Monday, May 11, 2009

Hail, anyone?

New Zealand's been hammered over the last few days with water spouts, tornadoes and hail--in some cases, 10cm of hail!

Above is a shot of my cousin Helen's son, Mark, on Papamoa Beach (just south of Mount Maunganui, east coast of the North Island), surfing on a bed of hail. We grew up near here in Tauranga, and only once remember something similar as kiddies, many moons ago.

You can find more hail photos from around the country, here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The big 2

The WeeOne turned two last Sunday.

Where did it go?

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

The secret project

While FliesWithKiwiBird was away with the WeeOne in San Diego a few weeks ago, I had ten days unfettered time to complete "the secret project"—a fence and gate across the side front of the house to keep the two-and four-legged critters inside the property bounds.

About where David took this photo used to run a stretch of chicken wire and failing wire gate that we'd inherited from the previous owners, so it's only taken me... nearly four years to get this built.

I'm especially proud of the gate—cedar on cedar, built from scratch. I used merge plates to bind the joins—hidden by the cedar planks on the other side—with three black hinges on the other side. I tried to make it look a bit like a barn door, as barns are one of the WeeOne's favourite structures (and one of his first words).

We particularly like the brick path, only found a year or so ago when I starrted digging around, hidden under a good 10cm of years-collected detrius.
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Now you can glow, too

In a previous post I chatted about a new product called Glowfast Luminous Sail Tape and how useful this tape would be on my Pacific Action Sail when paddle/sailing at night.

The company's based in Oz, and Jason from Glowfast e-mailed me, writing that he'd break up a 40mm roll for me, as all I'd need would be about four metres.

Jason's happy to give this short-ordering system a go, so if you too would like to order less than a full roll of 25 metres, you can e-mail him at, and easily pay via PayPal (whether you have a PayPal account or not).

I look forward to testing the tape out when it arrives from my near-neck of the woods!

Friday, May 1, 2009

A grand wee adventure: part III

SandyBottom and I had planned a three-day, 100-mile (160km) sea kayak trip to scout for our September WaterTribe North Carolina Challenge. Using Top Spot chart N239, this is our story…

Dawn’s cough woke me, to a still morning—the wind had finally died—and a red ball was peeking above the Outer Banks, too low to fully see in the distance. But we could hear… the humming of a thousand—possibly more—mosquitoes, inside our tent flys and out—starving for blood—as big as sparrows. And I am not exaggerating. (North Carolina Challenge 2009 contestants: be warned!)

I dressed in my evening fully covering clothes and did all my packing, etc business inside the tent (thankgoodness for WagBags). Unzipped the inner at the last moment, threw everything out, donned headnet, threw down the damp tent, and furiously packed our boats. If I stood still for long enough, my cream socks turned black. I knew there were mozzies still inside my tent, and inside my hatches when I closed them tight—I did not care.

Finally braving the beasts to throw off morning clothes, we speedily donned paddling clothes and pushed off the beach, still wearing our headnets. (The next day Dawn e-mailed me at work to report she’d counted 300 bites all over her body—I had much fewer, but where I had been bitten turned into large red lumps.)

Homeward bound we paddled, past Rumley Bay and Lola Point, tucking around Cedar Island Point. The WSW slowly kicked in, and with our sails up we made good progress.

We discussed a note to take photos to warn fellow NCC contestants, particularly in the bigger boats, to stick to the marked channels, as the fish net stakes are common around the coast here, sometimes stretching a hundred metres and more from the shore, offering a dangerous addition to nighttime travel.

We’d had plans to end the NCC inside Cedar Island Bay with the finish line right in front of the Driftwood campground at a small boat ramp there. But with the tide down and the difficulty of finding a channel even with the tide in, we’ve decided to have everyone finish right where we started, outside on Pamlico Sound. And if the weather’s really hammering the Sound, folks can make the decision to finish inside; where we did, just a couple of hours after leaving the newly named, Blood-Letting Point.

Freshly showered and changed, we drove home via Beaufort for one of El’s shrimp burgers with all the works—a fitting end to a grand wee adventure!