Tag Archives: Boating

Our Last Day in the UK

There was free parking provided in a carpark right next to the Chunnel entrance so we took advantage of that for our last night in France. We woke up early to see if we could get an earlier crossing in the Chunnel as our booking was for 10:55am. Gary and Dianne were ready early so we were off.

Free parking in Calais

When we checked in, we found that we could get on an 9:50 crossing so we were in.

The Chunnel train port

After checking underneath and see if any stowaways were hanging on as requested by the British border man, we headed off to Starbucks in the duty free pavilion until our time for boarding.

Driving onto the Train
Driving up to our spot Gary and Dianne in front

It was all really easy. After spending 20 minutes or so in the carriage inside Ralph, we were in Folkstone, UK and drove straight out onto the the motorway towards the Dartmouth Crossing.

A bit of traffic on the M25 around London slowed us down but by 2.30pm, we were in Milton Keynes picking up our suitcases from Ralphs home at Hireahymer.com.

The camp

After this, we followed the Gary’s  GPS settings to the Old Dairy Farm campground which is right by a canal. Just beautiful. A really small camp with about 15 powered sites on an old Farm.

Looking over towards Harry

We headed off in Ralph up to a pub about 3 k’s called the Three Locks Hotel which is as it says, right by 4 locks and by the canal.

A beautiful setting. We shouted Dianne and Gary  a meal out on our last night as a way of saying thank you for being in their hair for the previous month or so and being great tour guides, especially of their old home country of the Czech Republic. We wouldn’t have had the confidence to do it without you guys. Thanks heaps to you both.

We had a great night there. I think we were all pretty tired as starting out in France early and driving to where we were was all a bit hectic.

Water coming through the lock gates
Two narrow boats in the lock

It was a relatively early night but what a lovely spot to finish off the trip.

Through the hedge is the Canal

In the morning we were taking Ralph home and catching a coach to Heathrow Ibis for a night and then our flight home to NZ.

Shakespeare Country

While had the rental car we found that we weren’t really that far from Stratford on Avon so we’d do a trip up there for a look around.

Shops at Moreton on Marsh

On the way we stopped at a neat wee town called Moreton on Marsh and also had a walk around there.

Moreton  on marsh Hotel

We noticed one of the pubs there was doing specials around the Sky showing of the Lions V the All Blacks so we asked if we could watch the Americas Cup as a back up plan and they were very welcoming. We managed to get our Sky Go app and internet issues sorted so it wasn’t necessary but very kind of them.

Stratford on Avon was an amazing town. It was chocker with people having fun everywhere and again some more of those lovely old buildings. These looked even older but more Thatched roofs and from basic building practices.

The Canal was busy with a couple of Narrow boats set up as Ice cream shops doing a great trade. There were canal boats parked on the river and moving in all directions along with tour boats and a larger restaurant barge left while we were there.

We had a good wander up through the shopping streets to look at some of the old buildings.

The Oldest House

There is one house there that is said to the oldest house still lived in. Part of it has been turned into a museum. It is just great seeing all these towns and they’re all different.

A day out on the water

The Americas Cup was on and the stars all lined up for eldest son Drew  and Jenna to take us out on our old boat Rorqual. It was also Fiona’s birthday so it was a big day.

Click on an Image to see it enlarged

The good ship Rorqual

Other son Alex and wife Sarah, along with the grandsons Liam and Ayden were meeting us there too.

Alex and Ayden on the foredeck as we go under the bridge leaving Milford Creek.

We all boarded at Milford Marina and set off under the bridge down to the course off North Head.

Nice big boats from far off places.

After finding a hole amongst the huge spectator fleet and getting the anchor to settle we waited for the race to start.

Lots of people on boats with their flags.

There were boats everywhere and most had plenty of people on board too.

The Grandstand as far as the eye can see.

After a couple of start delays they were off. Its great being part of it but I’ve always thought from many years of covering these events from my old newspaper days, unless you’re on a boat following them down the course, you don’t tend to see very much of them as they’re usually so far away. As I say though, great to be part of it and nice to be out there soaking it all in.

Liam(with sausage), dad Alex behind and big brother Ayden.

There was one big boat behind us that were sitting out on their outside deck with the G&T’s watching it on a huge TV as well as seeing it from the boat.. the best of both worlds.

Click on the Gallery below to see a slideshow

Drew had set up his Ipad so we could get a reception on the boat and keep up with the play so that was really good too.

