Sunday, April 27, 2014

I can fish!

Well today, Monday, Yana, Dave and the kids were going home so I helped to clean up and then I moved down to the northern end of Waihi Beach


and as I wandered along the beach the local policeman drove up and we had a bit of a chat about the new graffiti  that was appearing in the village, and then I told him I was trying to work out whether to go fishing off the rocks or take the kayak out. He suggested that I take the kayak out just off the point.

I did and as I got about 400m off the shore, I heard the phone go and by the time I got it out, I had missed it. Yana then rang back to say that they were just about to leave and that her mum had given permission for me to have a key to the ‘utility’ at the section and I can park there any time I want!

So after I hung up I cast one line out the seaward side of the kayak and nothing, so then cast it to the landward side and bang, a strike. It felt good and yup a nice 32cm snapper. Just as I got it in the boat the hook came off the end of the line! But managed to keep the fish on board and then I decided to see if Dave and Yana had left yet so rang them and asked if they wanted fish for dinner. They were just heading to the petrol station and I started to paddle in, by the time I gutted and scaled the fish, Dave and Yana came down to collect it and take it home for their dinner! After many hugs I headed back out and within 20 mins had two more nice sized snapper in the back of the kayak. I then decided to call it a day as that was enough for me so I started winding in one of the reels and bang! another strike and this one was a biggie. Had a lot of fun hauling it it and so I had three nice snapper on board. By the time I had remembered the camera I had cut the head off the first one so its not in the picture.


I headed back to the beach, gutted and scaled them and headed to the bus. One went to the guy next door in his campervan and the others are now fillets in my fridge. Two fillets for dinner and some for Roger and I lunch tomorrow.

So there are fish out there and I can catch them!

By the way Mr Weatherman, lovely fine weather here today, not rain. Its now 5:15 and the weather is starting to pack up a bit but apart from a cool breeze today has been wonderful!

Activities galore….

Well this weekend has been a great time.
On Saturday Dave and I headed down to Anzac Bay to see what footage we could get from various cameras and GoPro’s etc of me sailing.
It turned out to be a wonderful day and some fantastic sailing was had.
We started off with the GoPro camera on the forestay ….

This is a still from that footage. I will get some videos uploaded as soon as I can.
Then we put it up the top of the mast….
So we now have a good idea of the shots we can get. The footage from the GoPro is just amazing. The pics don’t do it justice.
But we had a great day and Dave took the kids out for a sail, theirs and the neighbours two as well.
He also took Yana out and they had a great sail.
There is far more footage to wade through and make some highlights from and we’ll get something up on Youtube soon.
So this week I am probably staying here in Waihi Beach. I’m going to go do some fishing from the kayak as the locals say that there is plenty to be had just outside the breakers. There is plenty being caught off the various longlines/Torpedos that are being put out in the evenings here. We had a lovely feed on Saturday night after the neighbour put his Torpedo out and came home with his limit after giving away some to others on the beach.
The wind is up a bit today but it certainly isn’t the rainy weather that the weather  forecasters had predicted for today so who knows what is going to happen. It did rain overnight and that may have been our rain. Who knows.
I am looking forward to my sister and her husband meeting up with me here this week sometime. Roger has decided that he needs to get some fishing in, so we can do that together. I am also going to be doing some of the walks around here.
Dave, Yana, Jimi, Tyler and I went riding down to Bowentown yesterday, a nice little ride along the estuary side of the peninsular. There is a bike/walking track that is nice and flat and meanders along nicely. We ended up at the BMX track beside the surf club and had a bit of fun there.
We had seen a paraglider with an engine on the way out there and he landed up on the hill behind the BMX track so Dave shot off to talk to him. When we got back to base camp, the paraglider pilot arrived and we chatted for quite a while and compared footage. He showed us some amazing footage of a flight that he had dome off a mountain between Rotorua and Taupo. Just beautiful. He hasn’t been doing it for long and had taken lessons at Fergusson Park, Tauranga, starting out kite surfing. I told him about our weekend there, watching them all practice and then head out onto the water. He said that it hadn’t taken him long to progress to putting the motor on his back.
So it’s bye for now from lovely Waihi Beach.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Phil and Tilley at Waihi Beach

