Day 382-384: Karamea, New Zealand

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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast » Karamea
February 12th 2010
Published: February 14th 2010
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Friday, February 12th

We woke before dawn, dragged from our deep sleep by the sound of our alarm clock. We dressed, brushed our teeth, then set off for Westport before the sun peaked over the hills surrounding Wangapeka Valley.

An hour and a half later we dropped the Boesman at the garage in Westport for a minor service and to get its WOF done. We had an hour and a half to kill and we were starving. We had burgers for breakfast then walked around the still sleeping town. Most of the businesses only opened after 9am, but luckily the Mitre 10 was open so we had a leisurely stroll through the shop. We got a foam roller to help apply the last layer of resin perfectly as well as a few more disposable brushes.

Back at the service centre we got the bad news that the Boesman had failed its WOF. It had a cracked gearbox mounting and one of the “cornering lights” didn’t work. We had no idea what a cornering light was but we had them order the bracket. It wasn’t too expensive, but we’ll have to come back next Wednesday to have it fitted and re-WOF-ed. They didn’t have an auto-electrician so we drove to another place to ask about the “cornering light”. The guy explained to us what it was and said they could fix it for us next Wednesday just before our appointment with the other garage.

We went by the local music shop and bought a beautiful new harmonica just like the one Paddy has. The one he gave us was fine to get us going, but we both felt (and it was suggested on the internet by the Harmonica professionals) that we needed a good one to make the learning process easier. Chuffed with our pretty new harmonica we filled up with diesel then headed back to Karamea. We took turns playing the harmonica as we drove. On the way we stopped at a spot by the rocky beach and took a few pictures of our new instrument.

Later, as we got close to the holiday park, we saw a familiar truck ahead of us. It was Paddy, and at the turnoff to the park he stopped and asked us to join him for a coffee at Saracens in town. We never say no to a cuppa with Paddy so we followed him into town. With a cuppa and a muffin in hand he gave us the good news. He’d spoken to the hospital and the scans of his stomach showed nothing abnormal; no growths, no ulcers, nothing! Even so, they’ll put a camera down his throat and check it out more thoroughly. He was immensely relieved, having spent the last six months fearing that he had stomach cancer or something equally horrible.

It was a beautiful sunny day, so after the cuppa we drove back to the park. Paddy took a look and fixed the faulty “cornering light” saving us at least $60 (probably more). When that was done it was time to take our canoe for her first taste of the water. The idea was to get a feel for the height and position of the seats. We carried the canoe out to our cabin, but to be honest, it’s bloody heavy! Paddy pulled his truck up and we loaded the canoe onto the roof and drove her down to the estuary.

We had also decided on a name for our canoe. Once Christened she’ll be known as “a Box o’ Birds”. This is a favourite saying of Paddy’s meaning “Happy and healthy and all things good”. She sat beautifully in the water and we took our first tentative paddle around the estuary, it being our first time using single paddles. We’re used to the double paddles on our kayaks, but using the single paddles wasn’t too hard to get used to. She’s more stable than any canoe or kayak we’ve used before and she sits only about 10cm deep when both of us are onboard. As we rowed we moved around trying to find the best height and position for the seats. The tide was going out rapidly and the water in the estuary is anything but clear. At one point we hit a few rock, scraping over the bottom with a horrible sound. We both cringed, but when we inspected her later we found that the rocks had barely made a mark. The resin is pretty strong! We are very very chuffed with our canoe.

With a successful first outing behind us we drove her back to the shed where we dried her off. We had a late lunch and then said goodbye to Paddy. After a spot of cleaning we enjoyed a few beers and some music in the sun. We had ordered a book and one of the new Nooma DVD’s and these arrived just before dinner time. We absolutely love the Nooma series (do yourself a favour and visit and couldn’t wait to watch this new one. We had dinner then watched a movie before hitting the hay.

Today’s highlights:
1. Getting our harmonica.
2. Good news about Paddy’s stomach.
3. Our first paddle in our canoe.
4. The arrival of our book and DVD.

