Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rats, stoats and other pests

Well the last few days have been idyllic!

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This was the worst cloud and it lasted about 1 hour!

Days of glorious cloud free skies, minimal breeze and just wonderful.

While I was at the Wharetotara Reserve, I met a young couple and their young 18 month old girl. They were in a lovely old Bedford bus, ex NZR. They had been on the road for 6 days!  They had left Wellington 6 days ago after spending considerable time getting the bus into good order for their road trip. They were looking to find some work in the area and just spend the next year tiki-touring around NZ. They had the bus very well set up with a separate bedroom for their little girl, who was loving the travelling.

Also had a visit from a local NZMCA member who had been very active in getting the local council to open up parking areas for motorhomers. He was pleased that we both had out certificates and stickers up to date and in the window. He is policing the areas to make sure that we as motorhomers are sticking to the rules and behaving so that the council don’t have a chance to rescind their permission to have these parking spaces. The good thing is that they are well marked and signposted as to how many parks, how long etc. So it makes it easy to stick to the rules. Well done to the locals for their hard work and efforts to get these parking spots. So please don’t abuse them folks!

So after a couple of lazy days at two parks at Ohope Beach, I moved towards Cheddar Valley where I was to stay at the Cheddar Valley Pottery with Margaret and Stuart Slade. They produce an amazing array of domestic ware and garden art, consisting of birds and animals.

I had been in email contact with Margaret about staying and when she found out that I was a keen tramper and biker, she suggested that I do the little 4km walk along the wetlands in the valley. So after a quick stop at the Tauwhare Pa site, which is huge and some great views

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After leaving there I was heading towards Cheddar Valley when a cyclist came towards me waving furiously with a huge smile on her face. I immediately thought “Huh? but then had an Aha moment. It was Margaret from the Cheddar Valley Pottery out for her morning ride. It turns out that Margaret and Stuart are very keen cyclists, trampers and conservationists.

I then pulled in to the Nukuhou Salt Marsh, where there is a great little board walk out over the marsh and from there the start of the 4km walk that Margaret was talking about.

This was a lovely easy, flat walk that has some amazing things to see on the way. It is a whitebait spawning area and there are informative signs everywhere. There are also some wonderful pottery pictures of the local birds and wildlife that Stuart has created at the Cheddar Valley Pottery. It makes for a great little walk.

When I arrived at my park for the night, Margaret and Stuart greeted me like long lost friends and certainly made me feel very welcome. There was another motorhome parked down the driveway and it turned out that their key had decided to pack a sad. It was a Mercedes and the key had stopped working. To make matters worse it was a borrowed camper from the driver’s son. After much too-ing and fro-ing a second key was found in Auckland. The local tow truck driver arrived and tried everything but decided that it would be difficult to move the vehicle while it was all locked up and in park etc. So he would be back if the replacement key wouldn’t work. The key arrived the following morning and the two lovely ladies were able to continue on their journey around the Cape.

Meanwhile Stuart and I had talked about the kayak loader as he had designed and had built one of his own. Different and almost as efficient as mine. We then got to talking pottery and I showed them my little boxes and they were very impressed with them and examined them closely. Stuart said that they looked so good that he thought that they were slip cast. I explained that they were hand made and he was even ore impressed. Margaret then invited me to join her and a bunch of the local tramping club on their Thursday tramp, which this week was doing the local trap line around a piece of bush, about an 8km walk. Quick rugged in places but a nice days walk.

I agreed to go with them and had a wonderful day with a great group of people.

We checked over 30 traps and only found one stoat and 4 rats. So the trapping is working as they had been getting 14-15 per month.

On the way I found some lovely fungi.

Margaret then lent me her copy of the latest Kennett Brothers guide to NZ biking trips. We have a load of awesome biking road trips here in NZ.

So after a lovely day, I decided that I had to do the deed and get something done about my house batteries! So this morning I headed back to Whakatane and got my house batteries replaced. The guys at Coastal Motorhomes did a great job and I now have a new set of 3 x 12v 100 A/H batteries. I would have got 4 but it would have been a big job to fit the 4th in. We talked about what I was using and he believes that I will be good with the slightly reduced amp hours.

So hopefully that will be the last of the electrics issues for a very long time. While I was in Whakatane I also managed to finally find LED bulbs for the range hood and the refrigerator. This now just leaves my outside “porch” light to go.

So I headed back out through Ohope, Cheddar Valley and on towards Opotiki. I am now sitting at the Motu Trails HQ in Opotiki and am going to ride the Pakihi Trail tomorrow, weather permitting.