Two old wrinklies with two west highland terriers Traveling New Zealand

How Bland……

The saga continues……We left Waiuku and travelled towards Tinopai and I gotta say what a bumpy, winding road. On arrival I noticed that just like air flights things moved in transit and it was the most movement we have had so far.

Delighted to arrive and set up. Not much to do here except relax, go for walks, read, fish etc. It was here that Rod put his dinghy through it’s paces on the water as it was a nice, safe place with no waves. We enjoyed the snapper and found a small takeaway trailer called the Happy Puku that used fried bread instead of buns for their burgers……………………………bad for the waistline but absolutely yum!! Can’t remember the last time I had fried bread!! We stayed here for about a week before moving on to Dargaville; staying at the NZMCA camp. ]

We were again fortunate to score a concrete pad to set up on and were able to check out some sightseeing places that we missed when we had to leave to return to Auckland prior to Christmas due to inverter issues.

It was while we were staying here that our gorgeous God-daughter Rebecca came to visit along with her delightful son Wade. As Rebecca’s partner Guy was away for the night we suggested she stay for a sleepover and thoroughly enjoyed having a wee one to cuddle and play with!! It was very quiet when they left the following morning……….too quiet!!

Not sure who enjoyed the visit more, Wade ‘driving’ the truck or Mac and Rose having someone new to play/cuddle with!!

We visited the Dargaville Museum this trip; what a beautiful place with sweeping views over the river AND you can stay there freedom camping although there is a dump station on the location.

The museum is also the location of the Rainbow Warrier’s mast as a memorial. along with memorabilia of an era bygone.

We stayed at Dargaville for a week before leaving for destination Ruakaka and the lifestyle block of Greg and Brandon. Here we were scheduled to do our COF and for Rod to have an MRI initially requested by a specialist via ACC in 2012, relating to his ‘selective’ hearing lol.

Love staying here and Mac and Rose love it!!! The boys make us welcome and Greg’s recipe for home-made KFC just heaven!!

Unfortunately we failed our COF on…………you guessed it………..brakes!! This is an on-going issue that we have had work on every 6 months and it just drives us nuts. Rod checked in with the last service guy and found the advice less than helpful so he did his magic and investigated online to find the solution based on the specific braking system rather than generic!! Hey presto, abracadabra he found a solution and the next morning he put the solution into practice.

Later that day he went for his retest and Dogonit passed!!! Now he knows what to do prior to his next test in 6 months; big weight off his shoulders. So far he has problem-solved issues on other 5th wheel systems so he is becoming quite the specialist……..not just a pretty face!!

Our last night with the boys was spectacular with rain, sheets of continuous lightening and thunder most of the night.

We left Ruakaka on Monday morning and wended our way northeast; heading to a small, isolated peninsular for the Bland Bay Holiday Camp which is not well-named. Bland means lacking strong features and uninteresting and I find this place the complete opposite. Nestled between two hills it has panoramic views of the small picturesque harbour and the small islands dotted across the horizon.

The camp managers, Tupou and Wayne have been wonderful, welcoming hosts and although dogs are not permitted on the beach on this side of the peninsular, it is only a small walk to the other side where they can have their beach time off-leash.

The weather here has been changeable, with short squalls and sunshine to mark our days but although storms were predicted it has turned out to be a perfect day to get the dinghy out and for my hunter, gatherer to head out on the water to fish.

We had contact from friends from up north who are now heading our way; expected tomorrow. We originally met these guys at Tauranga Bay last year. Lana (her Dad was one of the Chief Medics who trained me when I joined the WRNZNS) and Glenn had changed to a caravan and were soon pulled up alongside us on the beachfront. I think one of the first things Glen did was put a line out and for their entire stay they were pulling in snapper. We shared stories since our last get together and enjoyed several happy hours, dinners, cake etc. It is always a pleasure to catch-up with people who’s company is so enjoyable.

Rod has had his boat out and enjoyed many an hour on the water with his line out catching fish under the hot sun. It was great to see him out on the water (his happy place) although there were a few occasions when we had trouble locating him from our land base. I guess it was important to me to be able to espy him out on the water as the dinghy is small and he was still adapting to it’s idiosyncrasies. He is a cautious fisherman and wears his life jacket so at least I know he will float!!On one occasion he used a technique of rowing and using his motor when ran out of fuel coming in to land but that was the only time I was a little concerned.

Some of the hazards when fishing are surfcasters, torpedos, kite fishing, drones etc. as not everyone checks out what is going on before they engage in their fishing technique of choice. Rod tends to check out before he sets off using his chosen technique of the moment. The other day he prepared his boat, put on his life jacket, pushed the boat to the water’s edge.; nothing happening so he launched. Within a minute of leaving I hear a drone but paid no attention so was very surprised when I took the dogs for their constitutional to be ‘informed’ very politely that Rod may have a line tangled in his prop. I asked the guy if he had a flag but the answer was negative.

I called Rod and he advised that he did not think he had tangled with the line for two reasons: the prop was rubber so wouldn’t have cut the drone’s line or tangled it on his prop and the second was he had already moved from his original location and had no problem starting and moving. We heard that the guy used some pretty foul language about Rod but I think if he had been more aware of his surrounding it may not have happened or that there was the possibility that a shark took his line.

Monitoring from the beach over the next few days was an interesting exercise as I noticed several drone operators launching from the camp (so their lines bisected the beach making it difficult for other beach users). Another issue was that they went out on angles so interfered with other fishermen. Just rude and inconsiderate users.

Rod has had a major setback to his fishing expeditions!!! He returned from a long outing and after he had pulled the boat ashore and attached to the crane for pulling up the bank he said his back had been bothering him and he was in pain. Out with anti-inflammatories, pain relief, heating pads etc. and I knew he was in trouble when he took them without complaint. It has been a week of the pharmaceutical regime and it has greatly improved but he still has issues so discussions are in progress as to whether he can drive to a destination closer to a physio………still in progress

We have met other travellers and shared happy hours, coffee mornings and it is a relaxed atmosphere (when not fishing lol) and I love the view over the water out towards the ‘mexican hat’ a small rock in the harbour. What is greatly appreciated is if one of the camper are going into Russell or Whangarei they check-in to see if we want something picked up or ride into town with them. Rod says I will have to make more cakes lol.

Yesterday we moved back from the beach for two reasons; Easter is approaching and the beach front sites are always pre-booked and the encroaching bad weather. The weather forecasts have painted a stormy picture with lots of rain and high winds. We have yet to endure them but have a little more protection from the elements than right on the beach front. We will stay in this location until we leave but we still have a view of the harbour so no complaints.

One of the things I have already mentioned that adds to the enjoyment of a stay are the camp managers and we have thoroughly enjoyed Tupou and Wayne’s hospitality. They always check if we want something in town so I am currently looking forward to having some ice-cream!!

So; we are still Covid-free and we will be moving on Tuesday heading northwards again barring fire, flood or famine……………………may have one or two stops before reaching our winter destination so until then………………………………be safe.

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