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  Tuesday, 30 March 2004

One of those cub-scouts just happens to before me before I... (cough) grew up. Guess which one....

7:44:35 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 28 March 2004

I didn't go to Pohara today like I was planning. The winds were SW and it's a North facing beach, and it was high tide in the early afternoon, so there wouldn't have been enough beach to buggy any way. I decided to save that for another weekend and spend this afternoon kite buggying on the Wakapuaka Sandflats, just 10 minutes from home. I spent the first hour or two with the blade II until the wind picked up enough to start lifting me out of the buggy seat in the gusts! Fun, but a little scary too! Then just for a laugh I taped my small digital camera to my helmet, to see what the video would be like while buggying with the Super10. I'm going to start editing the results next. Stay tuned...

9:48:57 PM    Comment []

I have added a link to 'Challenge of the Week' (see graphic on the right). This site is the brain-child of Tonya of 'the Notebook'. The idea is, she posts a general challenge each week which hopefully inspire change for the better, big or small.

This afternoon, thanks to this weeks COTW, I cleaned out my closet,  took two boxes full of clothes to a drop box down the road. I was surprised at how much room I've made under the bed and some charity or other is a little better off.

7:01:51 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 27 March 2004

A perfect weather day in Nelson today. I love sunny Saturday mornings.

I'm doing some more house painting this morning. The job has been dragging on thanks to the weather. Both the rainy weather (because you can't paint when its wet), and the good weather (because you can't paint while your kayaking and kite buggying). 

All the windows and doors in the house are wide open with Janis Joplin blaring on the stereo. I'm hoping to get a second top-coat of gun-metal grey applied before the end of this weekend, and since I'm planning to spend tommorrow (weather permitting) discovering a beach I've never been to in Pohara, I'd better get it done today!

10:21:30 AM    Comment []

  Thursday, 25 March 2004

9:15:06 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 22 March 2004

Yesterdays kayak paddle down the Waihopai River is still fresh in  my mind. My body remembers it too. I'm a little sore and have many aching muscles to remind me of the fun. And it was fun, after a bit of a false start...

When we arrived at the spectacular put-in, just below the dam, we parked across the road then looked for what the guide book said was a "faint track" through the bush down to the river. We found a track right away and began dragging, pushing, and carrying the kayaks down a diminshing track through manuka, black-berries, and gorse (ouch!). We got about halfway down the bank only to be meet by an impenetrable wall of thorny scrub and rocks! We had to drag the boats all the way back up the goat-track we had just stumbled down, then back down the right track a little way further up the road. This one was just as narrow and steep but it got us eventually to the waters edge at the base of the dam. So after a few skin knuckles and alot of grunting and groaning we were ready to start the run! The Waihopai had drawn first blood, but all was to be forgiven soon.

The noise and spray from the dam at the put-in set the scene nicely.

Looking back up-river towards the power-house, which is set into the rock a few hundred meters down-river from the dam.

A tricky little drop at the top of the run.

Most of the run was in a canyon that seemed to get narrower all the time.

Kaycee came along as offical mascot and car alarm. If only she  could drive too...

The late afternoon sun reflecting off part the river as seen from the road.

(Click for larger version)

The Waihopai Valley is in the heart of winemaking country and a large part of it is planted in vineyards like these. Oh and there's also a secret government spy station type thingy up there too, with ominous looking signage like "Defense Area", "No Admittance: Goverment Propety". Big brother is watching...

We are already talking about when we'll be going back to the Waihopai river.  Hopefully in a couple of weeks. It is, without doubt, the most enjoyable river run I've done yet.

6:59:54 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 21 March 2004

I am exhausted.

Kayaking partner in crime, Devon, and I kayaked the Waihopai River today. New water that I found in the guide book yesterday afternoon. We uncovered an absolute gem of a river. A barrel-of-monkeys to paddle, tight, and just challenging enough, with some good class III+ paddling. I filled the 64mb memory card on my camera with great shots of this beautiful valley. Right now I need to eat and sleep, but I'll post more about the wonderful Waihopai (pronounced why-ho-pie) River tommorrow evening.