Last night I went to the first live performance for a very long time. It was to see two young guys at the Fire Station in Waihi Beach and yes it was THE fire station not a club called the fire station. They are an acoustic folk duo called Phil and Tilley. They were amazing. Phil is lead vocal and plays a mean acoustic guitar and Tilley is back up vocal and plays a brilliant double bass. The combination is pretty awesome stuff. 
Here is a link to a YouTube clip of theirs. 
Phil and Tilley Live

It was a great evening. 

I am currently in Waihi Beach staying alongside my dear friend Yana who is a brilliant artist, and her two sons. Her husband Dave will be back in a couple of days he has to work poor sod. 
We are all parked on the family section where they have built 'The Utility' a small kitchen, shower and loo. There are caravan sockets to which various caravans can hook up and families can join together over the holidays etc. 
Yana has been grateful for the adult company as she has been here for a week so far. 
I have been keeping her company and helping with the cooking. Spaghetti and meat balls last night and Sweet and Sour Pork tonight. She loves not having to cook!  
Well I finally sorted out my issues with my power/solar panels today with a visit to Bill's Bus Stop in Tauranga. We all piled into the bus as Yana needed to do some shopping and we headed to Bill. He got up on the roof and told me that the kayak had to go!  
What is happening is that the kayak is shading the solar panel and dropping the available power. So he finally admitted that I probably needed the kayak as an integral part of my lifestyle and we looked at alternatives. We were also looking to increase the wattage on the roof. After a bit of discussion we decided to move the position of the current panel sideways and then put a new one across the roof sideways over the shower vent, raised up enough to allow the vent to open. He also said that later down the track I could add two more panels on the back end of the   bus. 
So I am booked in to get this done on Tuesday week after next. I hope it's not raining as I need to leave the bus as 'he doesn't work well with an audience'. 
I shall organise a bike ride for the day. 
So I shall probably stay here in Waihi Beach til then. I am going to find out about the fishing here and go for some bike rides and walks. There are some nice ones around here I believe. 
I am also being persuaded to take my pottery boxes in to a craft shop here tomorrow to see if the owner is interested in selling them. We shall see.

CANZAC biscuits!
Yana decided she wanted Anzac biscuits yesterday and so when we went shopping for the coconut and golden syrup the store only had large tins if golden syrup!  So I decided that I would use maple syrup instead. My sister had brought me some genuine Canadian maple syrup back from her last trip to Canada. They taste quite different but still very nice but I think I made them too thick so they are not as crisp as they should be. Still for my first time not bad! 

It's been very interesting with people seeing Yana and me together and knowing Dave had to go home. But best was when No.1 son happily tells the neighbours that Dad had to go home and Frederick had came to play with Mommy!  They had some fun with that one until Yana went over and explained the situation. I said that she should have said that Dave had not only known but had given his approval for me to come play with Yana!  Shouldn't shock the neighbours too much though!  But out of it came an invite for me to park up at a Mt Maunganui place anytime I was passing through. This came from a couple who had dropped in for the evening in ther campervan, without even meeting me. How neat people can be!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The wheels on the bus go round and round…..

