Friday, March 27, 2015

Fantastic Fantail Bay

I know….another boring sunset shot!
So I am still here at Fantail Bay and will be here through to the end of April when I move up to Port Jackson until the end of September. This is all on a month by month basis in case I don’t like it or they don’t like me! But so far the feedback has been fantastic not only about the camp host but about how great a little campsite it is. So I am chuffed that I have found a little niche that suits me and I suit it.
So we have been doing all sorts of bits and pieces while here. I had to do a mad dash into Auckland the other week to deliver a seminar and took some time to visit FCO (Fishing, Camping, Outdoors) which is closing down and I managed to spend a little money on a new solar shower as the old one which was passed down from Brenda and Roger finally decided to give up the ghost at the handle from which it hangs. So while I was there they also had a nice little 12v shower system on very good special so that went into my basket as well as a fish finder and battery! I also managed to pick up a very good little 12v battery charger and it all seems to work after a bit of sorting out faulty cigarette lighter connectors. So now people know it is me in the shower due to the little motor. It gives me a great shower, I empty the solar shower into the bucket and off I go!
Also the install of the fish finder was a bit of a mission, but finally got the kit and managed to successfully fit it.
I have hung the battery inside the hull until I can get somewhere and make a battery holder for it. Works well until there is a large swell and the battery thumps the side!
It is fun to now see what I am paddling over and to see the huge drop off that is just off the bay.
Bread making the other day and instead of making loaves to go with the fishes I made buns and that went really well. Managed to make 8 very nice buns. Easier to freeze and keep and don’t end up eating half a loaf of yummmmmy bread for lunch or afternoon tea.
Have finally said farewell to one of the long term ‘residents’ of Fantail Bay. John from Taupo headed off this morning in his lovely old green 1968 Bedford bus towing his 4wd van. He has been a wonderful addition to the camp and his stories are amazing. He has written two books, one about his trip from London to Africa on the safari from hell and the other about his life farming sheep, cows and then goats. Both wonderful reads and I recommend them if you can find them. His name is John Mather and most libraries have copies of “Bitten by Africa” and “Two Kiwis and their Motorhome”. I will miss him and his ‘happy hour’ stories, but he is off home to Taupo.
So life is quietening down here at Fantail Bay as the summer departs and Autumn starts to chill things down. Tonight we have one motorhome, one tent and one van and me in the camp so very quiet, but we are now in the lead up to the Easter weekend so anything can happen.
We have had some more amazing sunsets….
Have spent two days now working with my boss Karl and the camp manager Tim from Fletcher Bay in re-routing the water supply for the camp after it got a bit damaged last week with Cyclone Pam as she passed. So we have hauled the pipe down from the hill and re-run it on a better gradient, put the end back into the water (doesn't work well when it is sitting halfway up the bank about 4 metres from the water!) and after two fills of the tank with the fire pump we now have our water supply back only 12 days after it was damaged!
I am pretty knackered after lugging huge 50m lengths of pipe through the bush so an early night for me and hope to get out tomorrow for some fishing before the next load of foul weather arrives. Have been out a couple of time but not been very successful but hope things might change, but everyone is in a bit of the same boat with the fishing, some days it is on and the next nothing. The sea has been very dirty but full of krill so we have huge numbers of terns feeding and the kawhai have been running but everyone is very well fed and not taking bait either live or soft. Still there has been enough caught to keep us all in fish at least one meal a day for the couple of weeks or so.
Enjoying a few quiet days of weeding the garden dividers here,
and making the most of the peace and quiet.
Safe travels to you all!

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Sunset Diary

Over the past few days here at Fantail Bay the evenings have been quite spectacular. So here is a visual diary of them….

Saturday 21 February


Sunday 22 February


Tuesday 24 February


Wednesday 25 February


Thursday 26 February


Saturday 28 February


Sunday 1 March


Monday 2 March


and I will add some more when they arrive!

I am going to have a bit of a woohoo moment so just allow me my moment please. I am so stoked at the positive comments as campers leave the campsite. They are all happy and say that it is a lovely campsite with a great manager and the whole tone of the place is great and friendly and it look clean and tidy and very park-like. So it appears that I am doing a good job and tourists and locals alike are leaving with great memories of Fantail Bay 2015.

I have had a large number of foreign tourists, not all young Germans or French on their gap year, but some older ones as well including a lovely couple from Sweden who managed to arrive just in time to participate in a morning tea of smoked snapper that had been caught that morning by a lovely Polish camper who had caught his limit and was handing then out around the camp. So I offered to smoke some fillets. We were joined by a pair of Australians and had some lovely lightly fried fish bites delivered as well. So they all had a lovely nibble on really fresh fish.

Then as evening fell we managed to see a possum on the edge of the campsite and they took lots of photos of the “cute, cuddly thing”. Until they saw the claws….

Then in the morning as a tent was coming down a weta was found on the side of the tent and more photos were taken.


The the kereru started performing so they had that as well. So huge smiles all round as they left for Auckland and started their journey home back to Sweden and the cold climate there.

I also have a young German couple who are travelling alongside a motorhome couple and we have some great fun teasing him about the fishing and lack of crayfish when he goes diving and last night he was out on the point trying to catch a fish that was “This big”…..


but it wasn’t to be yet again, but the fishing calendar had February and early March as not too good for catching fish but improving over the next week or so.

BUT I have to say that my effort the other day was quite spectacular. I was drifting across the bay just south of Fantail Bay and was having very little in the way of bites and suddenly the rod was bent over and it was all on for young and old! I had a sea anchor out and two rods in the water so it was a bit of a handful getting the sea anchor in and then the second rod while trying to keep what ever was on the line from tearing away and hiding in the rocks. So after a number of reel in til almost visible then huge run again I managed to get it to the surface. A huge trevally that eventually measured in at 68cm. It took around 15 mins to get him on board and I am still buzzing. A great tussle and the larges fish I have ever caught.

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So half of it was smoked for “Happy Hour” that afternoon and then a half of the remaining fillet was turned into Thai green curry for my dinner and the last half fillet is in the freezer.

An interesting aside and a little tale of helping ones fellow man. One of the campers here John is a regular here and we were chatting away and I noticed his Quarter Acre Pot so I asked him how it was. He said that he was thoroughly enjoying it and that it worked well, until the pot split! “Huh?” and he pulled out the pot and sure enough the actual sides of the pot had split.


I could not believe it but yes the pot had split around half of the circumference. It really did look like stress from the manufacturing process. Anyway John said that he had tried ringing the numbers but the message had said “emergencies only” and he was hesitant to call this an emergency. So I asked him if he would like me to try to contact them via email and try to sort something out for him. So with his permission,  I emailed them and explained the situation. Within an hour I had a response apologising for the fault, it was known to them and was a faulty batch of steel at the manufacturing end of things. What was his address and we will send out a replacement. Now that is certainly the way to treat customers who have faulty goods. Didn’t even want to see the photos or ask for the pot to be returned, just “Our fault, where do we send the replacement!”

Well done Quarter Acre Pots!

So campers come and go, sometimes a night sometimes more but its a great flow of people and I am thoroughly enjoying it. A little bit of lawn mowing each day keeping the place looking good and as a camper leaves, I will mow their patch ready for the next. Very stressful lifestyle!

Safe travels everyone!