Friday, February 24, 2006

Us on Pohara beach; the campsite was up a set of steps at the top of the beach! The camping experience was different this year as there were few tourists and mainly Kiwi families who come here every year for their holiday. They set up little 'villages' amongst themselves which are quite exclusive and they have their boats, kayaks etc. They also build fires on the beach and toast marshmallows on them after dark.
We did swim in the sea here which was not too cold but you'd have to go a long way out to get any great depth which is probably why it was warmish. Posted by Picasa

Totaranui beach, north Abel Tasman. Still can't get over the water or the true 'golden' nature of the beaches. We didn't walk as much of the Abel Tasman track as last year but enough to see some of the most stunning & beautiful sights. Posted by Picasa

Neil on Wharariki beach - amazing sand dunes that people 'surf' down, a seal colony (allegedly) and the coolest little, blue jellyfish. Incidentally, the 'London' top came from Hallensteins in NZ. Posted by Picasa

A sea lion on the beach at Fossil point, Farewell Spit. We wondered whether this was another sick creature (we have a habit of finding them) as it seemed irritated by flies and was thrashing itself around a bit. We approached slowly and then remembered that sea lions can run at a rate of knots and we shouldn't tempt it (apparantly if you get between it and the sea). Anyway, after a few minutes it headed down the beach for relief from the flies in the sea. Posted by Picasa

Where have we been?

I know it's been ages since we updated stuff & absolutely no excuse because it's been holidays and we've had copious amounts of time. We had a great holiday camping in Golden Bay; the weather was amazing apart from our arrival day when it torrentially rained and we thought we'd have to sleep in teh car because there was no way the tent was going up. Having abandoned the campsite for the pub, the rain ceased, the ground drained rapidly and on our return setting up camp was a more viable option.
We really didn't do a huge amount whilst away - unlike all the other trips we've taken in the last year. We visited Farewell Spit - a very long sandbank home to an amazing wildlife colony but didn't pursue the 4 hour birdwatching trip, we thought that might be a bit much!
We drove over to the northern end of the Abel Tasman national park (where we kayaked last year) and enjoyed the stunning beaches. Pictures obviously will describe this better...

Since our return we've said goodbye to Matt and Jo who are now settling themselves in Geelong, Melbourne, Oz and welcomed in the new academic year. The youth were itching to meet up again and hang out and God has been doing some great stuff with them over the summer. One example is with Dan who's 17 and a good rugby player. Last year he bust his cruciate ligaments in one knee and so was preparing for an operation. Some guys prayed for him when they were playing cricket one day and when he went for the surgery the ligaments were fine! The surgeons opened up his knee anyway because they've never seen anything like it but it really was fixed!!!

We went to see the Crusader's opening Super 14 rugby match of the season which was much fun due to huge orange sombreros (free when 4 bottles of Tui were purchased) and the fact we won! One bizarre thing is spending time with Helen and Paul; they work with Emma in the physio department of the hospital but Helen is also a friend of my sister, Katy's, and she stayed with them when she was here in Christchurch in December - it makes it feel like a slightly smaller world.

The most recent event was the visit of Mike & Paddy from The Order of Mission this last weekend. It was so good to see them and they were a real encouragement as well as bringing some necessary challenge. One thing we all appreciated was how much we laughed with them, even if we (probably Emma & I) were the brunt of the jokes much of the time! Paddy is one person who can get away with it however! We stayed in Rangiora for a couple of days and then stayed in a bach ('batch'/holiday home) in Akaroa for two days. The weather was incredible but the highlight was a harbour cruise where we not only saw hector's dolphins (the smallest dolphins in the world) but also an albatross, penguin, seals and two orca/killer whales. One whale had a dorsal fin about 6ft high! My photos of this experience are hopeless but Emma took a great video which may appear on their blog...

That's the summer in a nutshell! I'm getting fatter (only to be expected) and we're trying to encourage the baby to turn over at the moment. Also on the hunt for a new house as our landlady has sold ours (our instigation - we gave her three weeks notice so we could move to a bigger home unaware that the church had signed a 2 year fixed tenancy before we arrived! She didn't want to rent it out anymore so agreed to sell to release us which has happened sooner than we expected, a good thing as hopefully we'll be settled before our new arrival...).