Archive for February, 2012

The great photo-editing bonanza continues.  This time a couple of outings over Christmas.  Firstly to Onepoto Reserve, a park we’ve mentioned before that has an excellent cycle track all laid out like a mini road system.  the second location is North Head down at Devonport.  A lovely place for a family walk, hills, tunnels, views, guns and history.

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Swimming took a new direction this summer.  A bunch of like minded fish-types from the evening swim class I use decided to join up on Sundays for an open water swim somewhere.  We usually swim somewhere on the East Coast Bays, starting around 8:30am and swimming for about an hour.

I’ve been gradually building my distance at these swims.  The first one I did, I think I probably did about 1.5km, having to turn back after a bit to ensure I didn’t get myself stranded.  Gradually the distances have pushed up as I’ve been able to keep up with the group more or less.

A few weeks ago I managed to get up to just under 3km which was the distance I swam during the harbour crossing, when I suffered terribly from cramp.  And that became a bit of a psychological barrier, which has haunted me since November.

Well I’m really pleased that I’ve managed to bury that demon well and truly with the swim I did at the weekend.  Starting at Milford Beach we were aiming for Mairangi Bay Surf Club.  I wasn’t sure of the exact distance but was aware it was over 3km.  the conditions were perfect, hardly any wind, blue skies and the air and sea temperature were lovely.

So we set off heading for a reef marker to ensure we avoided some shallow rocks off Castor Bay point.  Once we were all out to the reef marker we chose a good landmark (a big Douglas Fir on Murray’s Bay point) and set off.  Swimming about 100m off shore we made steady progress.  My mind wandered all over the place during the swim, but I managed to keep a pretty good course and chipped away at the distance.  Towards the end I could feel my legs going into what I call ‘pre-cramp’ stage.  This is where I can feel cramp knocking at the door, but it’s not quite there yet.  I know that if I have to do anything sudden or unusually strenuous or awkward my calves will go solid instantly.

But amazingly it didn’t happen.  I closed down the last few hundred meters and kept heading for the surf club building and eventually found the beach.  We didn’t take note of the exact time but it was around 1h20m.

When I measured it online later in the day I was fairly astounded and somewhat delighted that I’d done somewhere in the region of 3.7km!  I’d absolutely smashed my previous best distance and time.

It’s fair to say that I was a bit chuffed.

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Summer at Last

Well what a summer it hasn’t been.  It seems like it’s taken so long for the rain to go and for us to have some reliable hot weather.  I have a couple of photos of a flooded camp ground to add at a later point in time… until then I’ve included some photo’s of our first camping trip to Raglan.

We passed through Raglan briefly earlier in the year, but it was mid-winter and we had to enjoy the beach wearing waterproofs and wooly hats.  This time we had the weather and a fine reason to go – birthday celebration!  A friend of ours had clocked up another year so a bunch of families all decamped to Raglan for the weekend.

It’s only a couple of hours from Auckland and I’d argue easier to get to than the Coromandel, on the opposite coast.  Being west coast it does mean the beaches can be a bit more serious and Raglan is known as a fine surfing destination.

Being west coast it’s also black sand – which gets everywhere!  Lucy in particular appears to be a magnet for black sand.  She was so utterly filthy within a few minutes of getting out of the car.  No matter what we tried she’d be coated again within minutes of being cleaned.  We gave up.

Raglan town is a surfy, arty, laid back place, although you can feel a little like a walking dollar sign wandering around the interesting craft and clothes shops.  Some shop keepers are friendly without being pushy, but others put on the hard sell when you walk through the door.  All minor stuff though – it’s a lovely place in general.

On the Saturday we played on the fantastic jumping pillow in the morning then went into town for lunch.  We sat by the river watching the local kids jumping off a small wharf into the fast running estuary below.  It took some getting used to watching these guys fling themselves around.  After while you started to get a sense for how they were watching out for each other and how instinctive their feel of the water was.

The footbridge between the town and camp ground crosses the estuary and is a magnet for hot kids on sunny days wanting to cool off.  About five meters or so above the water, it doesn’t look to high from a distance, but when you look out over the edge it seems higher.  I think it must be listed in a tourist guide as a ‘must-do’ type activity based on the number of people there.  Although it was tempting to cool off in the water, none of us were tempted to leap into it from several meters up!

Instead we headed back to the camp ground and the beach which runs alongside the estuary.  At high tide there’s a nice chunk of beach and a safe swimming area.  The kids mucked about on body boards and we ended up making a huge sand construction.  By we I mean me and the kids, whilst the other adults were relaxing in the sun.

We checked out the surf beach on Sunday morning, but only stayed for a quick play.  Ice cream was calling and we headed to town to treat the kids to a Kapiti Ice Cream tub and the adults to some nice coffees.

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My most fabulous wife got so fed-up with me huffing and puffing about not having a computer that she bought me a Mac Mini to replace it.  So I just set it all up last night properly having borrowed a monitor and went photo crazy!  I was up until after midnight getting reacquainted with my Bamboo Touchpad and ripped through our backlog of photos.

So here’s the first batch – in no sensible order I’m afraid.

These were from one of the rare nice weather days we had when Rob and Nat arrived at Christmas.  We headed up to our favourite beach Tawharanui.  Rob took his surf board and Emily had a new (pink) body board to play with.  Father Christmas had also bough Rob and Nat some water guns which stayed hidden for a while…

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