Spectator fleet

Lots of people were cooling off in the water off the back of their boats too. A real carnival atmosphere.

Cooling off

We had to catch the tide back at Milford and a restaurant in Milford was waiting for the birthday girl so we left early to head back but a great afternoon out soaking it all in.

Britannia leading the race

A great day out with all the family.

A Great Day Out

It was Classic Boat Riverhead Pub day and as it turned out a Reunion of sorts with lots of old friends I haven’t seen for a while. We were going up on Alan’s 28 ft Lanes Classic boat, Raindance.

Click on an Image to enlarge it.

Alan’s boat Raindance ready to go

Alan and I are both ex Launch Captains of the  Classic Yacht Association  so we had both done this trip many times before as part of that role and it was always a fun day out.

Alan picked me up from home about 8:30 and we were down at Bayswater Marina ready to go just before 9. The forecast was for showers and very little wind so the 13 or so other boats coming would be able to deal with this easily.

Off up to the pub

As Alan had organised this, I’d had a bit of a heads up on who was coming so I was looking forward to see some of the original people involved with the rebirth of the Classic Launches in Auckland.

Trinidad leading the charge behind us

We left in the sunshine to head under the harbour bridge and headed up a little beyond the Greenhithe Bridge where we were to meet up with all the other boats and at 10:15, we headed up in single file to the Pub. The departure time was crucial to give us the maximum eating / drinking / social time before the river lost its water with the tide.

Jason catching up. He led the way from here.
Jason and his crew at Herald Island

Jason  in his newly restored boat called My Girl caught up with us off Beachaven and we followed him up to the meeting point just past Herald Island. The other boats all seemed to arrive together and soon we were off to the pub.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I can remember a trip Alan and I did with the CYA where we had 30 plus boats and we had to leave room for the ferry.. there were boats everywhere.. This was going to be much easier with just 13 boats and there was no ferry to worry about.

From up by the pub.

Everybody anchored and tied up without any drama and it was up to the Marque to catchup with old friends. A few people I talked to asked me questions about Motorhomes ! .. seems we might have a few more ex boaties coming our way 🙂

Raindance in front with My girl behind

A great day but all good things have to come to an end and with the tide on its way out, it was time to dodge the showers back to Bayswater.

Alan driving on the way back.

It was an easy trip back with the chop building a little on the way and a few showers.

Back in the Marina

Check out Alans Blog at www.waitematawoodys.com

Everyone has a Jetty

Another one from 2018..

Over our boating years, both Alan and I have had some amazing moments in both Bon Accord harbour at Kawau and around Kawau so being  driven around on the ferry so we could have a good look with a commentary was a real treat.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Lidgards and Kawau Yacht club

Alan does one of the biggest, if not the biggest Wooden Boating Blogs around called Waitematawoodys.com and was on the Classic Yacht Association committee with me for several years.  We have been known to sneak away in Rafe for the odd boys trip which are always fun!

We left Rafe about 9:30 from the Sandspit Holiday Park and wandered along the road to the wharf to get our tickets and check in.  So after having a cuppa at the café on the wharf we set off about 10:30 for Kawau.

Mansion House

Being an Island and only accessible by boat, Kawau Island has only a handful of roads and a handful of vehicles.

His and Hers

Almost all the houses only have water only access and the way they’ve been built either on top of a hill with their own chairlifts (think electric Wheely Bin on a rail 🙂 ) with a jetty at the bottom or on the water. Some of them are amazing but I suspect most would be either baches, occupied by retired folk or who don’t have to commute.

Kawau Yacht Club

We were on the Royal Mail boat which started at Vivian Bay in the north and worked its way around to Bon Accord Harbour and Mansion House Bay and then down to South Cove where there was mail to be dropped off. On the way back to Mansion House Bay for lunch, we passed the Old Copper Mine.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Kawau was huge source of copper in the mid 1800’s with a community of around 300 related to the Mine and its output at its peak. By the 1800’s it all fizzled out and most of the miners moved on to the Gold Fields.

The remains of the Copper Mine

After a walk around the Mansion House and the coffee shop, we eventually made our way back to the ferry. It was nice barrelling along at 15 knots in the sun with a glass of Pinot Gris in hand.

Alan getting off the Ferry
Friendly Peacocks on the lawn

We walked back to Rafe in the Sandspit Holiday Park and prepared ourselves for a meal at Sandspit Yacht Club.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Right On The Water

Here’s another one from 2018… enjoy

They’ve had a lot of rain up here so the Sandspit Holiday Park crew suggested that we stick to one back from the water just to make sure we don’t sink!

