Posts Tagged ‘Beach’

Some photos from our weekend trip out west to the wild and beautiful Muriwai Beach

Poop pooop, all aboard the Lucy express

Genuine excitement at such a perfectly formed sandcastle

A sandcastle fed dedication and love

A sign that apparently in some languages translates as “Don’t give a fuck about the dunes, just let your progeny destroy them. While you’re at it, kill a few sea birds and empty some barrels of oil into the gannet colony”

She’s dangerous with a frisbee…

Nice shot Emily!

Apparently a seal

You know you’re kids have outgrown the park when they find new and unintended ways to use all the equipment

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Not to be confused with actual Taupo… the town next to the huge lake in central north island.  Taupo bay is due north and about 4 hours away.  It’s a small group of houses and bachs on a lovely crescent bay with no mobile reception.  The waves roll in and the sand is fine and golden.  Sunsets and sun rises have the potential to be oil paintings by over enthusiastic beginners.  Nature appears to not understand that too much saturation is a bit gaudy.  It just goes for it.

It was such a fantastic break, playing games and cards, walking on the beach, body boarding and eating and drinking.  I tried to surf our new kayak on some waves with about 1.5 metre faces.  Doesn’t sound much does it.  Pretty daunting when they are hurtling towards you.  I stuck to some of the bubbly white stuff at first and that was a hairy ride for a beginner but I managed to stay upright.  I got completely dumped by the second wave due to poor timing and indecision.  A lack of commitment here earns you a thumping.  I caught a few more then thought I heard a crack in the paddle.  On reflection it was probably just my nerve going.

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About six weeks ago we were having real trouble getting Lucy(5) into the sea. She wouldn’t go within five meters of the waves, even gentle ones. We could get her into the kayak if we carried her over the waves, but swimming just wasn’t working for her.

We made some fantastic progress, culminating this weekend in her swimming out to the pontoon, 30/40m, under her own steam (with her life jacket on). Once there she climbed out of water and proceeded to hurl herself off the platform, submerging every time, and shouting things like “Awesome!” and “Super Duper Real Fun!”.   

Finally she hurled herself off then swam under her own steam back to shore.

So how did this dramatic turnaround occur? Well the real answer is locked in the mysteries of a five year olds brain. 

When I think back there are a few things that I can point to that I think helped.

1) Persistence on our part.  The beach and the sea is a big part of our family life, so we were determined to find a solution and not just accept that she was scared of the water and give up the beach.

2) Small Steps. We took it a bit at a time, chipping away at each of the issues that we could perceive.

3) Talking.  Through lengthy conversations on the beach, watching the waves, we asked about what scared her.  A major break through was when she told us that she thought waves had sharks in them.  Goodness knows where she got that from, but it was a big piece of the puzzle.

4) Exposure.  We just kept taking her back to the sea. We set the target of swimming out to the pontoon as a family.  To start with I’d carry her as far as I could walk.  Then the next time I’d carry her then show her that her life jacket would support her.  Then she’d on back…  Gradually, increasing the exposure a little at a time, we chipped away at each of the worries until she had her confidence.  Then moved on.

5) Positive Reinforcement
After each achievement we’d layer on praise and tell her how awesome she was and what a big girl she was etc.

So, we have no idea what of these bits was critical and what I’ve missed.

We’re just delighted with the outcome because it means that we can enjoy our beach excursions as a family.

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I just noticed that we have a new follower on the blog.  Hello – you know who you are!

It’s prompted me into signing in and putting some new photos up.  Strangely enough the photos are from exactly the same walk as the last post in July.

It’s spring here now and the weather was glorious today, so we did some jobs then spent the afternoon walking to Brown’s Bay along the rocks.

This was the first real outing for my new camera.  I’ve replaced my trusty, but slightly older Canon 450d with a Canon 700d and 15-85 zoom lens.  In general it’s newer and better in a number of ways.  Most significantly it can capture video but that’s still to come.  Although the controls are virtually identical to my previous camera, it’s still taking a little bit to get used to.  the other one had really become part of my body and I could fly around the controls without looking in split seconds.

Anyway, here are a good selection of shots from the walk.

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Mummy’s Weekend Off

So it’s that time of year again for the annual mothers migration from the North Shore to Waiheke island.  So what does a dad do with his two lovely girls?

Sunday was mostly baking and pie making, but Saturday we made a trip out to the West coast with some lovely friends.  Despite being the end of Autumn turning into Winter, we were blessed with stunning sunny weather.  The kids mostly ran, jumped and generally haired around the beach like usual and didn’t seem to worry about their dwindling layers of clothes (removed as they got progressively wetter and wetter!)

It was a fab photography day thanks to the bright light, strong contrast, stunning location and brilliant subjects!

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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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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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Stevie went for a swim again this morning which was very successful.  Another 1km in blocks of 200m this time When he came back we decided to go and investigate another beach and we plumped for Muriwai (which is so close to sounding like Miramar that it gave me an excuse to prattle on in Top Gun lingo for hours).

Muriwai (pronounced Mur-i-why) is a beach and National Park on the West coast. Because it is on the West Coast, the sand is black, and it is a mecca for surf dudes. It is also home to a load of gannets (not just hungry Emily’s and Lucy’s but proper feathered types) and lots of para-gliders.

So we packed a scrummy picnic including Stevie’s homemade breadsticks and my homemade brownies, and jumped in the car for an exhausting 45 min drive! We are still ridiculously excited about being able to get to places so quickly here.

There were quite a few people at Muriwai today, by New Zealand standards. Not only are kids on 2 weeks holiday at the moment but the sun had his hat on and the surf was up “dude .” We had our picnic on the grass before throwing our shoes in the boot and strolling along the beach barefoot. Muriwai is a pretty dangerous beach. Swimming is not recommended as there are some significant rip tides apparently. You could see by the way the waves were coming in that it was a bit feisty and the sound of the crashing was immense, particularly under the cliffs where the blowhole was. There was also a load of green gunk floating around which we guessed was some kind of algae, but it didn’t seem to bother the surf dudes. I can comfortably say that we will not be kayaking in the sea for a few more weeks (certainly not without wetsuits) as the paddle-o-meter was reading “ooo it’s a bit nippy”. Anyway, we watched the surfers for a while, and the para-gliders, paddled, made running courses for Em on the sand etc and managed to find a new thing for her to get hung up on. This time it was the holes on the beach, probably from the evil sandflies. Anyway, she got obsessed by them and we heard about little else for 20 mins.

After running about on the beach dodging sandfly holes we put our shoes back on and made our way up the cliffs to the gannet colony. There were more birds than you could shake a stick at: all looking perfect and airbrushed, except for one which Em decided must have “not been paying attention and flown into a rock” because he had blood on him and was looking all grumpy with his beak tucked under his wing.

When the kids were equally grumpy we walked back down to the beach and took Lucy for a walk on the sand. She appears to like the feeling of sand beneath her toes and managed to avoid eating any. It was deeply moving with Steve and I holding a hand each helping our youngest navigate her way along the beach. It felt like she had come of age. Bit strange really as Emily did all this walking malarkey at the local shopping centre in York….. They are already having very different childhoods.

We eventually peeled ourselves away and headed home. I went for another really satisfying run and we all had showers to get rid of that cheeky black sand. After dinner Em announced with a yawn that is was time to go and “pat the sack” which I’m still chuckling about three hours later. Anyway, I must also go and pat the sack as the clocks changed last night and we lost an hour. So we are now 12 hrs ahead of the UK.

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