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Asia-DownUnder-A-Thon 2013!



  • CompleatCompleat Posts: 2,777 Captain
    I wish this site had a like button... I'd wear it out on this thread!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    Compleat wrote: »
    I wish this site had a like button... I'd wear it out on this thread!

    You'd LOVE this place! Grander Marlin, Stripeys well past 400 pounds....... and LOTS of seafood! Off to lunch and I'll post again later.
  • dpdashdpdash Posts: 5,359 Admiral
    Very cool again Gmon!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    Here's the NZ America's Cup racer being towed/assisted back into the nearby marina after a day of practice in the Hauraki Gulf, just outside Auckland Harbour. With no engine, they all have a small fleet of support boats to tow them in/out.


    We enjoyed a nice sunset from the patio the first night.........


    One of the many harbour cruise boats passing by the room....


    Yesterday morning (Sat) we woke up to a gorgeous day (as it is again on Sun morning as I write this). As NZ is below the Equator, the seasons are opposite to ours and March is late summer for them, but similar to our nice winters in south Florida. The Coasties here rely on lots of RIBs.........


    Saturday morning aroun 10-11am....... as you can see, it gets "busy" out on the harbour!


    "Fullers" is the main company for ferry boats, boat tours, etc throughout NZ. Here's yet another harbour tour departing.


    And boats of all types are ready for customers!


    At the grocery store the other day, I picked up some appropriate reading material!! I have done a few Dry Tortugas trips with Capt Yuri and last month I called him to book my fourth trip (for July of 2014!) and I told him about coming out to NZ. On his boat, he reads the same old Florida Sportsman mags so I told him that I would bring back a few NZ fishing mags for him to read! He seemed excited about that as he went on and on about the fishing in NZ and how much that he wishes that he could make it down here one day. My third Capt Yuri trip is this Sept, so I promised to bring him the mags then........ after I read them of course!

    The mag on the right shows us their "Snapper" and they are like a cross between our Porgy and Muttons. Hard fighters and great to eat! My largest so far is about a 12 pounder.


    Here's a 10 pounder that I caught on our bro-in-law Ian's boat four years ago.........


    Yesterday, we had some errands to run so off we went. Our place is right downtown which is very convenient. Here's the famous "Ferry Building" which is home base to a few restaurants and the ticket office for the many ferries that come and go all day long. It just had its 100th birthday! Nice weather??


    Here's a courtesy bus for Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium which is located on the harbour. The Kiwi sense of humor yet again!


    For crossing the streets downtown, they stop traffic going every direction and this allows people to cross the street in any direction, eliminating the need to cross the streets twice if need be! Very efficient and safer!


    We made a few stops downtown and Jenn took us to a local Belgian pub that she used to have lunch at when she first strted working downtown. It used to be the Occidental Hotel and the building dates back to 1818! Every trip to NZ, I have to check off the "Fish 'n Chips" box at least once so I had that for lunch!! Almost every meal for lunch or dinner comes with a salad. On a US visit many years ago, Jenn's folks had dinner out alone and when their salads showed up first, they waited for the main part of their dinner to come out too. And they waited and waited and waited....... because their waiter was waiting for them to finish their salads to bring out their meals! A bit of a learning curve for them as well as for me on my early trips out to NZ!


    The fish was "tarakihi" and we've caught them in the past here.....nice and mild. We laughed because we asked our French waitress what kind it was and she replied "Teriyaki"!


    Like any major downtown city, there is always some "interesting" people watching to be had!

    This lady was hard at work! Yes, that is a ballon hat on her head!


    And this one? I asked Jenn if Gene Simmons' new girlfriend was in town or was it Cher? :hairraiser I never saw the front of her/it and that may actually have been a good thing!


    Auckland is a major shipping port and Jenn's Dad was a longshoreman here for nearly 20 years. They called themselves "Wharfies". This ship is just departing.


    This dock bollard is near the Ferry Building........


    Here's the Auckland Hilton. Our building is just beyond that and it also used to be part of the Hilton. The two building were designed to look like a cruise ship as you can see here by the round porthole type windows, etc. It's not uncommon to have real cruise ships tied to this wharf as there was on the day we arrived.


    And here's the "bow" of our building from last evening.


