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  Monday, 31 January 2005

10:39:01 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 30 January 2005

A perfect midsummer Sunday in Nelson today. Devon and I Kayaked the Lower Pelorus River, from just below the bridge, all the way to the sea at Havlock. It was longer than we expected or maybe its just that the river flows slower than we thought. The slight head wind seemed to cancel out the current making the 19km of paddling quite a slog. A very scenic slog.

The last hour was into a stiff head wind as we crawled to the harbour entrance at Havlock, only to have to battle the out-going tide for the last few hundred meters to get to the take out. My body is now screaming for rest and I can tell I'm going to be sore in the morning. Its Nelson Anniversary day tomorrow so I can sleep in. While I'm physically exhausted, I feel recharged in spirit.

I was brave enough to take my digital SLR camera out on the river as most of the paddling was flat water. I'm glad I did...

11:18:30 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 29 January 2005

It was a hot afternoon in Nelson. Spent most of the afternoon shirtless in the shade in the garden. About 4 o'clock Devon stopped by and we took the dogs up to their swimming spot in the river.

Sasha is 18 months old and still a big puppy.

Jack is nearly eight years old and loves this spot.

Kaycee prefers to dive from the rocks as we throw sticks and stones for them, while Jack and Sasha just wait in the water.

9:54:33 PM    Comment []

The picutre on the left is getting a little dated, taken well over a year ago, its time for a new one.

3:10:45 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 28 January 2005

11:44:04 PM    Comment []

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"LIGHTHOUSE, n. A tall building on the seashore in which the government maintains a lamp and the friend of a politician."
Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914), The Devil's Dictionary

10:27:09 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 26 January 2005

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11:13:49 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 24 January 2005

Todays lowpoint... Having my new underwear publicly inspected by a very large friendly security man named Gary in the front entrance of the department store I'd just bought them at, because Sonya, the new girl on the checkout, forgot to remove the anti-shoplifting tags.

11:59:21 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 23 January 2005

When I was at college (high school) we went on school camp. Four nights away a Totoranui, which is in the Abel Tasman National Park (look it up, its beautiful).

One exercise we did on camp was a night walk. Every few hundred meters one person would be left, in the dense bush, with no lights or means of communication (kids didn't have cell phones then anyway). There they would wait, in the dark, with all the crawly critters of the night, until the group returned to pick them up again.

The first ones to be dropped off had the longest wait (a few hours) but they were closest to base camp, and the last to get dropped off only had to wait about 10 or 20 minutes, but were a long way from anywhere. I wanted to be out there alone for as long as I could, but not close enough to base camp be able to hear anything. I think I was third to be left...

I found a dry spot under an earth bank above the track, and lay back. I could just make out a handful of stars through a small hole in the bush canopy, but it seemed none of their light could reach my little burrow. I remember distinctly the earthy smell of it all, the dense richness of the decaying leave litter on the ground, and the full-bodied soil underneath it.

I started dozing, but with my eyes open; it was so dark it didn't matter. After an indiscernible amount of time, I woke. A Weka (flightless native bird about the size of a chicken) was investigating the sole of my boot. I could barely make out his shape but he was pecking my foot, presumably to see if it was edible, or contained any insects that might be. He was unaware or unconcerned that the boot was attached to a human. He pecked along the side of my boot, checked the laces, and gave the bottom of my trouser leg a couples of good prods. I just stayed still, and he soon tired of it. The Weka carried on his way, stalking slowly through the undergrowth with almost no sound.

When the group came back to pick me up I could hear their gaggle for a long time before I saw their lights.  I hoped they would just pass me by... but they didn't. The torch light hitting me almost hurt.

3:24:11 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 22 January 2005

10:31:54 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 21 January 2005

... but first a word kite from our sponsors.

Today was the first (warm-up) day of the Annual Kite Festival here in Nelson. The other Nelson Kite Club members seemed to have it all under control when I got down to Neale Park after work, so I promptly got my kite stuck in a tree, and followed that with a surprised-man-in-an-ejector-seat impression while buggying in front of a small, but appreciative audience.

It was only the second time I've flown the kite I got last week, and the first time was in a much lighter breeze. After a short, but heated battle to untangle lines, and with a little help from Sam, I got it in the air only to find I had every little steering control. I promptly crashed it into the top of a very tall row of willows. Well, it was more like an emergency park, followed by technical relaunch... and a little luck.

A short while later on the other side of the park...