For now heres a teaser shot of what is probably the most picturesque hydro-electric dam I've ever seen. What a place to start the run...

8:25:18 PM    Comment []

I was continuing the large job of digitally scanning all my old film photography yesterday. I happened to be scanning a collection of about 100-120 photos of a little place called French Pass which I took within the space of two days in April 1999. French Pass is at the northen tip of NZ's South Island and is a small gap between the mainland and D'urville Island. It was named after the French explorer Dumont D'urville was first navigated the pass in 1827. The tide can either push through this little gap or flow all the way around the island. Because the gap is small and D'urville Island is relativly big the tidal flow in this area are very strong and very dangerous. 3/4 of the gap is impassable because of a rocky reef, leaving only 100m or so on the southern side where shipping can get through.

The view of the pass from the road in. D'Urville Island is on the left.

A Closer view of the pass. Small and midsized shipping can pass between the markers. I have navigated the pass many times when I worked as a deepsea fisherman. It is a very turbulent piece of water at peak tidal flows!

French Pass Wharf, early morning. I took this picture just before leaving to go on the D'Urville Island mail run.

French Pass township is tucked away in the first bay on the east side of the pass. Just a shop, campground, school, and a sprinkling of houses. A nice place to get away to, especailly if you're into fishing or boating.

9:32:07 AM    Comment []

  Thursday, 18 March 2004

I was woken abruptly in the middle of the night last night, by a frantic chase. Kaycee had something on the run in the dark all over the house. By the time I stumbled out of bed and found the light switch the chase had made it to the bathroom. With my sleep filled eyes still adjusting to the light, I saw Kaycee with something cornered behind the fern by the toilet. As I crept closer it leapt out past Kaycee, darted between my legs, streaked out the door, and sqeezed itself under the washing machine. It was a plump and healthy looking brown rat.  We didn't see it again. I was more interested in getting back into bed and getting back to sleep, but Kaycee continued to patrol the house looking for the small furry intruder until the sun came up. I don't think he'll be back for a while. I imagine his entire, short, rodent life flashed before his eyes.
5:19:42 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 15 March 2004

I had a strange start to the week today. I forgot to shave before leaving for work. Three days of stuble is not a good look in the office. I've been keeping so busy I'm getting absent minded. So I decided to take the afternoon off and let my brain catch up.

I flew my kite on the beach in very light wind for a while. Kaycee had a ball chasing the new Flexifoil for over an hour. She's all tuckered out now and curled up in the cave she's made from the bedding, fast asleep.

Then it was home for a coffee and a snack before going for a peaceful paddle on the high tide around the Cable Bay esturay. A stromy sky on the way home made for perfect conditions for a black and white shoot...


This has been good Monday....

9:15:02 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 14 March 2004

Beautiful weather in Nelson today. Why paint houses when you could kayak around Pepin Island instead...

We spotted this Fur Seal basking in the afternoon sun. Although he looks fearsome in this shot it was just a big yawn.

We decided to give fishing a go. We caught four. Unfortunatley this was the largest of them. We let them all go again but will try again another day in the hope of catching something bigger.

8:25:03 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 12 March 2004

Finally it's here! I picked up a black Flexifoil Super 10 from the kite shop this afternoon. This is the most excellent prize from that I've been waiting for, after writing a story for their competition. We took the time to pose for this photo to send back to Felxifoil. Note the new 1.5m bullet in the shop window, looking very striking in green and black. I haven't quite worked out how I'm going to get my hands on that kite.... yet. Maybe I'll win one when I register my new Super10... now that would be lucky!

Cheesy publicity shot ;D  . Thats me on the right, and Ted from the Kite shop on the left. Photo credit to Gretchen (the other half of the kite shop team).

I've assembled it, admired it, waved it around the lounge a bit. I've pre-streched and matched the flying lines and removed the great big "please don't sue us" warning label (trust me... I know what I'm doing ;) ). You know the one tells you not to wrap your lines around powerlines, crash your kite into your friends, or go for a fly at the airport.

