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  Friday, 30 April 2004

I just found out that kite buggying might not be as new as I thought it was. I thought the kite buggy was a recent invention, but in 1826 an English school teacher, George Pocock, patented the char-volant.

Basically a lightweight carriage, the invention could carry four or five passengers at speeds up to 20mph, and it was powered by, wait for it.... a stack of two arch top kites. The kites were controlled by four lines and the vehicle could travel down-wind and across the wind, by steering the kites to the left or right of the winds course.

Sounds suspiciously like a kite buggy to me.

I managed to find a picture of one....

11:55:17 PM    Comment []

I've been using a free service for sometime now to record statictics on this sites traffic. I'm pretty sceptical about anything 'free' on the web these days. You usually pay in some way, even if its not in money. You'll pay in spam mail, or the free thing will be missing a couple of really important features, which you can only get by upgrading. My experience with this free web-site statistics service has been different. It has all the features I need (and a few extras to boot). I get one pop-up ad (tasteful ones) when I check my sites stats and thats it! No nagging emails telling me about features I missing out on, or advertising something else entirely. No banners. No reminders to register. I don't even have to link to them if I don't want to.

In appreciation of this better than expected service, I thought I'd give them a free plug here. So if your after a good free service to track your websites traffic, try
7:52:14 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 27 April 2004

Friday of my holiday was the day to fly kites and buggy. The wind Gods co-operated and brought me a nice smooth north-easter. On Friday morning I began exploring the Christchurch coast at Sumner Beach. Although it was small, it looked promising and I made a mental note to return there next time, at dead low tide. By early afternoon the tide was low and I had made my way to New Brighton, a coastal suburb of Christchurch with a wonderful long, wide sand beach. Right in the middle of this beach is a huge pier which looked almost big enough to buggy under, kite and all. I didn't try it, even though a local assured me it had been done before (but he couldn't tell me what length of kite line it was done with!) I kite buggyied with my 6.3m c-quad for most of the afternoon up and down the 8km of beach south of the pier. It was much like Rabbit Island Beach here in Nelson, except for the big piles of kelp seaweed that wash up there. They just made the buggying all the more interesting as I had to work to avoid the great blobs of seaweed at 50kph!

The New Brighton Pier splits the beach in two with several kilometers of kite buggy hevan on either side. In the photo below you can just see the pier in the background.

A couple of local kite surfers were also enjoying the breeze that afternoon. New Brighton Beach really made my holiday. I'm sure I'll return here next summer for another buggy blast.

After I packed up at New Brighton I headed back up the coast to Kekerengu. I spent another night in the housebus with Mark and Pamela before completing the journey home on Saturday, tired but happy. 

8:15:00 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 26 April 2004

My journey continued on Thursday down the coast heading for Christchurch. Along the way was Kaikoura with its rugged and rocky shoreline; no room for kite buggying around here, but plenty of surf spots.

The road along the coast to Kaikoura is nothing short of spectacular.

Above left: There were heaps of fur-seals up and down this part of the coast which can be easily photographed from the side of the road. Above right: The Hurunui River looks colourful this time of year. Maybe we should kayak this one next season.

I stopped in Christchurch, "The Garden City", for the night. This shot is of the Avon River which runs right through the center of the city.

Tommorrow... kite buggying on New Brighton Beach as the East Coast Adventure continues.
9:47:38 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 25 April 2004

I spent Wednesday night of my east coast trip at a little place called Kekerengu. Its one of the first places to stop after the road South joins the coastline and right at the start of the Kaikoura District (famous for its whale watching and abundant seafood). Theres only a cafe and a parking area there and along the strip of land between the railway tracks and the sea I found friends Mark and Pamela, on holiday in there house bus. "Ample Karma" is a 1948 Mack bus which has been kitted out for permanant living. Apart from the occasional freight train the only noise around here was the relentless pounding off the ocean waves on the steep rocky beaches. The only neighbours were the occasional fur seal. The beach was no good for kite buggying but Mark and I took the oportunity on Thursday morning to fly some kites before I hit the road again, heading south.

Sunrise on an overcast Thursday morning at Kekerengu beach.

"Ample Karma" gets its name from an anogram of the owners names, Mark and Pamela.

