Wairau made a nice change this afternoon.

The bridge where we started. You can only see about the first third of the bridges length here. As a child we used to try and hold our breath when we drove across it.

I stopped on the way home, to see some old friends who have just moved to the South Island. They live in a house bus and are working on an Orchard in the Wairau area, picking apricots, and packing Cherries. They were working today because there is a real staff shortage for seasonal work like this this year! We had a chat and a catch-up among the apricot trees. Welcome to the mainland 'Ample Karma'!

7:00:24 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 9 January 2004

10:51:19 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 7 January 2004

Today I had my first negative comment  (in seven years of power-kiting) from a member of the public regarding my kitebuggying .

I must say, before I begin this rant, that I am way to sensitive about this sort of thing and I should just 'let it go'... and I will, as soon as I have got this of my chest.

I went to Tahunanui Beach after work for a hour or two of buggying in a brisk nor-wester. The tide was dead low so there was heaps of beach to play on and being a weekday there weren't as many people as there had been last week, during the holidays. There were about 6 or 8 kite surfers enjoying the breeze, but today I was the only kite buggy there. Now, kite buggying usually attracts attention on the beach because its a rather new, and unique sport. I often get groups of people just stop and watch for a while or point and wave as I go past. I always give way to pedestrians but they will often, quite obvisously, give way to me so they can watch me go by. When they do I usually tip my hat, or  wave to thank them, but they really don't need to let me by as there is plenty of beach for all and the buggy is surprisingly manouverable.

Anyhow, I was happily rolling down the beach when a lady called out to me, "Excuse me!", trying to get my attention. I turned around a went back to pull up beside her. Probably one of the usual questions like "what is this sport called?", or "...where can I buy one?", I thought to myself....

Her: "Do you think its fair that one person takes up such a big area of beach? Your using this whole strip right down the beach and people are to intimidated to cross the beach.

Me (kind of surprised): "Are they? They have nothing to worry about. I know it looks a little 'on the edge' at times but really, I have full control. I've never hit a person, or anything else for that matter with kites or buggy, in five years of buggying."

Her: "But what if you did? You could really hurt someone. "

Me: "I don't know what to tell you.... Its not likely to happen. This is a lot safer than it looks. "

Her: "That family over there are afraid to cross the beach", (gestures towards a couple with a toddler who had been watching for 5 minutes or so), "What gives you the right to hog all this space?"

Me (getting pissed off now): "Look, I'm not stopping anybody from using any of this beach. If that family are to scared to walk across the beach that really is their problem. There is NOTHING for them, or anyone else here, to worry about. I am in complete control."

Her: "Well thats what all sportmen say, but...."

Me (interupting her): "Look, theres nothing I can say that will make you happy.... get a life." (I start to buggy away)

Her (calling after me): "Whats you name? Hey! Whats your name?"

I was tempted to call out "Rumple-f****n-stiltskin" but refrained. I don't know why she thought I would give her my name, when she obviously just wanted to make trouble for me. 

I waited a minute or so (for her to go away) then slowly pulled the buggy up near the family she had said were afraid to cross the beach. The Dad came over to me immediately, with a big smile on his face.

Me: "Gidday mate. I just wan't to apoligise if my buggying worried you guys in any way. I hope I wasn't stopping you from crossing the beach."

Dad: "Nah not at all, we were just enjoying the spectacal. Looks like a heap of fun."

Me: "It is. But don't be afraid to cross in front, It's not as out-of-control as it looks."

Dad: "Hey, no problem here, we were just stopping to watch."

Me: "Oh... ok then. I was just told I was imtimidating you and felt bad about it."

Dad: "Not us mate... carry on" they walked off happily down the beach (not across it).

I buggyied away somewhat perplexed. Maybe she meant another family? This was eating away at me now. I packed up kites and buggy, then went over to another famliy that were playing in a tidal pool nearby. I apoligised to them in the same way and was met with the same response..."No worries here, in fact we were enjoying the show!". The kids chimed in in agreement "we liked watching you too!"

I apoligised to a third family which were the only others nearby. No problem there either, in fact I was asked where they could buy one for themselves!

Now, like I said before, I am waaaay to sensitive about these things and shouldn't have let it bother me like it did. I was having such a good day before she came along and I let her ruin it for me. And I'm obviously still stewing about it now or I wouldn't be ranting like this. Hopefully now that I've got it off my chest I can stop stewing...

8:02:05 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 4 January 2004

Guess what I did today?

No time to blog... I'm off to see the final installment of LOTR, "Return of the King".

7:56:52 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 3 January 2004

I was on my way to the beach this afternoon for yet more kite buggying when I saw this guy setting up for a run down the Port Hills, right across the road from where I took yesterdays photo. This, people, is a 'Dirtsurfer' and I WANT ONE!

So if you've got a spare wad of cash lying around and were wondering what to buy me.... now you know.

8:34:37 PM    Comment []

I've done it! I have travelled 1000 kilometers by kite buggy, which I guess is a megameter!? Yesterday while I was hurtling around Tahunanui beach, my buggy speedo rolled over 1000km and finished on 1022.5km. I still haven't thought of an apropriate way to mark this momentos occasion. Maybe buy a new kite? A notch in my buggy frame? Maybe the Nelson Kite Club should have t-shirts or badges for members who reach this milestone? Whatever... time to get started on the next megameter.

Another NKC member, Colin, was on Tahunanui Beach yesterday too. We raced each other all over the sand-spit at low tide.

This is Golden Bay yesterday (click for larger view).
The photo was taken from Princes Drive, in Nelson's Port Hills while on my way to Tahunanui. I've marked my two favourite buggy beaches. As you can see, its most definatly summer here! 8D

11:17:15 AM    Comment []

  Thursday, 1 January 2004

I'm back from Rabbit Island Beach. It seems like every man and his dog was on the beach there today. On this beach though they stick to the middle part, just a few kilometers of beach-front you can drive to, and park at. The rest of the 9km beach was mine. People don't seem to like going far from where they can drive their cars to.... good for me I guess;). I buggyied from one end to the other several times in perfect conditions. I clocked up a 45 more kilometers so my odometer is now at 982km. Not far from the 1000km mark. Maybe I'll get there tommorrow afternoon. My top speed today was 48kph, and my average speed was 23.8kph.

Heres a picture of my buggy at the West end of the beach. Across the channel is Mapua Leisure Park. Nelsons 'dress-optional' resort. As you can see this end of the beach has alot of shells in the sand that make a wonderful crunching sound as I buggy over them.

6:43:06 PM    Comment []

I must be getting old. I went to bed at 11.30pm on new years eve. Only to be awaken half an hour later by a neighbour letting of fireworks down the road. bah hum-bug!

On the other hand I did clock up 32km on my kite buggy yesterday, in the hottest part of the day, and I have sunburnt knees to prove it! The beach was crowded, (as it always is this time of year in Nelson with all the 'loopies' in town), so I had to pack up as soon as the tide was about half-way in or risk bowling a errant child or two. I think I'll try Rabbit Island Beach this afternoon, its much bigger... like 9 kilometers bigger! 8D

Screw house painting..... ;) rabbit island, here I come!

My kite buggy speedo has an odometer which now reads 937.1km traveled since I installed it, only a few weeks after getting the buggy. I'm wondering what would be a suitable way to celebrate reaching my first 1000kms? I feel like I should mark the occasion somehow... but how?

10:35:50 AM    Comment []

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