I can't wait to try this beast out. I hope theres a strong breeze tommorrow!

7:28:30 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 8 March 2004

I snapped this picture in Wakefield on my way home from the river yesterday....

I can't imagine why someone woould want to own so many 'Morries'. Maybe this is what happens when you know the model you want,  but just can't settle on the colour ;D

10:19:29 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 7 March 2004

The painting was put on hold again today, while Devon and I kayaked the Motueka River. Its been a while since I've paddled on the Mot, and although it's tame compared to our more recent conquest, the Maruia River, its still never fails to please. Its a nice mix of scenic drifting and relaxed rapids, along with a handful of not-so-relaxed ones...

This afternoon we did the run from Mcleans Picnic area, down to the Penisula Bridge at Ngatimoti.

My kayak, ready to go at the put in.

Devon admires some of the rock formations typical of the Motueka River. In flood these kind of rocks kick up some great 'play-waves' up and down this river.

Parked mid-river, behind a rock. (click to enlarge)

The Penisula Bridge connects Ngatimoti with the main highway. Its old, shakey, single-laned, and has a speed limit of 20kph. In its favour though, it is rather photogenic :)

Just beside the bridge is the charming Ngatimoti Bowling Club. "Cup of tea and a roll any one?"

10:08:15 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 6 March 2004

I finally made some real progress towards getting this house painted before winter. I am now about halfway with two sides painted in gunmetal grey. I am pleased with how the grey looks. It'll look even better with terracotta coloured windowframes and doors. I just hope I can now get the other two sides and trim done before the next rain.

Before. All scraped, primed, and ready for colour...

During... The 'Urban Camofalouge' look.

After. Theres still the window and door frames, and two more sides to go, but its looking good.

7:11:59 PM    Comment []

Remeber the house-painting job I started back in December? Well it got as far as the primer paint and then the unseasonably rainy weather set in. Feburary was one of the wettest on record for these parts. In fact since new years we have hardly had 3 days in a stretch without heavy rain.  So the painting has been on hold waiting for things to dry out enough to continue.

As of today it has been four days since it rained here. The forcast for the weekend is good, so its all systems go again. I went to town this morning and bought 10 litres of 'gunmetal' grey paint, some masking tape, and a really big brush. The grey is for the main colour and the windows and sills will probably be 'field of wheat' which is a nice sunny terracotta shade. I know 'gunmetal' grey sounds morbid but I choose it because it is the same colour as the river stones I've used as garden borders (which I got from the river that runs right past the front of my house). It should compliment the surronds quite nicely.

Anyway, enough chit-chat. I must away and start painting! I'll post photos of the progress later.

12:22:14 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 4 March 2004

"Their understanding
Begins to swell and the approaching tide
Will shortly fill the reasonable shores
That now lie foul and muddy. "
William Shakespeare

10:16:49 PM    Comment []

If I was a lego super-hero, I might look something like this...

He's kind of a Aragon (LOTR) meets Morphius (The Matrix) in a Lego kind of way  :D

It's a bird... it's a plane...  it's CoffeeWaffle-man!

Found thru scorpiogirl. Create you own lego persona here.

8:40:26 PM    Comment []

I haven't blogged much lately. Instead I've been doing heaps of reading... reading about kite aerial photography. About radio controled camera cradles and pivacat suspension systems; parafoil lifting kites and special solid wooden reels needed to hold the 300lb braided line it will all eventually dangle from.

I've found that most of this equipment I will need to build myself. The kite should be easy enough. There are plenty of plans out there and the sewing is pretty straight forward. The reel, line, and pivacat shouldn't present too much of a problem either. But the radio controled camera cradle is giving me nightmares. Its going to be interesting (and probably expensive) putting one of these together!

After all this reading I think KAP will definately be worth the effort. I think this is a project that may keep me busy well into the winter!

7:51:25 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Just got around to posting some pictures I took on Sunday during a bike ride around the hills that surround the valley I live in.

10:25:53 PM    Comment []

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