Mark setting up his excalibur Kaycee made friends with the locals
another one of the locals

Left: Mark setting up his excalibur on the beach.
Top right: Kaycee made a new friend amongst the locals.
Bottom right: Another one of the locals.

Tommorrow... the East Coast Adventure continues.

2:47:52 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 24 April 2004

Well I've just got back from an adventure exploring the East Coast of New Zealands South Island. I drove almost 1000kms since Wednesday afternoon and scouted out several good kite buggying beaches.  I've got heaps of photos and stories to share so I thought I'd spread them out over the next few days. 

East Coast Adventure Part One
To start with heres some autum colour from the lower reaches of the Pelorus River, near Havlock. I took these shots just an hour or so into the drive on Wednesday afternoon.

I drove all the way to a little stop on the East Coast called Kekerengu on Wednesday. I spent the night with friends, Mark and Pamela, in their house bus on this wild windy coast. More photos of this and more in part two of my East Coast adventure tommorrow.

9:51:37 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 21 April 2004

"...and on the 112th day the painter looked at what he had painted, and saw that it was good."
Procrastinations 3:16



11:07:36 AM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 20 April 2004

Today I put the finishing touches on the house paint job which began back in December! Unfortunatly by the time I had finished the clean up it was to dark to take any pictures. Tommorrow morning I will take some pictures and post a full set of before-and-after shots. The final colour scheme was gun-metal grey for the main colour, and field of wheat around the windows and doors. Looks dam good too, even if I do say so myself. Tune in tommorrow to judge for yourself.

In other news, I took delivery of a second-hand 8.5 meter c-quad kite this afternoon. I bought it on for a rediculously low price of $150 last week. It'll be great on those light wind days for the buggy, and might even get me into kite-surfing next summer. I thought I was buying just the kite, but was delighted to find it had its own set of lines, handles, and backstrap, which saves me swapping them from my other kites.

Now that the painting is done I'll be able to get out and use it for the remainder of my holiday (till next week)!
6:33:40 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 18 April 2004

An early morning high tide was the perfect oportunity for me to go for a kayak around Pepin Island this morning...

Another group of kayakers were already on the water, as seen from the road to Cable Bay (above).
Delaware Bay can be seen in the background beyond the esturay. Half an hour later as we (Devon and I) were paddling across the same area all that cloud had disappeared into the morning sun. The top of Pepin Island was still covered in cloud as we set of across the esturay. I had a close encounter with what was probably a large Eagle Ray soon after leaving. About 1 meter across, It cruised right under my kayak in only two or three feet of water, then cirled both of us before darting away with an impressive burst of speed.  The water  he was swimming in was so shallow that you could clearly see his wake on the surface as he sped away, inches off the bottom.

He was to be the only fish-like creature I saw today. I was hoping to catch some fish for dinner tonight but although I towed a lure all the way around the island, I came home empty handed. Never mind.

6:32:47 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 16 April 2004

I took the photograph below unintentionaly, but couldn't bring myself to delete it from the camera. Each time I looked at it I liked it more. It captured the moment in a wonderfully serendipitous way. On a bike ride up Teal Valley with the dogs along for the exercise, we had all stopped at the top of a rise for a rest. I was fiddling with the camera and accidently took a picture. It captured, (clockwise from the top left) Sasha's backside, Jack's tounge and front legs, my bikes handle-bars and front wheel, Devons leg, and of course, Kaycee in the middle.

9:21:43 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 14 April 2004

The grapevine along the front of the house has produced an abundance of grapes again this year. The only problem is they are all ready at the same time and I can only eat a fraction of the crop. The rest get left for the birds, and then... the wasps.

What's left of this years crop is now starting to drop from the vine all over the porch. I sweep it off every morning and evening, but one shake of the vine brings another load of over-ripe grapes onto the deck, along with dozens of 'drunk' wasps. They get stuck into a grape and gorge themselves into a stuper. Once shaken from their grape they land on the porch unable to fly, or even get off their backs. They just lay there happyily back-spining on the spot in a drunken comedy of errors. They can still sting in this state how-ever, as I found out three times today. This morning one of the little bastards decided to pass out in my sandle and stung me in the left foot when I got up to walk away. I then proceded to sprain my thumb by catching it on my sandle strap in my panic to brush it away! Later this afternoon I was cleaning the porch (again) when I bumped the vine with the broom handle. A rain of grapes and wasps left me with two more stings on my right forearm! Dam violent drunks!