The wind was strong, but a little gusty and the Arc 630 was giving me plenty of power. At one point I was chasing another buggy, when a gust caught me napping, and lifted me from the buggy seat at a good speed! I had a moment (an IRE* moment) when the only thing keeping me with the buggy were my toes in the foot straps. I made the snap decision to bail and left the buggy, with a roll and a half-pike, coming away with nothing but a grazed knee, and the kite still flying.

Less than an hour into the kite festival and I've already crashed a kite and a buggy. An auspicious start :)

I found time, between buggy stunts, to take some pictures...

I think thats a Flexifoil Scorpion (but I've been wrong before), being flown expertly.

Burgers, beer, and kite talk. The two guys on the right are flying the blue and yellow fighter kites pictured below. I have no idea what Ted (the hand on the left) is describing though :)

This pair were being flown as fighters. They are single-line kites and one flier would try to knock the other kite out of the air. Some of the battles go on for a long time.

The disco fish windsock.  Grooovy...

More kites tomorrow!

p.s. Some photos from last years festival are here.

(*IRE = involuntary rectal expansion)

11:12:16 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 20 January 2005

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Todays model found dead on the side of the road. RIP.

7:13:33 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 19 January 2005

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"Nobody sees a flower - really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time."
Georgia O'Keeffe

11:14:09 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 18 January 2005

I've been pottering about in the garden. One of my goals for 2005 is to establish a good food producing garden, permaculture style (complete with worm farm). It will take a few seasons to get into full swing but I hope one day to be able to supply myself with all the food I need, right from home.

For a while now I've been preparing new ground around my place, (previously wild grass) using the 'no dig' method. That involves laying down cardboard (eg. the boxes computer screens come in, thrown out from work) across the vegetation thats already there, then spreading straw on top of that. You then leave it for several months, and when you're ready to plant you simply stab a spade through the old cardboard layer and pop in your seedlings. The worms (and a multitude of other life forms) love it, and it saves a heap of back breaking digging.

The good spin-offs... less lawns to control, and I love the smell of pea-straw...

8:35:15 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 16 January 2005

I got my kayak wet for the first time in ages today. Clockwise around Pepin Island...

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We were towing lures behind the kayaks in the hope of catching dinner. Devon caught this kawhai. I caught one too a little further on but decided to let it go at the last second. I made it look like and accident so I wouldn't hurt the fishes pride. For the record it was at least 6 inches bigger than Devon's fish (above).

11:59:15 PM    Comment []

11:24:58 AM    Comment []

  Friday, 14 January 2005

Did anyone notice I missed the last two Wallpaper Wednesdays? I haven't been taking many photos in the last couple of weeks. Probably because of the grey weather. When the rain and clouds haven't been there, I've been to busy kite buggying.

This one was taken a few months back during our winter. It is Lake Rotoiti.

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9:36:49 AM    Comment []

  Thursday, 13 January 2005

Its a bit of a releif to have finally sold my car. It was pretty easy too. An online auction was definately the way to go. Three people were bidding for it and a local couple finally bought it, which saved me the hassle of delivery. Its such a small world that the guy was another kite buggy pilot that I have raced with many times on local beaches. I didn't recognise him at first because I don't think I'd ever seen him without a helmet on. Once he described his buggy and kite to me, instant recognition. Anyway the car sold, buyer happy, seller happy.

Not all of the people who were interested in buying it were as easy to deal with. One guy did an inspection the AA would have been proud of, including the whole body, buffing every little scratch with his sleve then proceded to debate wether the tyres were 'legal' despite the fact that it has a new Warrent-of-fitness sticker, and he was holding the WOF report in his hand at the time. The car had already reached reserve on the auction at this point so I really didn't care if the legal tread depth for tyres was 1.2mm or 1.5mm.

"It is, what it is." I told him. "The auction is in progress. If you're interested, place a bid...", walked away, while he was telling me it was running a little rough... Twat.

9:56:23 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 10 January 2005

A few photos from yesterday afternoon at Rabbit Island. I've put heaps more in the NKC Gallery.

Three (new) Peter Lynn Venoms and a Phantom against a troubled sky.

The weather held off all afternoon. I took this shot as we were leaving (after a BBQ dinner) of the predicted thunder clouds building over Nelson City, across the bay.

This shot needs a caption, but I can't think of a good one right now. Any suggestions? Whoever thinks of the funniest caption wins their money back ;)

11:04:05 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 9 January 2005

I've been at Rabbit Island Beach all afternoon. Nelson Kite Club meet today and the weather was most co-operative. I am exhausted, so for now heres one shot of the beach (click the photo for a really large version). Lots of people here but the west end of the beach was much more roomy.  More photos tommorrow... after sleep.

