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  Monday, 31 May 2004

I have a Zippo lighter. Today I attempted to buy some replacement flints for it. I had to go to two different super-markets, three dairies, and a hardware store. All of them stocked Zippo lighter fluid, none of them stocked Zippo lighter flints. Can someone explain this to me? I finally found some in a magazine store.

And while I'm asking inane, rhetorical questions.... Why, when I haven't had TV reception at my house for over three years now, do people who know me still ask if I saw such and such on TV last night?

6:28:53 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 30 May 2004

I went for a mountain bike ride this afternoon to the top of Teal Valley. At the Teal Valley Saddle there is are great views both down over  the Maitai Reservoir and over Teal Valley. I got there just in time to get some photos of the last of the sun on the peaks. The ride down was cold but over quickly :)

(click to enlarge)
The Maitai Forestry and Waterworks Reserve as seen from the Teal Valley Saddle lookout. This is where most of Nelsons water comes from.

(click to enlarge)
The last of the days sun on the ranges, looking back down Teal Valley.
9:18:27 PM    Comment []

Yesterday morning I checked the local weather forecast to see if the weekends winds and tides would be good for kite buggying or kayaking. The tide is low (and beaches wide) at around midday, and the winds for the whole weekend were predicted to be solid 25 knot northerlies. Perfect conditions for kite buggying on Rabbit Island beach! So I pack up all my gear and head out there to arrive right on low tide. Now either the weather person is playing games with me or they had their map upside down. What little wind there was, was coming from the south-west! And it stayed like that all day. I stayed at the beach for a couple of hours hoping that the forecast was just a little late and the wind would swing around to the north. But alas it never happened. I flew my super-10 for a while, took a few photos, but no chance of buggying.

I finally gave up and headed home. When I got there I checked the forecast again. Suddenly the northerlies I saw this morning (predicted for the next two days), had changed to 'Gusty south-westerlies' for Saturday and Sunday. Its not fair! They promised me Northerlies! Whats going on at the meteorological Service? Playing practical jokes on kite buggyiers like that is just not funny! I want my money back.

10:59:40 AM    Comment []

  Saturday, 29 May 2004

I found this guy hanging out on my front porch this morning. I didn't think we had spiders that grow this big in NZ! He was almost three inches long! I am now checking all footwear before I put my foot in... The photo is a bit blurry but by the time I went to get my other camera (the one that takes good closeups) he had gone.

10:37:45 AM    Comment []

  Thursday, 27 May 2004

I've been thinking about doing this for a while, but thanks to Stan for the nudge in yesterdays comments.

I'd be very interested to hear about the quality of the prints, so if anyone orders one, I'd be grateful for any feedback, good or bad.

Any requests?
7:17:34 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 26 May 2004

click to enlarge
6:05:24 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 24 May 2004

"Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting."
Alan Dean Foster, "To the Vanishing Point"

Photo: Marfles Beach, taken on the way home from my East Coast trip.
9:33:46 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 23 May 2004

The kite club AGM went ahead as planned but there was no wind to speak of afterwards so I shot away to go for a kayak around Nelsons Harbour. It was a nice change of scene...

6:42:02 PM    Comment []

Today is the Nelson Kite Club AGM. I'm planning to attend the meeting. We usually have a fly on Neale Park afterward the what little wind there is today is coming from the South-east which, around here, means its coming off the hills and will be inconsistent at best. I might just strap the Kayak to the roof of the car,  go to the AGM, and keep my options open for afterward. Maybe Devon will be keen on a paddle around Haul-ashore Island or something.
10:11:47 AM    Comment []

  Thursday, 20 May 2004

This week is exactly one year since I bought my kayak. One year ago I was a total kayaking newbie. I have to say this is one purchase I will never regret.

To mark this occasion I have put together a video/slide-show of some of my favourite photos taken on kayaking trips in the past year. All of the photos in it were taken in and around the Nelson region with nothing more than a couple hours of drive from home... how lucky we are.

So without further ado, here it is (22MB video) . To those of you with slow internet connections (like me) I apologise for the size but I hope the wait will be worth it for you.

8:02:37 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 18 May 2004

We are drowning in information. A sip of cool fresh rain-water can taste like life itself to a dry throat. The same substance can kill us if we are immersed in it long enough; the taste is irrelevant. In the same way we fill our lives with information. TV, radio, cell phone, laptop, palmtop, graphics and advertising on everything from the front of our shirt to the back of our taxi. We forget to taste, savor, ponder, dissect, and digest. Focus. We haven't got time. We just swallow. Take a breath. Theres more information on the way...