    From the end of our building, we can look across to the village of Devonport, one of my favorites! The two "bumps" there are two dormant volcanos, of which there are 26 in the greater Auckland area! NZ is at the bottom of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The smaller of the two to the right is North Head and the other is Mount Victoria. In 2008, we drove up to the top of Mt Vic and I posted some fantastic shots of Auckland Harbour from up there. The large volcano in the distance is Rangitoto and it rises nearly 1,000 feet from the water. Ships that enter Auckland Harbour pass between Rangitoto and North Head to enter the harbour proper. The main base for the Royal NZ Navy is along that low building beyond the sailboat and you can see a few gray ships tied up there. The "navy" comprises just a few small ships now and when I asked someone why that was, the reply was, "Why have more? Who would ever want to attack us"? The Royal NZ Air Force now has zero offensive aircraft..... only transports and helicopters!


    Here are a bunch of tiny sailboats heading towards the harbour bridge...... most likely manned by kids! Auckland is "The City of Sails".....


    We had been invited over to Jenn's brother's place to visit and see their latest renovation house over the bridge on the north shore. The bridge was built in the late 50s but eventually it needed more lanes. They hired a Japanese company to add 4 more lanes on the outside of the bridge proper! These lanes are now called the "Nippon Clip-Ons" in true Kiwi humour! Thanks to Jenn for running us on the Clip-Ons to get this photo!


    Her brother's house has a wonderful view looking back to the bridge and part of downtown. Here you can see the bridge as well as the Sky Tower which is a hotel/casino, etc as well as having a revolving restaurant near the top...... much like the Seattle Space Needle has. I've been lucky enough to have had dinner and watched some great sun sets from both of those places! Also, well beyond the bridge is anothere dormant volcano, Mt Eden. From Jenn's folks' old house, we could see the top of Mt Eden as they lived in the suburb of Mt Eden. I have been to the top of that one a few times as well.


    They also look down on Little Shoal Bay.........


    Coming back across, we can see our building jutting out into the harbour, just to the right of the three towers.... Our room/balcony is in there somewhere!


    Downtown, the Sky Tower, Mt Eden and Westhaven Marina......


    Westhaven Marina....... did I mention that Auckland is known as "The City of Sails"?


    We parked the car back at the hotel/apartment and walked back over to the Ferry Building where we had a family dinner with eight of us eating at "Botswana" restaurant. This was unfortunately the first reunion with all of us since both of the folks passed away in 2009 & 2010. It's definetely different not staying in the old house in Mt Eden and going out on "Caspar" with the folks.......

    The good news last night was that our bro-in-law, Ian will try to organize a fishing trip for the end of this week aboard his 21 foot boat "Ascendo Tuum" which basically means "Up Yours"!! I'm keeping my fingers crrossed that this great weather will hold until then.......

  • Bimini DreamBimini Dream Posts: 407 Deckhand
    What an outstanding thread
    A Part Of Paradise
  • copout@castaways[email protected] Posts: 5,779 Admiral
    Awesome Gary! Keep it coming.
  • heatzheatz Posts: 104 Officer
    Great thread. What is the price of "petrol" ?
  • GT FishGT Fish Posts: 9,448 Officer
    Sweet! Keep the pics rolling! Good luck fishing!
  • snookyjsnookyj Posts: 1,687 Officer
    Love it Gary...keep it coming!!!
  • VenturesomeVenturesome Posts: 1,743 Officer
    wow, just catching up on this while on our utah ski trip. excellent thread. i gotta get over to that part of the world
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    wow, just catching up on this while on our utah ski trip. excellent thread. i gotta get over to that part of the world

    I figured that you'd stumble onto this thread eventually!!

    Don't know if you've ever been on an A-380, but to access the "Flight Deck" the pilots have to go up 4 steps and the Capt & F/O have their own door!! We were doing .83 mach on the way to AKL and I was amazed at how little "wind" noise there was from outside....... it was very quiet in the cabin. We had a gorgeous Emirates F/A that was handing out free gifts and toys to the kids in the row in front of us and I leaned over to Jenn and quietly asked, "Is she going to give us some adult toys as well"? :grin
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    heatz wrote: »
    Great thread. What is the price of "petrol" ?

    We were talking about that last night and it's tough for me to figure because they use liters vs gallons and then there is the exchange rate for the $$ but it's always been about 1-2$ more per US gallon than what we pay...... give or take a buck...... We are driving a Toyota Rav4 and it seems "big" everywhere we go. Cars are just a bit smaller here. Gas is about $2.20/liter in NZ dollars if you want to play with the figures.....

