Monday 16 September 2013

Hob Nail Boots & Fish For Dinner

This morning we were woken at the crack of dawn by the clean-up crew; a whole load of starlings wearing hob nail boots having a breakfast banquet on the roof two feet above our heads. I think they were feasting on the bugs & moths that were stuck to the nose of the fifth-wheeler. Whatever they were doing they were enjoying it & they were quite happy to let every other starling within a five mile radius know that there was a free breakfast at Rays as well!

Luckily we needed to be up & ready to watch the America's Cup anyway. And what a couple of races; despair at the loss & nail biting tension & screams of encouragement at the win. It felt kind of strange watching the America's Cup parked up in the middle of nowhere with the sea just out the door.

Once we got the racing out of the way I packed up lunch & we took a drive up the coast towards Clevedon to check out a couple of the Auckland Regional Parks. There are over 25 parks around the greater Auckland area & they are in some beautiful locations. Camping is allowed at a small fee & you can buy a pass that allows you to use any of them at most times of the year. I doubt very much whether a lot of Aucklanders realise that they have these wonderful facilities right on their door step.

Unfortunately with me not being able to walk too far at the moment we couldn't do any of the dozens of walks available but we had a little wander around the Ashby Homestead in Tapapakanga Park. James Ashby and his wife Rebecca settled on the land in 1899 & built the homestead beside the beach in 1900. They raised 14 children on the property, which remained in family ownership until 1990. The only way into the farm was by boat or horseback (no wonder there were 14 children, & poor Rebecca died at age 61, worn out no doubt, her husband at 88) The front room of the homestead was both a school room & the church.

Ashby Homestead
But what a beautiful view from the house up & down the coastline & across the water to the Coromandel Peninsula.

From the beach with a huge pohutukawa beside the house.
We carried onto Orere Point and had lunch near the water, it felt like summer it was such a lovely warm day. On the way home we did a bit of bird spotting & managed to see more non-natives than natives; a hawk stalking a turkey (who we think had chicks), a bald Eastern Rosella & two beautiful ring neck doves. All a little too far away to get any decent shots but still lovely to see.

Back home a few more vans & buses had arrived for the evening & David wandered down the beach to check on a guy putting a Seahorse kontiki out. After watching the guy bait it up and send it on it's way 3 kms out into the Firth of Thames he was invited back in half an hour to see what was pulled in. And pulled in were 9 good sized snapper, 2 of which were nicely filleted & handed over to David for our dinner! David & his charm wins again, maybe we don't need that dinghy after all! :) 

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