7:26:03 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 16 May 2004

Lake Rotoroa is the largest of the two major lakes in the Nelson Lakes National Park. The other is Lake Rotoiti. In Maori roto means lake, iti means small, and roa means large (or long). So the English translations of their names are very literal descriptions of their size and shape.

Rotoroa is a long thin lake and it took us just over two hours to paddle most of its length (at our leisurely pace), and about twenty minute to cross its width to return along the other shoreline.  The native bush here is untouched and the whole place feels unexplored and unspoilt. The water is so clear that watching the forest of underwater plant life drift by below (in the shallower water) is a sensation not unlike flying.

Only one thing could have made the day kayaking any better. A lot of insect repellent. We had to keep moving to avoid being devoured by hordes of ravenous sand-flys. The little bloodsuckers were everywhere and man were they hungry!

This place has a way clearing the mind. I feel like I've had a weekend now and am ready for the week. I took over 100 photos today... here are just a few of them.

btw... if you want desktop wallpaper, leave a comment and I'll email you a screen-sized copy of the picture you want. :]
9:30:35 PM    Comment []

I haven't been kayaking in almost a month! The colder weather makes me more reluctant to get wet. Today however, I am off to the Nelson Lakes to paddle the length of Lake Rotoroa. I've paddled Lake Rotoiti before but Rotoroa is the larger of the two and is reportedly more scenic (if that is possible). Should be some good photo opportunities so tune in later for some pictures.

I feels weird being up this early on a Sunday morning. Now I must get some coffee in me, get wrapped up warm, and hit the road for the hour and a halves drive to lake.
7:45:13 AM    Comment []

  Friday, 14 May 2004

With the days getting shorter I now get to enjoy the sunrise on my way to work each morning. This morning was so still that the floor of the valley was blanketed with fog. I stopped 5 minutes into my drive to work this morning to take this picture.

6:39:13 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 13 May 2004

"Whenever you take a step forward you are bound to disturb something. You disturb the air as you go forward, you disturb the dust, the ground. "
Indira Ghandi

10:17:48 PM    Comment []

I work in a school with about 1400 teenage students. In that number there are all kinds of learning styles. Some students learn lifes lessons with more grace than others...

Today, one student, bored with cutting and pasting paper, decided to cut a live power extentsion cord that was running along the wall of the classroom. Needless to say the siscors were blown out of his hands and he was lucky to get away with a big fright. At least he learnt something at school I guess (and learnt it well).

Some Mothers do have 'em.
7:45:08 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 12 May 2004

Theres a blustery, sleet-filled south-east wind tearing the colour off of Autum outside. The last 48 hours have been grey and blurry. Its strange how the change in weather can affect ones moods and rythms. This wintery weather and shorter days has made me realise that its back to the routine of going to work in semi-darkness and arriving home in darkness. Grey mist clogging the sky for days at a time. For the coming months I will only be able to sit in the sun on my front porch on weekends. Kayaking will be restricted to flat water again as the rivers are just too cold now (at least for me). Opportunities to go kite buggying will be getting fewer. Usually in winter the only consistant winds to be had are chilling south-westers that arrive fresh from the bottom of the world with vigour. For the hardy kite flyer only.

 I have projects though, to see me through the colder months and long dark evenings. Building the remote control kite-aerial-photography kit that I bought a few weeks ago should fill in a few hours, to say the least.

In an effort to fight off the winter blues I thought I post a photo of yet another beach, to spite the weather outside. Below is Karamea Beach from a trip down the West Coast at the start of last summer.

8:16:25 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 9 May 2004

6:07:55 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 8 May 2004

I finally got a good opportunity to buggy with my newest and largest power kite today. The 8.5m C-quad is a light-wind buggy kite and this afternoon at the Wakapuaka Sand Flats there was a perfect 10 knot north-wester.

This picture gives you a good idea of the size of this kite. I produces an enormous amount of power so a 10 knot breeze is perfect. Thats my neighbor Rawiri standing behind it.

The above two shots of me buggying were taken by Rawiri.

Tomorrows forecast is the same as todays so I'll probably be back out there about lunch-time for another go.
6:46:05 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 7 May 2004

I came across this peice of writing on the inside on a CD cover today. I'm sure the author wouldn't mind me sharing it with you.

Technology is a drug.

