Since arriving Back in NZ, I have been mostly still on the computer sorting out sponsors, writing up media releases for sponsors, trying to track down extra equipment I need at good prices (everything in NZ is about 2 and a half times the price of stuff in the States). And the big one is Trying to get my video camera over from the states, as I never managed to pick up before I left the USA and without it I have very little to record the beginnings of the adventure with.
However I have managed to get out and paddle most days, doing about 3-4 hours in the afternoons. It is quite pleasant to be back upon child hood waters, to see, smell and hear the familiar things of the northern New Zealand seas. The images I keep staring at as if in a dream, are often large sandy cliffs with Pohutukawa trees growing all over them, their roots and limbs haphazardly spreading out all over, while there matt Smokey olive green leaves provide a subtle background, which allows their Scarlett red flowers jump out at you visually from a 100 meters away.
Pohutukawa are called the New Zealand Christmas tree, and it is a real feel of Christmas they give any northern New Zealander when you walk about and there scarlet blooms are all over trees everywhere, Tree’s poking out from between buildings in the city, huge ones in the front yard of some houses, streets lined with them along their entirety and there sprawling dominance along any coastal area. Kids play in t them as there twisted limbs, often of huge proportions, make excellent Jungle Gyms to climb on, and where the stretch out over the ocean at high tide, they make awesome diving platforms to leap off. Pohutukawa are beautifully, uniquely NZ
All around me I hear the birds, the birds of New Zealand, Tui, Wood Pigeon Warbler, Fantail, Bell Bird, Wax eye, are the predominant native ones, while pied magpie, starling, and black bird are the introduced yet still very NZ birds. People often ask me over the years when I am away from NZ, If I miss it? I normally reply that I miss the sound of the birds, the clamorous ensemble of gentle and harsh sounds that make the unforgettably gorgeous talk of the Tui, the beating whoosh, whoosh, whoosh from the wings of the large white breasted emerald green wood pigeons as they fly through the tree’s, the shrilling, trilling ongoing overture of the Gray Warbler, the haunting tones of the bell bird as it feeds on flax flowers, the peeps and cheeps of a flock of tiny green wax eyes as they pass from tree to tree looking for flowers and bugs, and the high pitched peeping as singing of the Fantail as it fly’s acrobatics through the air catching the bugs one may disturb on a stroll through the tree’s, it’s over sized, literal, fan tail spreading and straitening to help steer. these are but some of the more common sounds from a land once only populated by birds, lizards, frogs, giant insects and three species of bats, the sound of the New Zealand forest (Bush).
The water I have been paddling is warm and a hazy aqua most of the time due to the tidal estuary nature of the area I paddle in most, though as soon as you get out of the Hauraki gulf, you get into the clear deep blue waters of the south pacific, with its rolling swell and white sand beaches. If you cross to the west you come to the deep green Tasman Sea, its cooler water and thunderous surf that pound’s upon predominantly black sand beaches. I have had little time to play in the surf so far unfortunately, but it will come, I need to make sure everything I need is well on its way of being fulfilled.
The expedition boats are being built and will be finished later next week; I will pick them up in Hawke Bay, when I head down to my family for Christmas. The video camera and dive housing will be coming over to NZ from Hawaii, with the cousin of a girl called Cori, from Alaska, who has been staying with me at my great friends ; Bruce and Louise’s, who thankfully have two spare rooms. Cori has been kayaking with me in hopes of joining part of the trip later with me, though either way she was planning on being in NZ, so we will see how it goes.
My transport problems have been solved thanks to my mate Yuji who has lent me His Subaru legacy, while he is in Japan for 2 months, and being a kayaker himself, it is kitted out with the needed roof racks. The deal worked perfectly I dropped Yuji at the airport the same morning Cori flew in from Australia. Yuji flew to Japan at 7am Cori got through customs at 8am.
The paddles from Lendal have been sent and will arrive hopefully in the next week or two, though we still need a good four season tent, flares, EPIRB, digital charts for my GPS, Spray skirts for the kayaks and FOOD ( this is a biggy, as over 4 months food will be the largest cost). Money is running low now for buying the extra gear and I am holding my breath for more sponsors to come through. We are still in discussion with a couple of companies, who in the next couple of weeks, will hopefully come through with something tangible.
I am also working on a fundraising project for our film project, as even after not quite having all the gear we need to get started, we still are short money to fully film and produce the story of this adventure. So for those of you who may be looking for away to be involved in this adventure and would like support us in helping share the experience, stay tuned for how in the coming week.
Again as always I am super thankful for friends and supporters, as with any thing in life, especially projects of this scale, nothing would happen if not for help from people who believe in what you are doing.