Click on an Image for Hi res

Nice parking

My old boating friend Alan and I were in need of some time out of the house so we decided a few days before to check out the Sandspit Holiday Park and do a trip to Kawau on the ferry. Sounded like a plan thought I so off we went early on the Friday afternoon. It is only 42k’s from Auckland and with little traffic, we were there at 3.30pm.

Its a lovely little park with a lot of permanent Baches and Caravans but what a neat spot.

With an NZMCA discount, it was $23 each a night. With their very new Showers and Kitchens, its a delight to stay at. There are a whole bunch of older interesting buildings there too and Horace the Morris is a feature as well.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We stayed two nights with a ferry trip to Kawau in between. Lucky with the weather, after getting back from Kawau, we walked along to the newly setup restaurant on the top floor of the Sandspit Yacht Club and caught up with Motorhome friends Rob and Helen who live not far away from there.

The ferry a few minutes walk away.

The last time we were here, unbeknown to me, they had some issues with the drainage system for the bathrooms which used to be a real problem apparently in the height of summer.

The new Drainage system

This has all been upgraded and put up the hill out of the way and hasn’t been an issue since.  Nice friendly hosts who were happy to help with anything. ..

A shot from the ferry. You can see Rafe in the middle.

A great spot and handy to the Kawau ferry and the new Marina at Sandspit.

The Netspeed Speedtest for here.
Download: 7.34 Mbps
Upload: 2.10 Mbps
Ping: 23 ms
I think the tower was playing up a bit as we had some difficulty with the connection over the two nights.

Rafes Tracker Map

 

The Show must go on

This was first posted in Feb 2016 .. a special repost for lockdown!

After the torrential rain on Saturday morning, the organisers of the Rotoiti Classic boats decided to postpone it until Sunday.

For the last few years, Alan and I have jumped into Rafe and come down to see the great spectacle that is the Rotoiti Classic Boats Parade. For the last few years, we have also provided images to the society for their annual calendar. They’re a really friendly bunch and we’ve made some really good friendships with quite a few of them.

We left the camp early and after a quick breakfast, we took Rafe around to the top of the “viewing platform” which is a park and parking area just along the road from Okere Falls Store.

Rotoiti
Rafe overseeing things

We were welcomed by commodore Grant and past commodore Fraser down by the water and offered several options for possies to help with pictures and they couldn’t have been more helpful.

The crowd enjoying the Parade. Commentary boat on the right
The crowd enjoying the Parade. Commentary boat on the right

Alan took his from the back of the commentary boat while I set up in my nice comfy deck chair on the grass and sat right by the waters edge and shot from there.

Rotoiti
During the parade.. Alan on the back of the boat on the right.

Several hundred people materialised from everywhere quite quickly and made themselves comfortable on the grass.

Rotoiti

At 10:30, the whistle sounded and the first boats started the parade. From Rowing boats right through to big launches. All meticulously maintained and most with oodles of history.

As always, click on the images to see them in hi res and the slideshow below. 

A great spectacle. A nice weekend with some great people.

After the parade finished, the boats all headed over to the other side of the lake and enjoyed their annual picnic on the beach.
We headed for home after stopping briefly at Tirau for lunch.

Classic Cars and Boats

This was first posted in Feb 2016 .. had to repost it for lockdown!

The weather dealt to the Rotoiti Classic Boats parade today. It has been postponed until Sunday so this morning, we arranged to stay here another day.
Our friends Shawn and Kathy from Taupo arrived late yesterday from Taupo with their two children and despite the rain, people came out from under cover to admire their 1960 Dodge with their new Retro Chris Craft.

Shaun's replica Chris Craft
Shaun’s replica Chris Craft
Shawn and Kathys Dodge with onlookers in the rain
Shawn and Kathys Dodge with onlookers in the rain

Not long after that Tim and Pam arrived with their 2 door pillar less Chev Bel Air coupe with their custom made Miss Bel Air speed boat.

The 56 Chev with Miss BelAir
The 56 Chev with Miss BelAir

Russell Ward also arrived late with Steam Boat Romany and spent the morning getting her ready for the parade while kids were doing antics around with bikes in the rain.