Monday and yesterday were spent checking all the wheel nuts on the bus.
Roger had suggested that I make sure that I could change a wheel if necessary and that everything worked and I could manage to do it by myself.
SO it was a matter of getting things out and taking each wheel nut off one by one, greasing it with a special marine non-stick grease and then putting it back on. This worked well with the front….
The wheel brace is quite large, two separate sections of pipe and a bar which gives me a huge amount of leverage.
When it came to the back wheels, being dual wheels, I had to take the outers off completely and then do the inner nuts.
I drove the bus up onto my levelling boards, placed so that they were under the inner wheels only. This then enabled me to take the outer wheels off easily without having to use the jack.
It was a bit of fun with the left hand/right hand threads. I had to remember which side of the bus I was working on.
Also with the wheel trims, Roger did a bit of panel beating and welding to sort out a bit of a mess on one as someone had tried to remove the wheel trim without removing the hubometer or the axel cover. Some of the captive nuts needed to be spot welded as they were loose and rotated making it very difficult to remove the bolts…..
Still we managed to get things back together and sorted, I now know what to take off to remove the rear wheels and even checked the spare tyre, making sure I could get it down and out from its hidey hole. So all the nuts are greased, tightened and tyre pressures checked and topped up as necessary. All were within 5-8.PSI of where they should have been.
Quite a lengthy process as each wheel has six nuts so all told 36 nuts were taken off, greased and replaced.
Learning all they way! But now I feel confident that I can change any wheel if I ever get a puncture!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Water, water everywhere….

This is a little post to explain my water filtering system in the bus.
It is in response to a request from the motorhome forum at
The question was raised about the best filter to use and so here is my system.
In the rear locker I have a bag with a specific water hose that only gets used for filling the tank, a dual cartridge filter system and a small water pump that is driven by a cordless drill.
These store neatly in the side of the rear locker. Everything is interconnected with standard domestic hose fittings and the ends are connected together to prevent contamination via dust etc.
The filters then sit on a pair of bolts in the rear
and is connected to the water inlet on the side of the bus.
The first picture shows the intake covered with a homemade cap to keep the nasties out. I screw in a standard tap fitting and the outflow side of the filters clip on via a short length of hose.
The in side of the filters is then connected to either a tap or the drill mounted water pump.
I make sure that the flow is not too fast and it can take a while to fill 350 litres if I let it get too low.
The little drill mounted water pump works at a great speed. I use a cable tie on the trigger of the drill.
The specs of the filter as as follows. The first filter is a 20 micron pleated filter to essentially get rid of the sediment and large contaminants and then the second is a 0.5 micron carbon block filter. This is sufficient to get rid of the nasties like giardia and certainly gets rid of the chlorine taste from town water supplies. I believe that it does a pretty good job with heavy metals as well. I expect it to last at least a year or more.
This was purchased from and he was great. We spent quite a while talking about what I was doing, what I thought I needed and how I wanted to set it up and then he came up with this system. I was there about 1 1/2 hours all up.
The cost was around $275 for the setup and it was money well spent.
Hope this helps.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Arohena to Mangakino

The road to Arohena DoC camp is quite a beauty. Once you hit Landing Road it is metal and heads off down the hill ….


Even Google maps has a problem with the last part… but still the view at the end was fantastic and a huge campsite.

I unloaded the MiniCat and had a bit of a sail up the river for a while. Quite good sailing but the breeze was very variable and gusty. Fun though.

So then it was washing time again….happens on a regular basis and the sunshine was fantastic so out with the washing machine and clothes line and way I went. There was water on site and I didn’t have to carry water too far as there were taps spread around the campsite.

The side panel for the awning worked well today as the sun was extremely hot and it offered a huge amount of protection.

As you can see from the earlier pictures, there were not a lot of people at the campsite. There was one large caravan and a couple of tents when I arrived but they were all gone by mid afternoon leaving just me and a small van. So very quiet night was had. The sunset lighting on the hills was lovely.


For some reason I didn’t feel right at that campsite, I can’t put my finger on it but it was just a feeling of “I don’t want to be here”. Not a feeling of danger or anything but just quite uncomfortable, so I packed everything up in the evening and was ready for an early head out in the morning.

First thing after breakfast I headed back out up the hill and turned south and headed up the river.

The first stop was Waipapa Dam. A quiet humming in the early morning stillness.

