The call goes out for our annual Natural Ice curling fixture at Tekapo, a village at the end of an alpine lake. Although the lake hasn’t frozen sufficiently for a number of years, the local curling club is fortunate enough to have curling for most of the season. Artificial ice is available and supported throughout. When natural ice forms later in the winter however, several seasoned, passionate and dedicated outdoor curlers emerge to play, party and challenge anyone that dares, for the endurance of the ice. A purpose built curling rink was built by highly innovative and obsessed outdoor curlers in an ideal sheltered place on the edge of town...
White Water Rafting With Nephew.
‘White Water Rafting’ on the White Salmon River, was to be my destiny after I had agreed to accompany my nephew on a raft trip. A small 44 mile tributary of the lower Columbia, the White Salmon River begins its journey from the glaciers, snow melt and tarns of Mt Adams WA. From the mountain slopes through heavy bush and cleared farmland the very scenic and beautiful white salmon river, until 2011 supported a hydro electric dam constructed primarily to supply power to a paper mill. For environmental reasons The Condit Dam was decommissioned after 98 years of service with both direct and indirect loss of many jobs. However the destruction of the dam and Northwestern Lake provided white water rafting opportunities as I was to find out.
A Family Affair
Home ground at Randall’s Island
New York Rugby And Joe
‘New York Rugby Club’, ‘and we are playing at a tournament in Christchurch’, ‘Ali’, my friend replied. Our official rugby playing days behind us, but still reasonably fit, I inquire ‘who for’? when Ali asked if I felt like a game. A past New York Rugby Club coach and present mentor, ‘Geoff’,’ a New Zealander with US citizenship organised an oldies team to tour NZ on an exclusive world tour. However several members of the team named, ‘New York Vintage Whines’, apparently softened when they researched NZ rugby players and pulled out of the tour. Thus the invitation of a few NZers to the squad, including Ali and I and our wives. Given the broken bones, other injuries and serious hangovers sustained d...
Upsides of Winters gloom
Cows are dried off and on crops. Winters gloom is some what alleviated with any day of sunshine. Days are short providing more family time. Winter sport provides an opportunity to regain ones sanity and to socialize. Hunting and fishing opportunities are also an upside to winters gloom.
Curlers in particular, look forward to a period of settled weather for good ice to form to play our matches. Our two day national tournament, or bonspiel being weather dependent can only be contested when conditions allow, on occasions a lapse of several years occurs between events building enthusiasm even more...
Oldies Rugby and Appendicitis
Last game of the ‘oldies rugby’ tournament ends and the last social event begins. Loaded with a little alcohol, or should we call it ‘brain food’, my colleagues overwhelming advice regarding my condition prompted someone to arrange an appointment the next morning with the weekend emergency doctor. ‘ What can I do for you’? was the impersonal greeting. Still in acute pain I reply, ‘A bunch of knowledgeable people say I have appendicitis’.
Playing days behind this front rower
He stares directly to my eye. ‘Do they just, now let me see’...
We look for Sunshine in our Friends
Good and Not so Good Times Wash In and Out
Unexpected Impromptu Visit by Friends.
Unexpected impromptu visit by friends fulfilled our ‘blank minds’ over what will we do for Easter. Friends who we spent part of our life growing up with in another lifetime long past swung by our way over Easter, much to our surprise and delight. Meeting occasionally over the years through the odd family event, it appears while our careers were being established and our own families were growing up we were all too busy and preoccupied in our own worlds to interact the way we once did.
Conversation is easy and exciting catching up on past years, fishing trips, old school friends,and apart from grand children, broken family marriages, changes in health status and outrage...
Seasons Come and Seasons Go.
Seasons come and seasons go, summer swings into autumn bringing with it a whole array of alternate sports and activities. On a personal note, lawn bowls season comes to a close and none too soon, because feral stags and bucks have began their rut season exciting deer hunters throughout the country, who like me will put their summer sport behind them to indulge in the new seasons sporting activity, roar shooting.
Autumn also sees our Stewart Island hunting and fishing group busy packing and preparing for its thirty first annual trip that still boasts several of its inaugural members among others of all ages, who have joined the group over the years...
Wet and Happy in the Front Seat
Mans Best Friend.
It’s well known that a dog and its carer can become very attached, thus the old adage, mans best friend. Herman and I were no exception and were seldom apart. Instinctively, a very good cattle working dog, Herman responded to further training for other various activities including hunting and retrieving water fowl and ground birds, hunting and finding pigs and deer. He wasn’t quite as useful at fishing, but loved a trip out on the ocean none the less, enjoying the meal that followed as did everyone else. Cats, rats, ferrets, stoats, mice and kids ice-creams were all at peril if in the wrong place at the wrong time. In saying that, house or domestic cats were not on his list of things to do, although they often got the eye ball.
Whitebait Season These two Red Deer Stags Died an Unfortunate Death. Their skeletons found behind the ‘long drop’, antlers well and truly locked together .
Whitebait Season Beginning Early Spring
Fishermen and hut owners busy themselves bundling up supplies and materials ready for whitebait season beginning early spring on New Zealand‘s southern west coast. The occupants of around seven huts or dwellings of various styles, shapes and sizes converge on site with their supplies within a few days of each other to prepare for the on coming season.
Everything arrives by air, including fuel to run the generators, materials for repairs and maintenance on buildings and fishing structures, food and staples and of course sufficient beverage.
A very high rain fall and wild seas on an exposed coastlin...