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11:25:00 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 8 January 2005

12:48:22 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 6 January 2005

Finally the sun came out this afternoon. Usually this time of year Nelson gets one scorching hot clear day after the next but in the last few weeks I don't think we've had a single day without rain. It really is bizarre weather. And now theres stories about Icebergs in our waters, in the middle of summer!

Nelson literally doubles its population this time of year and today it showed. Along with the sun all the tourists (which I affectionately call loopies) came out of their hotel rooms and flocked to the beach.

*in my best redneck voice* "Boy, get the boat and the harpoons, there's a school of loopies in the bay!"
This is without doubt the busiest Tahunanui beach ever gets.

9:29:53 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 5 January 2005

Whoops, I just bought another kite. A second hand Peter Lynn Arc 630 in green and black. I got it dirt cheap on (much cheaper than the kitewing I was drooling over yesterday).

I love taking advantage of posers people who just must have the latest technological breakthrough to keep up with the image (theres a lot of that in kitesurfing circles). This kite is four years old and admittedly the design of this style of kite has come a long way since then (with the Phantom and more recently the Venom). But on the other hand, this four year old kite is just as powerful, and just as much fun, as the day it was purchased new... and now its mine! : D

OK, the next bit is for all any kite geeks reading, the rest of you can switch off now (I can see your eyes starting to glaze over already).  The Arc is a bridle-less ram-air-foil. The four flying lines connect directly to the wingtips. The foil inflates by the wind entering the patented non-return air valves along the leading edge. Once inflated it will stay inflated for hours, even over night so if you dump it in the water it will float on top. It can also be relaunched from the water without assistance so if I want to have a go at kite surfing it'll come in handy.

The kite I've bought is a Arc 630 meaning its flat area is 6.3m2. Because of the 'Arc' shape the kite adopts in the air its projected (read effective)area is 4.5m2, so it should nicely fill the gap between my 3.0m2 Blade, and my 6.3m2 C-quad. Here are some links to pictures of some Arcs flying so you can see the shape (1) (2) (3).

Mine a standard Arc, but there are also T-Arc's, and Hi-Arc's, but I really like the sound of the F-Arc  ; )

5:07:00 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 4 January 2005

I simply MUST have one of these. Someone buy me one. Quick.

10:38:54 AM    Comment []

  Monday, 3 January 2005

Looking back over my photography of 2004 I have picked out my top ten favourites. I have not picked these pictures based on artistic merit, or technical perfection, or viewer response. I have picked the ten pictures that I enjoy looking at most. It was difficult to narrow it down to ten. If I sat down to do this again tomorrow I would likely come up with ten different pictures, but for today here is the best of CoffeeWaffle photos from the year just past, along with my reasons for picking each shot.

No. 10

I like this shot for its intense colours and ambiguity. It is my neighbours Son, Rawiri standing behind my largest kite (8.5m c-quad) to demonstrate its size. First published back in May.

No. 9

This would have to be the closest encounter I have had with any wildlife all year. This little lady and two other fur seal cubs were the most obliging models I've worked with in a long time. I met them on Wharariki Beach back in September.

No. 8

A rare portrait. I don't often point my camera in the direction of other humans, but when I do I like my portraits to be completely candid, like this one. This is Sam and his boy having a blast on Neale Park at our October Kite Club Day.

No. 7

I like this shot for the emotional state of mind it evokes in me. It calms me. Taken while sitting on top of a sand dune, absorbing the sunset at Muriwai Beach, in October and featured as Wallpaper Wednesday in September.

No. 6

This shot just says 'fun' to me. Its not often I get enough kite buggy pilots together in one place and time to take a photo like this. I remember after taking it, running to put my camera back in the car, then running back to my buggy to give chase. Shot at Rabbit Island Beach in October.

No. 5

Just one shot from a particularly memorable sunset in December. Someone else actually put their finger on what I like about this shot... "I love the way the stilts look like the same bird, just in various poses, it almost looks like a time-lapse series of photos with the bird at the bottom left being the starting point & the other 2 just showing different stages of movement."

No. 4

This shot reminds me of Wharariki Beach, which is a place that affects me greatly. Standing there on top of Cape Farewell looking North along the majestic coastline makes me feel very small, but somehow not insignificant. This was taken on my first visit to Wharariki in July.

No. 3

Birds are spectacular creatures that I don't think I will ever tire of photographing. My visit to the Gannet colony at Muriwai Beach in October gave me some of the best opportunities to photograph them of the year. What I like about this shot in particular, is that it shows what masterful aeronauts these birds are. This gannet makes landing on a tiny rock outcrop in blustery, unpredictable winds, look absolutely effortless.

