Sunday, August 11, 2019

India here i come...

Travel itinerary so far

Tuesday October 29 travel to Auckland either by my good friend Dave or on the ferry from Coromandel.
Wednesday October 30 at 15:15 I am flying out of Auckland on Singapore Airlines to Singapore.
Flight time 10 hr 40 mins. There I have a 5 hour wait til I board leg 2 of my journey from Singapore to Delhi.
Flight time 6 hours. After a 7 hour wait I board for the last leg from Delhi to Chandigarh.
Flight time 1hr 10 mins.
So leaving Auckland 15:15 October 30 arriving Chandigarh 31 hours and 5 mins later but is 14:50 Oct 31 local time.
On arrival at Chandigarh I take the bus to town (another 30 mins) and then head out to Aura Pottery, another 20 mins west of the city.

Chandigarh is in Punjab province, north western India.
Northern India showing Aura Pottery and Chandigarh.

Aura Pottery on the outskirts of Chandigarh

I am going to be staying at Aura Pottery for 8 weeks on a long stay pottery retreat.
Aura Pottery
I am also organising at train trip around the country.
Train trip
Travel day 1 - Chandigarh to Delhi.Distance 264 km - Time 4.5 hours - ₹745 NZ$16
Travel day 2 - Delhi to Kharagpur. Distance 1735 km - Time 35 hours -  2580 NZ$56
Travel day 3 - Kharagpur to Chennai. Distance 1539 km - Time 26 hours - 2350 NZ$51
Travel day 4 - Chennai to Mumbai. Distance 1281 km -  Time 24 hours - ₹2100 NZ$46
Travel day 5 - Mumbai to Bathinda. Distance 1849 km - Time 32 hours - ₹2725 NZ$59
Travel day 6 - Bathinda to Chandigarh. Distance 253km - Time 4.5 hours - ₹1130 NZ$25

Total travel distance 6921 km
Total travel time 126 hours or 5 1/4 days
Total cost NZ$253.....yes $253!

I will be stopping off at the cities for a look and so won't be doing this in a rush. There are numerous options to stop off at intermediate stops as well. 
I just have to be in Bathinda Jan 24th or thereabouts for the Vasant Panchami festival.

Vasant Panchami is celebrated in different ways by the Hindus of the North and South India. While it is a kite festival in Punjab, it is a harvest festival in Bihar. While it is celebrated as Saraswati Puja in educational institutes in the North, it is mostly a temple festival in South India. But universally, yellow rules the colour of the day, as it heralds the arrival of spring and signifies the positive energy of life and nature. It is also the colour of mustard flowers that bloom during this season.

 It has been an exciting time with list and things to do, like getting my passport renewed, booking tickets, applying for a visa, sorting out IT and communications while away.

Meanwhile, I am assisting in Coromandel Town with some clearing and native tree planting on an amazing property. Also we are making slow progress at the Pohutukawa Chalets with benchtop replacements and new cupboard doors and drawer fronts.
I have also been set building for the new play at the Coromandel Theatre, Last Legs. A Roger Hall comedy set in a retirement home.

So it is all go at the moment.

Til next post, safe travels everyone.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

... and a bit of a catchup and next excitement

In February 2019 my contract with DOC finished and I moved on.
Luckily there were a number of amazing people in the northern Coromandel area that offered me space and work and support so I have stayed in the area.
Currently (August 2019) I am residing at the Pohutokawa Chalets in Papa Aroha, midway between Coromandel Town and Colville.
Pohutukawa Chalets (I'm in the bottom one)

I am assisting in winter maintenance while Bronny (owner) is away in Europe on her annual holiday.
The Fredrock Cafe is currently in Thames getting some rust removed. 4 years on the beach front at Port Jackson has done a bit of damage.
The Fredrock Cafe @ Kopu with co-driver

Co-driver Archie (on babysitting duties for the weekend only)

While here I have become involved with the Coromandel Theatre, Colville Social Services, The Colville Project and Driving Creek Pottery and Railway. So life has actually gotten much busier and I have had a bit of a change of direction.
So in closing up with DOC a bit of a look at some highlights.
Stanley Island tuatara release.
Releasing tuatara back into the wild
 Taranaki sperm whale stranding
Flensing sperm whales (me in orange centre)
And have been back to pottery excitements at Driving Creek Pottery and Railway in Coromandel Town.

Barry Brickell, founder/builder of Driving Creek
Driving Creek Railway
 Firing of wood kiln at Driving Creek
Heading up towards 1300 deg C

Sam Ireland after the 3am to 10am shift

Sam Ireland and Laurie Steer salting the kiln at over 1300 deg C
and today repairs and maintenance
redoing the firebox arch

repairs to the back wall
So a start to the reblogging and next post will have my summer plans 

Safe travels

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pause for Effect

I have just checked and it has been over a month since the last post!  That is not a very good track record for a blogger. I must say though I have been a bit busy with my position here at Port Jackson.

The last couple of weeks have been flat out here with major earthworks happening. Firstly to fill in the holes at the end of Muriwai Camp and create a safer slope.

Then Dan and Zowie moved through to between Spinifex and Barrier Camp to replace the existing culvert with a larger one and extend it out to the beachfront.

After a high tide and severe winds, it looks like that one will have to be cleaned regularly.


Once that was completed they moved up to the day parking area to replace the culvert there was not working well. We discovered that what was planned was not going to work once we put the levels into place and so revisions were made and instead of moving the culvert we scraped the grass off and lifted the ground level to get the water to run the right way and into the culvert. We lengthened the culvert pipe again out to the beachfront and built a retaining wall to protect the pipe.

While this was all happening, I have had visitors…..

An interesting assortment, the ducks congregating on the shore and a single shag trying to hide (badly)….


The Caspian terns are still here, but are difficult to get a good shot of…


I have around 3 pairs of NZ Dotterels in their mating plumage up at the north end of the beach….

DSCF9044 (3)You can see why it is so easy to run them over or step on the nest. Very well camouflaged. 

Also have a pair of oystercatchers…noisy folks…

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The gannets have been busy for days…

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and the dolphins have been in a couple of times…


So it has been a very busy time here at Port Jackson Conservation Campground, I have mown the lawns 5 times now, it takes around 9 hours to mow the entire campground.


I have been getting a steady flow of campers (averaging 2 vehicles a night) mostly for a single night but some pop in for two or three. An interesting mix of foreign tourists and NZ’ers having a few days off. There are cars, people movers, vans, caravans, motorhomes and house trucks. I cannot seem to predict when people will or will not turn up, weekends are not the busy time and surprisingly Wednesday seems to be a busy night.

I have a post about the Muriwai walk on the way and I might do a reprint of my story in the NZ Motorcaravanner magazine.

Safe travels everyone….