This is a dam the road runs alongside rather than across and on the other side of the road was a fascinating little hole in the rock face….









I tried to take a picture inside but that is all I could manage.

So from there I wandered south again and headed off the main road down to the next dam and power station which was Maraetai Power Station

The photos don’ really tell the story of the size and scale of this but I tried.

The penstocks coming down the hill were quite organic looking as if they were part of the eco system. They are the same colour as the surrounding rock.

From there is was a short trip down to the town of Mangakino and I parked The Fredrock Cafe beside The Bus Stop Cafe.


This reserve is a wonderful quiet area until the Cafe owner set up his little model speed boat that runs on a weed eater petrol motor and goes like the clappers.

I set up the MiniCat and headed out for a sail across the lake. Quite quiet but enough wind to make for a nice sail. I went out again in the afternoon when the wind picked up a bit and it was quite exciting sailing. Unfortunately in the process of setting up for afternoon tea I managed to drop my camera so there will be no pictures for a while. The camera still operates but the LCD screen/viewfinder is a white mess.

I spent a lovely hour or so chatting to a lovely couple who were heading home to Timaru after visiting their daughter in Cambridge. They were retired and had moved from Christchurch to Timaru after the earthquake. It was great to get some tips on South Island places to stay and see. Thanks for that.

In the morning it was beautifully quiet and so I unloaded the kayak and headed back down the river to the power station, a trip of about 2km there and 3km back as I went down one side and back the other and it is about 900m across the lake!

Around lunchtime as I was baking some savoury scones, a small Toyota van pulled in alongside me and a young couple got out and were trying to tighten up their wing mirror with a pocket knife screwdriver. I got out the tool kit and offered them a decent screwdriver and got talking to them. A lovely young couple from the USA who have been teaching English in South Korea for the past few months and are here for a year they hope. They had just come out of the Coromandel and were quite disillusioned about freedom camping in New Zealand! I carefully explained to them that they had hit the worst possible place to start their journey but the best was yet to come. I hauled out my DoC maps and brochures and showed them where the great places were. They are into off-road running and had been running the Waikato River Trail. We talked about how to find some tracks for them to run on and then they got an invite to join me for some scones for lunch. So we spent a very pleasant few hours chatting and solving the woes of the world.

Then a lovely 9m Hino pulled in beside the Toyota and I recognised the name Hino Inn. I had met the lovely couple John and Chris (hope I got that right!) at the Campervan Show at Mystery Creek. We all caught up and John was trying out his latest acquisition. A lovely enamelled cast iron Dutch Oven, and he was going to make a roast of lamb for dinner. From what I can gather it was the first time he had attempted to cook a roast in the bus (or cook anything for that matter). The smells wafting out during Happy Hour were lovely and I hope it turned out well.

So it was yours truly, the young American couple, John and Chris and two lovely ladies from Levin for Happy Hour, which extended through to around 7pm….

So after spending two nights there I left early and headed back through to Hamilton in a bit of a straight run up through Te Kuiti to get some paperwork in order for selling one of the rental properties and low and behold there was strange precipitation falling out of the sky. Hadn’t seen that for a while. Quite refreshing to see the rain finally.

So its a bit of a pause again while I do some minor repairs to the bus, the winding gear on the awning had finally worn down in one spot making it very difficult to wind the awning in so that had to be replaced. Roger and I had already taken it apart and shimmed it out to get some more life out of it but that didn’t last long. I need to replace the seals on the toilet as well as they are starting to not hold water well. I have to wait for them to arrive, but have managed to get the winder and replaced that.

I am taking this opportunity to have a bit of a clean out of the bus to get rid of the accumulated ‘stuff’. I have managed to find a load of more space! Also I am starting to get the winter gears stocked up and ready for use. A good autumnal clean!

I hope to be back on the road as soon as I can get the toilet seals installed, they say about a week to arrive here.