No. 2

Since purchasing my camper-van this year one of my favourite things to do in it is to park at the Spooners Range Lookout overnight and photograph the sunrise over Nelson. This shot was during one of the best displays from there. Even my dog Kaycee braved the August cold for a look out the van window. Its a wonderful feeling to be up there on the ridge drinking it all in, while Nelson sleeps below. This shot reminds me of that feeling.

No. 1

Its hard to put my finger on just why this is my favourite shot of the year, but it must have something to do with the way I took it back in September. I didn't go out looking for a bee to photograph, or even insects in general. It was a spur-of-the-moment subject that produced surprising results. This is, in essence, what I enjoy most about photography. The surprises. The unplanned successes. The reminders that there are thousands, maybe even millions of photographs out there just waiting to be caught in pixels, in even the most pedestrian daily situations. I've just got to keep clicking that shutter button and they will reveal themselves.

3:21:37 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 2 January 2005

Who wants to buy my car? Going cheap! Kayak and personalised plate not included (the plate's a fake anyway).

10:29:28 PM    Comment []

Yahoo is now using a thing it calls 'Web Beacons' to track users surfing habits even when they are not on a Yahoo site. If you use Yahoo groups or Yahoo mail then Yahoo is tracking every website and group you visit. Check out their updated privacy policy. About halfway down the page in the section titled cookies they make mention of Web Beacons. Click the link and halfway down the next page is a link to opt-out. This takes you to a 'success' page which informs you that you have opted-out successfully. DON'T click the button on that page as that will undo what you have just done (a nice trick to catch out those users in to much of a hurry to read.) Thanks to Eccentricity and Slyblog for the heads up.

9:15:02 AM    Comment []

  Saturday, 1 January 2005

Today I decided that in spite of the rain I would do what I haven't done in quite a while. I found a road on a map that I have never been down and set off to explore it. The road I chose was the road to Hori Bay. This little bay is tucked away between Nelson and the Marlborough Sounds along a piece of coastline that is well away from the main road. I have driven past the turnoff many times but never knew where it went. I picked it out from a map this morning and decided to find it.

When I found the turnoff I was pleased to see a large sign pronouncing the fact that public access to the bay was open today. I took the turn and crossed a small bridge to find a second sign, that said public access was available, most of the time and that if access was closed there would another sign alongside this one to say so. Clear as mud. Along the road a little further I came across a third sign which said in big bold letters that there was no unauthorised access. I decided that the first two signs were my authorisation and continued on my way, unsure if I was actually allowed to or not!

The road into the bay weaves through industrial pine forests. I was glad of the 4wd capabilities of my van. Although on a dry day the road would be drivable in 2wd, today the rain made it very slippery and water ruts presented and extra challenge. At one point the combination of a clay road, covered in fallen pine needles and a lot of rain water sent the van on an uncontrollable slid toward the side of the road and several large pine trees. Thankfully I was able to bring the van to a stop just before sliding right off the edge into the trees. About then I climbed out and locked the front wheel hubs and engaged 4wd. I was glad I did as the road just got worse from there. The van is now caked in mud and looks like a real off-road vehicle! As I neared the coast I crawled down to the bay in second gear to find I had the place to myself (hardly surprising considering the weather).

Hori Bay is small and relatively exposed. Surrounded by high bluffs and rocky coastline, it has a remote wild feel which I love. I climbed to the highest cliff top up a small track. By the time I got back I was drenched to the skin from the waist down. Not from the drizzle that was falling but from wading through the long wet grass that surrounded the track (which obviously does not see much traffic). The views were worth it though and I had dry clothes in the van to change into (no dry socks though!).

Looking down from the cliff tops you can see the discoloured creek water from all the rain mixing with the sea.

Not exactly a big beach, but who cares when you have it all to yourself.

There were heaps of these odd blue flowers along the track and surrounding hillsides. I'm not sure what they are but I thought Briggsy would like them.

Kaycee, the old sea dog, came with me.

I caught this view of Delaware Bay on the way back from the ridge above Hori Bay. I often kayak there but had never seen it from this angle. Note the weather. Its supposed to be summer!

9:48:56 PM    Comment []

Since New Zealand is the first country to the West of the international date line, and I am geeky enough to be sitting at my laptop on News Years Eve, I may well be the first person on Earth to post to a blog in the year 2005 (unless someone on the Chatam Islands beats me to it, but I haven't seen to many blogs coming out of there).
12:00:04 AM    Comment []

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