Fallow Deer Have Become Well Established
Curiosity killed the cat
Although not endemic from where I am, Fallow Deer have become well established since their liberation 150 years ago. Fallow Deer are a beautiful looking animal that provide us with a nice nature balance in the bush, a great sport and excellent cuisine.
My own hunting block has traditionally supported red deer and pigs, but now that fallow deer have moved up the valley and made themselves at home is OK with me. Their numbers however are relatively low where they will hopefully remain in order to maintain an acceptable balance of fauna and flora in our forest.
The young deer are sometimes very inquisitive and ...
Salmon Fishing In Alaska.
For me, Salmon fishing in Alaska came to fruition when brother in law Ted arranged with friends and work colleagues in Juneau to put us up and introduce us to fishing in the basin. The scenery and setting in Juneau is stunning and when I hinted a look around town would be nice, the reply came, what do you want to do that for, lets go fishing.
A half hour cruise in two 18 foot skiffs or dinghies into part of Alaska’s inland waterways, we dropped our gear over the side and started trolling at various depths. Bait of sprats or herrings threaded onto hooks was simple but worked a treat...
Big Game Fishing In Warmer Waters
Big Game Fishing With My Old Friend
Big Game Fishing didn’t really occur to me until later in life when my friend Charlie, who after years of talking the sport up, finally convinced me to visit him in the northern parts and give it a try. Charlie who is an avid, almost obsessed hunter / fisherman, made all the arrangements and entered in a prestigious competition of which he is a regular contender.
The rules of Big Game Fishing competitions are technical and exact and trace lengths, breaking strains, knots etc. are my old friend’s expertise and were well checked and prepared. Thirty five kilometers out in the open ocean in a 7...
A Lawn Bowls Tournament In A Rural Town.
Lawn Bowls In A Rural Environment.
Memberships of lawn bowls clubs in our rural communities continues to diminish, as appears to be the case with some of our urban cousins. A major concern to the bowlers and their clubs regarding their longevity.
I am a member of a lawn bowling club at a small sea side village, whos’ membership has been seriously compromised, as older members pass on, they are not being replaced with youth, or anyone for that matter. As opposed to 30 years ago, lawn bowls is not attracting young folk as an alternative summer sport, possibly because there is a much larger variety of exciting sports and activities for them to take part in.
On the other hand bowls has its upside. Although the majority of the bowlers in our rural commun...
Whitebait elude the nets
Supplies Arrive on Beach
Whitebaiting In The Remoteness.
Whitebaiting tidal flows along with water temperatures may dictate when or even if the hatchling whitebait even make it to the river mouth.
Then the predators. Whitebait shoals entering a river are often followed by an array of sea dwelling fishes only to be met by many hungry fishes from the fresh water domain. Perhaps I should mention the super abundance and variety of bird life waiting anxiously for the arrival of this tasty tiny morsel.
Unfortunately for whitebait, on a seasonal basis only, humans are included in the food chain. We too have to eat, and very well I might add.
Whitebaiting is practiced on many of our rivers, sometimes attracting large numbers of fishermen. However I am ...
Hunting With Danni, Her First Hunt.
Hunting With Danni, or for that matter, any of my grandchildren and dog Mertle is a pleasurable outdoor activity enjoyed by all of us. Danni doesn’t shoot a high powered rifle at game yet, and maybe she won’t, but in the meantime she is having fun tagging along.
Our hunting block is but 40 minutes from home so during school holidays, if the weather is OK and work commitments allow we can be away at the drop of a hat. Danni is from the city and has spent most of her summer holidays with us on the farm so has developed a diverse awareness of sports and outdoor activities. Hunting is one of them.
The first hunt with Danni, 5:00 am start arrive at the hunting block just on dawn on a pleasant morning, prolific bird song gaining momentum, the nights he...
Poppy The Pigs Life On The Farm
Poppy became part of our lives one afternoon on our way home from a hunt. There ahead of us running aimlessly on an over grown track was an apparently lost and only a few days old wild piglet. Grandson Jack needed little coaxing in getting after it. Amazingly enough it didn’t fret at all and so adapted to domestic food,( any thing at all ) and the comfits of home all most immediately.
It was caught on Poppy Day, thus the name Poppy and being a baby spent the first month or so with the family, the cat and a dog who were quite disturbed by the ordeal...
Annual Fishing Trips
This annual fishing trip has been going for over 30 years. Some people change from time to time, but a core group have remained the same all of that time. Campsites differ as well as it adds to the adventure somewhat.
A charter boat is employed to deliver the fishing group along with their equipment, gear and apparatus required for 10 days in the bush and on the water. Simple food basics of course are packed, but generally speaking they live off the land and ocean.
Equipment includes a large array of fishing gear, dive gear, small boats and run a bouts, hunting equipment, cooking utensils, tents, covers, personal gear and refreshments, just in case.
In earlier days this annual fishing trip endured for 1 week, but over the years it was agreed 1 week was not enough, espe...
An age old sport, Outdoor curling appeals to many as an alternative or supplement to their other winter sports and activities.
Curling Outdoors is obviously weather dependent, so it can’t be assumed that ice will be available each and every year. This aspect of the game can be rather apprehensive as we watch and wait for the ice to form without comprehensive weather changes.
A typical scenario could be, a phone call from another curling club to our team selector with an invitation to join them in a curling match the day after tomorrow provided the weather continues to cooperate. Two rinks of four curlers ( this constitutes a club ), vehicles, curling stones and everything else appropriate is quickly organized ready for a 5am start the following morning to reach the ice rin...