The 56 Chev and the 1960 Dodge
The 56 Chev and the 1960 Dodge

This morning we were invited around to check out a boat Kereru that’s for sale so we went around in convoy in the Dodge and Chev and later to the Orere Point Store for lunch.

The store has a really nice outdoor area complete with a stage and has a great selection of food and wines.
One of the nice things about Lake Rotoiti and the boating setup here is their lakeside covered docks where they are used as vehicles to get about in. Backing out their boats just like the rest of us do with our cars. Fantastic.

The covered docks
The covered docks

The boat parade is on today so we are looking forward to that.

Drama on Milford Beach

This was first posted in Feb 2016 .. a special repost for lockdown!

I used to think that going to the local boat ramp for a couple of hours  on a Saturday afternoon was great entertainment.

Fiona and I walked down to Milford beach to watch some of the returning long weekend launches come back into Milford Marina in a 20 knot easterly coming up your backside. This is a real challenge as the entrance is quite narrow and with the surf, you can easily broach and head onto the rocks on either side of the entrance. Its not for the faint hearted.

Milford

Coastguard Arriving
Coastguard Arriving

As we crossed the bridge and walked down to the sand, I mentioned to Fiona that the mast we could see and the way it was bobbing around looked as though it was on the beach. As we got closer, there it was. I immediately rang Coastguard but they already knew about it and help was coming.
MilfordMilfordIt seems the poor chap misjudged the tide completely and was forced to turn around in the channel (almost impossible) and lost control and ended up on the beach. There were lost of volleyball players who volunteered to help in the water.  Coastguard arrived and towed them off with a jet powered rubber boat. A very lucky fellow and what a long day he had!

After that, we sat back and watched the boats come in on the easterly..   Everyone I saw did the return to Milford pretty well but what an afternoon of drama and action.

A night out at Rakino on the Whaler

The forecast was fantastic, no sign of any rain or wind so we were heading off from Milford to go to Rakino Island about 9k’s away. For those overseas readers, it is one of the furthest Islands out from Auckland behind Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands.

Click on any Image for Hi Res (Cell phone images)

Rorqual at the Marina berth shortly before we set off.

Rorqual was all ready to go and we were off. A quick call to the Bridge operators by son Andrew to open the bridge and we were on our way.


Andrew driving Rorqual out of Milford Marina.
Turn the volume up to hear that 400hp Turbo charged Detroit!

We had just got out a bit beyond Castor Bay when friend Greg Fenwick rang Andrew from his house up on the cliff watching us go by. He could hear distinctive roar from the Detroit as we went past from several k’s away 🙂 he sent us the video below! Thanks Greg

After that, we stopped off Rangitoto when we saw a whole heap of fish on the depth sounder complete with measurements and a smile on their faces 🙂 Given the lack of success there in catching anything, I’m sure they were poking their tongues out at us 🙂 I did get one really good bite but he got away!

We stopped again to try later off Rakino but same luck so we went on into Woody Bay into 3metres of water and had lunch and a glass of wine. Absolutely perfect day.

All settled in Woody Bay

Andrew saw some mates in at the beach in a fizz boat so he swam in to say hello.

Looking into the beach

Half an hour later after he’d just returned, my other son Alex came into the bay with a friend of his Sam on their identical Jet Skis. They had come around from Half Moon Bay which is by Pakuranga, probably about 10k’s or so.

The Jetskis
Alex refueling his Jetski

They were out for a fish but hadn’t had much luck, just like us… until we sat in 2-3 metres of water in the bay. We were just sitting there, having a drink and the rod just kept bringing them in. Andrew was filleting them and put them on a plate with soy sauce and wasabi. Fantastic. About 3 reasonable sized fish popped onto the plate during the afternoon 🙂 Yum!

L to R, Alex, Sam and Andrew. Sashimi in the middle

Later in the day, the time came for the boys to go with their Jetskis and try for a fish round the Rangitoto Channel.

The Boys setting off
On their way out
Tea is on

Andrew put the BBQ on and we settled down to listen to some good music. The Stereo is a monster with 3 amplifiers with a Subwoofer powered by a Solar backed 450 odd AH bank of House batteries so no danger of running out of anything!

Looking back to Auckland. North Shore in the distance

While we listening to the music, the bait runner ran again and this time, in came breakfast! Yippee!

End of a great day

After a nice bread crumbed pan fried Snapper and a cup of coffee, we tidied up the boat and got ready to head back to Milford Marina. A nice weekend and nice to see Alex and Sam come in too.

More information here on Rorqual.