Saturday, February 13th

We got up early to do our exercise, but there was a storm raging outside, the wind whipping the trees and shrubs around like we’ve not seen here before. We stayed indoors and watched the Nooma DVD. This one’s called “Corner” and deals with the question of why we end up feeling empty even after we’d gotten everything we dreamed of and about how, in an attempt to save someone else from suffering, we end up being saved. It was a beautiful message and we could totally relate to it. In an attempt to help John and Margaret we ended up being the ones who got the help. In an attempt to help Paddy, we are the ones who benefit daily from his knowledge and friendship. Isn’t it amazing how that works? When stop looking inwards and start looking outwards, beautiful things happen.

When the weather cleared a bit, we did the cleaning and had lunch. While watching a movie Paddy arrived with some cake. We had a cuppa and he said he was going to take his surf-ski to the ocean for a paddle. He’d gotten an old wood burning stove and Ferdi drove home with him to help unload it and pick up the ski while Talita made some tea in a flask and packed our swimming gear. We met at a spot by the beach near Little Wanganui where Paddy took the ski into the very choppy surf for a great few runs. He came out more alive than we’d seen him before, his eyes sparkling and a spring in his step. He was obviously very pleased with his runs.

Ferdi wanted to give it a go too, hoping (for some unknown reason) that he’d do better in the waves than on the flat water. The water was a bit cold, but all his attention was on not falling of the ski. No matter how hard he tried though, he just couldn’t stay on top once his feet were in the straps. After about 10mins he was exhausted and bruised, so we sat in the sand drinking tea and eating cookies.

Ferdi wanted to give it another go, so he went back out. This time he was marginally more successful, but nowhere near actual surfing. There are some things about Paddy ski that makes it very hard to surf:
1. He had removed the seat, so you sit on smooth fiberglass,
2. He had removed the seatbelt which is supposed to keep you in the seat.
Now, for a novice like Ferdi, it is near impossible to stay on top, because the moment he shifts his weight to try and maintain his balance, the ski pops out beneath his butt! Well, that’s the way Paddy learned to do it and that’s the way he’ll continue to do it. As for us, we’ll probably need the seat (and later the seatbelt) to be able to use it properly.

It was an exhilarating time and even Talita felt like giving it a go. In the end she decided against it, but promised to try it the next time we came out. We said goodbye and headed home where we finished watching the movie. Then Allen invited us for a few beers at Kevin and Caroline’s place, so with a beer in hand we joined them. If anyone had told us a year ago that we’d really enjoy spending time with old people we’d have said they’re crazy, but it turned out that we thoroughly enjoy their company. They’ve lived life and seen and done things we can only dream of. They see life differently and have wisdom that they are always keen to share. It’s a great place to learn about what really matters in life.

When they got ready for dinner we went to make our own, enjoying a yummy dinner of pumpkin, rice and peas. Back in our room we watched another movie before falling asleep.

Today’s highlights:
1. Trying the surf-ski in the ocean.
2. Sharing a few drinks with the old gang.

Sunday, February 14th

The morning dawned bright and sunny, so after our morning routine we set off to the Zig Zag track to test our new Pedometer. After four days of not doing our exercises, our time left something to be desired, but we did manage to get to the top without a rest. The last few days’ rain had created streams where there was none before and the track had obviously seen a lot of water. It wasn’t too muddy, but there was a lot more exposed rocks that made the going a bit tough in places. Back at the bottom we found that the round trip is only about 2.2km, but it’s a demanding 2.2km.

Back at home Ferdi did some blog work while Talita baked banana muffins with her new silicone muffin pan. While we were having lunch Paddy showed up. He asked how many months we had left in NZ. We said we could possibly have till 20 July (which is his birthday by the way) if we apply for the last of our possible visa extensions. His next question kinda caught us off guard. He asked if we were going to waste our last five months in NZ here in Karamea. His comment rocked us, because the LORD had spoken to Ferdi this very morning about moving on and now Paddy seemed to confirm that message. Thinking of leaving here fills us with great sadness. It has become home and we love the place and its people, but if the LORD says to leave, we leave.

