Sunday 30 December 2018

Perfect Puriri Bay- Part 1


We said goodbye to our Whangarei family and carried on north, taking the Old Russell Road which winds and weaves it's way up and over high hills along the coast. The road is also mostly gravel. We're heading to a DOC camp on the north side of the Whangaruru Harbour.

After 40kms or so we take a side road that weaves down the length of the Whangaruru Peninsula, past some local real estate.....

....past popular Bland Bay on the ocean side...

...and then over a couple more hills where from a vantage point looking back, both sides of the peninsula can be seen.

Tuparehuia Bay on the left, Bland Bay on the right
Towards the end of the road we squeeze through a gate and across a cattlestop into the DOC reserve. Then it's along a narrow section of the road hoping we'll not meet anyone coming the other way, around a corner and there below us is our destination, Puriri Bay...

...the perfect campsite and a beautiful sheltered bay on the edge of the water. And what do you know, there are our friends, Jocelyn & Murray in their 5th-wheeler. We had briefly caught up with them at Uretiti DOC Camp so it was great to be able to spend some more time with them.

David inflated the Takacat dinghy and went fishing...

..with limited success for the first few days. He's been so used to lake fishing these past few years it took him awhile to get back into the swing. But that wasn't a problem because Murray is a (very) keen fisherman and is well known for regularly feeding the entire camp. He'd head out in his kayak early in the morning, usually as I was waiting for sunrise and on this morning, moon set at the same time...

...and he'd be home a couple of hours later with a full house.

Later in the day we might have a 'cook off', we decided both Murray & I make a mean Kokoda (raw fish salad) and Jocelyn makes excellent fish cakes. David just enjoyed the sampling! 

Within a few days, David got the hang of sea fishing again and started bringing home the bacon....I mean snapper...

A sign and a flimsy rope at the far end of the bay alerted us to the fact that there was one very large wasp nest hanging from an old pohutukawa tree on the foreshore. I gingerly crept up as far as I dared to take some photos before pest control arrived to take care of it.

Centre below the large epiphyte 
Thank God for long lens (click on the photo to enlarge)

A few days later pest control arrived covered from head to toe in bee suits and stuffed a thin pipe up into the nest over and over again. Afterwards a large cloud of powder hung around the nest and angry wasps swarmed about.

A couple of days later, with a little bit of trepidation, I approached the nest and was frightened out of my wits when hidden behind the tree trunk, three ducks lifted off from underneath quacking in alarm. They had been feasting on the dead wasps that had dropped out of the nest, how they handled the poison I'm not so sure. In this photo you can see some of the numerous entry points to the nest on the left.

Much of the outer shell had fallen to the ground exposing the many layers and cells of the nest. Isn't nature truly amazing, what a shame wasps are such a terrible pest. 

With the Labour holiday weekend approaching we were expecting quite a number of extra people arriving but we were pleasantly surprised at the lack of campers, most had a front row site and then there still a few gaps. The weather was one out of the box too; perhaps it was just a little bit too far to come for a long weekend.

During our time there, there were some amazing sunsets across the harbour...

This one had some strange black lines through the cloud

And then there were the sunrises including this unusual one.

To be continued... Part 2

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