We can't get enough of it.

We feed it to our kids and watch them grow on the forced diet of
desensitization. Switch on the TV and someone will tell you 50,000
people died in India. Two seconds later you're watching a comedy.
Technology can do that. It gives us simulated realities that make us
oblivious to the real world. Heroin does the same thing. So do most
class A drugs. Basically, we are all addicts - addicted to the comfort
and convenience that technology provides - addicted to the notion that
progress is directly related to the size of your computer screen. Of
course it is. We must be right. We come from the developed world. We're
already developed. Sure. Then again, wealthy kids from America shoot
each other. Poor kids in Soweto can't stop smiling.

So who's developed?

I met an Aborigine in Arnhemland, Australia - his nephews showed me
symbols where I saw trees and rainbows through smoked glass. They could
see fish through clouded water. I couldn't even see my own reflection.
I must have forgotten how.

When I look in front of me, I see two paths - spiritual or material.
Two worlds - developed or developing. You decide which is which. We're
still in the wake of millennium paranoia - earthquakes, floods, end of
world scenarios, cult suicides, viral diseases that eat into our
computer realities. This is our developed world.

Then, as Nelson Mandela says 'We are free to be free'.
I guess we make our own prophecies.

Nitin Sawhney - March 2001

11:36:59 PM    Comment []

The photo I posted yesterday of the spotted shag didn't really do this perfectly adapted species justice. I liked the photo because, for me, there was something comical about the birds stance. His head swiveled round past 90 degrees, staring accusingly at the strange man on a kayak disturbing is sun bathing. He had a real Mr Magoo way about him. He almost looked lost, there alone on that remote shell beach. In reality he had probably spent all morning gorging himself on the smorags-board of fresh seafood riding the tide past that spot, and was now trying to sleep it off in the warm afternoon sun.

Anyhow I thought I post a more flattering photo of the Spotted Shag today...

11:20:40 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 5 May 2004

9:55:19 PM    Comment []

...that women blink approximately twice as often as men? I wonder why that is.

6:37:11 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 4 May 2004

... and here it is. The latest member of my growing power-kite family. The big-un. Looking striking in lime/yellow/green nylon, it's 8.5 square meters of Peter Lynn C-Quad. I bought this monster on trademe and finally got it out for  a photo shoot on Sunday. Although I still haven't buggyied with it, it is a thing of beauty!

For the title of this post, I wanted to make that manly grunting noise,  like Tim the-tool-man Taylor with a new power tool, but wasn't sure how to spell it!  :]

8:11:53 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 3 May 2004

"One hour of thoughtful solitude may nerve the heart for days of conflict - girding up its armor to meet the most insidious foe."

7:53:53 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 2 May 2004

Today was a club-day for the Nelson Kite Club at Rabbit Island Beach. We have one of these once a month and whenever I'm not kayaking, I'm there. Today I was hopeful for a good kite buggy session. The forecast was for northerly winds which are perfect for this north facing beach.

Low tide was due at around 1.30pm. I arrived there just before 1pm to find the whole island shrouded in a strange sea-mist. Visibility was down to little more than 100m in any direction and there was barely a breath of wind. Still I remained hopeful and set up my buggy. I dragged it and my newly acquired (but not yet flown) 8.5mC-Quad kite out onto the beach, ready for wind if it decided to show up. The guy I bought the C-Quad off must have been flying it with the brake-lines and main-lines around the wrong way. Hes lucky he didn't break anything, as the brake-lines are usually made of lighter line than the main-lines. With a little help, I got the lines around the right way and the lengths tuned, ready for another day.

A few other kite club members showed up but the wind was virtually non-existent. The sea-mist cleared into a balmy afternoon but the wind never got going enough to buggy. One good thing about kite buggying is that even on the days when theres not enough to wind to fly... at least you're at the beach :)

Above Left: My buggy on the beach. That strange mist in the trees was covering the whole island when I arrived.   Above Right: Not even the mammoth 12.5m2 C-quad could generate enough pull to buggy with today. There was only just enough to get it off the ground when this I took this picture.

Above left: This is a 6 foot flexifoil with a special ultra-light spar. It is so light it can be flown in literally no wind, and even indoors, by just running in small circles. Ted managed to fly it 360o around himself today, proving there was indeed no wind. Above Right: Bill and Ted waiting for wind. At least we're at the beach!

I guess we-ve had the last of the summer afternoon sea breezes...
8:32:02 PM    Comment []

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