Anyway, John had an old wood burning fireplace and said Paddy could have it. It was a very very heavy piece of iron so Ferdi went with Paddy to help him load it up. They man-handled it into the back of his truck, then drove to Paddy’s while Talita gave the floors in the facilities a sweep before packing our swimming gear and some tea. At Paddy’s they had their hands full unloading the monstrously heavy fireplace. They managed to get it unloaded, then loaded the surf-ski and drove to the surfing spot. Paddy had glued the seat back on the ski, so Ferdi had some hope of staying on this time.

When they arrived Talita was already there sunbathing. As Ferdi went in the weather closed in and a cold wind started blowing. He was oblivious of the cold and battled the waves with a much greater degree of success now that the ski didn’t slip out beneath him all the time. He even caught a wave and had a bit of surf! When he’d had enough Paddy went in, but he got pummeled and soon gave up.

We spent a few hours sitting in the sand chatting and having tea and snacks. We said goodbye and as we drove home we discussed what we are to do in the near future. Our obvious first priority is to get the seats in the canoe and get it done. We tentatively decided on leaving Karamea in a week’s time. That should give us enough time to get our act together. We still have no idea where we’ll go, but we’re sure the LORD will let us know.

Back home we had a shower and opened a bottle of wine. Happy Valentines Day Ferdi & Talita! We didn’t feel very happy. We felt sad, like it was all coming to an end. We know that’s not true, but it still felt like we have to leave our home and our friends and family all over again.

We didn’t feel like cooking so we went to Village hotel for dinner. We enjoyed Nachos and a delicious vegetarian cottage pie. Back home we watched a movie before calling it a night.

Today’s highlights:
1. Banana muffins beautifully baked in Talita’s new silicone pan.
2. A couple successful runs with the surf ski.
3. Delicious dinner.

Thought for the day:
How suddenly life can change!

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Ferdi taking on the seasFerdi taking on the seas
Ferdi taking on the seas

He cant even stay upright on flat water. What is he thinking going in there?

14th February 2010

I have been looking forward to seeing you both in the canoe. It looks great! Somehow I had the feeling that once the canoe was finished, you would see this as having reached a significant milestone, which would cause you to consider what was next. Change is always difficult, and having to leave such a wonderful community of new friends will be particularly difficult. I will continue to pray for the Lord's guidance as to what your next steps will be (Proverbs 3:5-6). When we visit NZ in the next couple of years, we will make a point of visiting Karamea, and the holiday park, and see the phone booth that you both worked so hard to refurbish. Hopefully, we will meet some of your friends, and maybe even you.
14th February 2010

Gongrats with your amazing canoe, well done! Next you will be ready to build an ark, like Noah's. Best of luck!
15th February 2010

Baie geluk!!
Baie geluk met jul kanoe-projek en uiteindelik is hy in die water! Kan julle maklik met die kanoe op die Boesman ry? In sterk wind en reen kan hy seker onderstebo le om nie vol te reen nie! Ons hoop ons is bevoorreg om self nog in hom te roei. Hoeveel kan inklim? Liefde. Ma
15th February 2010

I missed you up north, darn!
Ah gee, I just realise that I missed you guys when I was in the area. Now I remember that you are up in Karamea. Shame, completely slipped my mind :-( Great panorama shot - it is slowly becoming my new hobby. Which software are you using?
16th February 2010

Hey you two, We are also very impressed with the canoe. It looks great out on the water! ( we are also interested in how you get those panoramas looking so good!) Moving on after having such experiences and making great friends will be a hard thing to do, but we're looking forward to reading about your adventures round the rest of NZ in the Boesman and the box o' birds.
17th February 2010

I work with your mother and all your adventures are followed closely. It's wonderful to see her face light up when she speaks about you two. She really misses you and I think if it wasn't for the blog it would have been unbearable. I also love to see all the stuff you get up to, you are living a dream!!! All of the best and keep safe. Regards Esther

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