I have resolved to put on 12 layers of clothing tommorrow and prune that vine!
6:46:56 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 13 April 2004

I'm blogging in comfort and style tonight folks. This afternoon while out shopping for new winter underwear (a fetching top and bottom set of charcoal grey, polypropylene long-johns), I decided to also treat myself to an upgrade in the computer-desk seating depatment. I've gone from this old chair, to this flash new one. That should be a little easier on my back :)
6:51:41 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 12 April 2004

My neighbours across the road live up on a hill at the end of a long steep driveway. Recently they had this driveway sealed. Since then an idea had been jiggling around in the back of my mind... today I acted on that idea. Video 10.5mb
7:35:34 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 11 April 2004

"May your walls know joy; May every room hold laughter and every window open to great possibility."
Maryanne Radmacher-Hershey

Photo: The view through Kaycee's window as we zoom past Waihopai Valley vineyards on the way home from this afternoons kayaking trip.

9:42:36 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 10 April 2004

2:56:42 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 9 April 2004

A paddle around Pepin  Island was the way I spent my Good Friday afternoon. I'll let the pictures tell the story...

Click to enlarge

Devon coming in to land on one of Pepin Islands many little beaches.

A big swell today meant there were quite a few blowholes like this one. All belching out spray and weird hissing and groaning noises.

A choppy sea and a gloomy sky...

I even managed to catch a nice pan-sized Kawhai for dinner. I towed that lure three quaters of the way around the island before I got a strike. Persistance paid off!

Paddling in that choppy sea has really taken it out of me. I can tell I will sleep soundly tonight, and probably wake up feeling sore all over tommorrow...

7:33:54 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 8 April 2004

I am now offically on holiday. I have the next two weeks off work, to do with as I please. I have no solid plans, just possibilities at this stage. Just two goals:

  1. finish the house painting. Just the window and door frames to go now.....
  2. kite buggy on at least one beach I've never buggyed on before (Pohara Beach in Takaka, Woodend Beach near Christchurch, and Carters Beach in Westport spring to mind. )

Hopefully I'll achieve more than just those two things but alot will depend on the weather, which right now is raining 'cats & dogs'. I was thinking of returning to the Waihopai River tomorrow (Good Friday) but with all this rain there might be too much water!

I was hoping the rain would ease this afternoon, but leave the north-east wind that had carried it. It would have made for perfect conditions to head to Rabbit Island beach after work for a kite buggy. Instead, because it was still pouring down, I came home, turned on the heater, stereo, and laptop, and learnt how to fake a lightning strike in photoshop ;D thanks to this tutorial.

Have a good Easter!

9:50:11 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 7 April 2004

"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds."
Albert Einstein

Couldn't have put it any better myself Al...

5:45:28 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 4 April 2004

went for a little paddle around the esturay at Delaware Bay this morning. Tried fishing in the harbour mouth at high tide. No fish but it didn't matter...

3:58:39 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 3 April 2004

Mark and Pamela are here for the weekend. This morning we all went and checked out the ever popular Nelson Markets. Every Saturday morning one of the largest carparks in Nelson city is transformed into a marketplace with trailer-sized stalls selling almost anything. Woodturning, pottery, jewellery, exotic foods, fruit and veg, furniture, cutom made knives, candles, ...anything!

After lunch at Sub-way, Mark and I spent a few hours this afternoon on the Wakapuaka Sanflats with all the kites we could fit in the car. Mark has an excalibur like mine, so he's no stranger to flying a two line kite... but he had never buggyied before. First we tried the Super-10 which was very fast in todays big SW wind.  He got the hang of buggying in no time, and after only two or three kite crashes he was making runs at 30kph+! Not bad at all for a first timer! Then came the fun when he made his first "power-turn".  That is he turned downwind with a little too much wind in his sails, and lost traction with the back wheels of the buggy. In a split second the buggy spun around, and he found himself facing the wrong way trying to steer the kite, with the lines crossed, while traveling backwards. All part of the learning curve :)

6:26:55 PM    Comment []

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