The curse/joy of camping, be it canvas or campervan, is that last minute thought as the light is turned off – ‘should I have gone for one last wee?’

I have recently heroically managed to quash this insistent little ear worm by asking myself: ‘can I hear a kiwi?’ And mentally repeating the call, male and female. Each gender calls for 12 calls exactly. The New Zealand way of counting sheep, and up until last night effective in not only supplanting bladder concerns but also promoting sleep.

Last night the tsunami struck. Of course it didn’t but the fear of the tsunami struck, which was, for me, last night, just as destructive. This is how it goes: gerroff gerroff gerroff gerroff gerroff gerroff gerroff gerroff ….. (female kiwi call, in my head). …. wonder if I’ll hear a kiwi, wonder if they’re round here, it’s quite flat and by the sea, wonder if they like it flat and by the sea. OMG! Flat and by the sea. And by New Zealand. We could have a tsunami….(we didn’t, which is why I’ve lived to tell the tale of the three strangers and free viagra).

Today is the tale of signs, mainly. The campsite, whilst lovely, was retro and the showers reminded me of school. I probably weigh two stone less than I did as a teenager, maybe more than that – I was plump – but I still don’t appreciate having a thin, small pvc curtain between me and the rest of the showerees, and particularly dislike having to dive into the central bench to retrieve clothes and modesty as there is no private changing area. So I rose and showered at 06.10. A man was launching a boat.

Along the road, there are high tech road repairs – the road had slipped down the hillside (this happens all the time). They may have been up to date enough to have traffic lights (with a working red/amber combo, not normally seen) but the technique of tamping the road surface down involved the men shuffling along in their boots. The laces weren’t tied.

Round here, public health uses rubbish bins to promote their anti drugs stance – how effective is this?

This sign, at Whangaroa, the infamous harbour where maoris massacred French soldiers (in response to atrocities carried out by them) is more explicit. Seems to involve a required action by the owner of any dog who passes a banana skin.

The harbour is the centre for ‘big game fishing’.

The club house is accordingly macho:

Tries to appeal to the softer side of the machos:

I’m not sure how much response this gets: (same notice board)

But at least they colour code the area where children will be safe with hopefully alcohol free carers:

Further round the Bay:

A plaque to be unveiled? Tempted to take cover off but resisted.

And what’s this? Not able to unwrap it but someone could not resist a sneaky peak (see bottom right)! *

Wild flowers beautiful once more:

The coffee was terrible, made from a packet, like cup-a- soup so a cafe in Manganoui touched the spot:

Yes!

Manganoui is on the edge of Doubtless Bay so-called as Captain Cook marked that there would ‘doubtless’ be a Bay there (as opposed to Doubtful Sound in Fjordland (quo vadis)). A calm town with much history it still has a real sense of community. These children were having fishing lessons this afternoon.

The harbour lies protected by at least three ‘pas’, ancient Maori homeland /defensive settlement areas:

What a useful thing to learn – to feed yourself! Again some of the children were without shoes.

Watch out on the roads:

One sign advised us to slow down: children/kids. There were indeed children and young goats round the next corner.

And this:

This van collects wrecks:

Well named van : the vulture. Typical wreck?

Plans to find an early campsite and relax were abandoned as we heard tales of green, clear waters, dolphins and other marine marvels on the Karikari peninsula. It threatened rain:

And did rain:

Three heavily tattooed (Maori style) men came ashore with a large hessian sack. Various stories: ‘there’s a good market for these’, ‘we’ve got an event’, ‘it’s FTP (feed the people), man!!!’

In the sack were Kina, a kind of sea urchin, that the three had been diving for.

‘ better than viagra, man’ shouted one as he opened one for my husband. Husband stepped back – ‘each one of these like a whole BOX of viagra, man’ he continues. Husband recoils.

‘I hardly eat these but even so, I got seven children, man,’ the oyster harvester continues. At which point his mate gets out an extremely sharp knife and, pointing it towards his lower abdomen, forces open the spiny shell to reveal a gelatinous black mass with some lurking orange streaks.

‘Eat it, man!’ So inexplicably we did. Two intelligent adults, about to travel across the world and trying to protect their stomachs, knowingly ate they knew not what that had come from they knew not where, supplied by they knew not who. Trust me, I’m a doctor.

We ‘ate’ two and were given six more. We managed to persuade some fellow freedom campers to take these. Although the wife did not look pleased, it seemed to bring a spring to the husband’s demeanour.

Our tea? Clearing out fridge so we had that world famous, non PC dish referred to as ‘one eyed egyptians’.

With creamed corn, frozen spinach and salad. If we have gippy tummies tomorrow I’m sure, absolutely sure, it will be due to the kina!

And so to sunset :

So greatly enjoyed that we did not notice the mosquito invasion. 😦

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