    Oh yeah, we plugged in the address to Jenn's best friend's house last night as we went over there for our standard bar-b-que with their family and the small Garmin GPS in our rental car was giving us directions in a cute, female Kiwi accent!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    Okay, back to Photo Time!

    It's 0845 on Monday as I write this and the alarm went off at 0645 so that I could run down to the end of the building here to see the Queen Mary 2 enter the harbour. I had perfect timing with pics to follow.

    Yesterday was a "Do as little as possible day" as Jenn may have accidently drank some local Singapore water a few days earlier! :cry

    But around lunch time we decided to walk over to a few cafes to see about bringing some lunch back to the room. Another incredibly gorgeous day and since it was Sunday, we had this monster tied up right downtown!


    I'm guessing that this small ship rafted up might be a fuel barge........


    This is a former NZ America's Cup racer on display just outside the NZ Maritime Museum which is just down the wharf from our room.


    On Saturday, our first full day here, we heard a ship's bell loudly go "Clang clang"! I told Jenn "If I remember correctly, the Museum rings that bell twice each day right at noon and I think that they also fire a small cannon out towards the water".................... and about 2.5 seconds after I said that comes a very loud BOOM from the cannon!! Even when you know it's coming it still makes you jump!

    Looking left from our balconey, is the back of the Museum and where the cannons fires........ which is why it's so LOUD to us when they fire it! :hairraiser


    Back at the room, I snapped a few shots of some of the local boats that passed nearby the room. This is the steam tug, William C. Daldy and she's tied up right across from our building and is part of the Maritime Museum. 127 feet long, she was built in Scotland in 1935. It took her three months to make the passage from Scotland to NZ! Read more here about this work horse of a boat with a long history in Auckland!



    Here's the "Liberator" swinging by our building....... the single diesel slowly going "chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug"........ It gave me visions of a long slow cruise down through the Bahamas island chain as she looks very well set up! Note the Daldy in the background.........


    This "Rayglass" is pretty upscale as far as private NZ fishing boats go. They have lots of I/Os down here and any boat over about 20-22 feet is "big"! I have no clue what that stainless, U-shaped thing is on the stern excpet maybe to mount/hold an inflatable.......


    Here's a "Sea-Link" car/passenger ferry heading out across the harbour. It's an "on/off" ferry where you drive your car on one end and at the destination, you just drive straight off the other end of the boat! We'll be on one of these later today when we make the 20 mile run over to Waiheke Island which will be our "home" for the next 4 days/nights!


    In case you haven't noticed, almost all NZ fishing boats have enclosed helm areas or at least full windshields. Very few center consoles over here. Why? Because the water is always cold and 2-4 foot seas are considered "calm" down here! This is probably a 16 footer and that's pretty typical in NZ as well........ most likley made of aluminum too which is also very popular.......


    Late in the afternoon, we drove over to Jenn's best friend's house and she drove the long way, along the waterfront. It's common for many boats to be tied to bouys as not everyone can afford a boat slip in a marina. So, folks will take their tiny inflatables out to their boats, tie the inflatable off to the bouy where it will wait until they come back. In this photo, off to the right, you can see the bridge where Jenn's Dad had to pass under during lower tides in his old boat "Caspar" in order to get to his marina "The Outboat Boating Club of Auckland"....... or, just "OBC".


    And here we see the OBC which has been arounds for decades....... the floating docks in the background.


    We had a nice view of Rangitoto with North Head off to the left as well........


    Her friends Julie and Marty have a house that is not uncommon in NZ in that it is located behind another house and only accessible by a driveway alongside the front house. They used to live in the front house while building their new house in back!


    We had a fantastic meal/feast last night and early on I opened up my laptop and showed Marty and their son George (19) some photos of my last Capt Yuri, Dry Tortugas trip! :hail

    After dinner, Marty turns to me and says, "While you guys are over on Waiheke, perhaps George and I can swing by in our boat one morning and take you out fishing"! With a potential fishing trip also planned with our bro-in-law Ian, this might end up being too good to be true if I get to go fishing twice! I'll keep my fingers crossed! :crossed

    We knew that the huge (150,000 tons!) ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2 was due to dock up in Auckland this morning before 8am so I crawled out of the warm bed at 0645 and made my way out to see if I could catch her coming into port.

    Bingo! Right as dawn was breaking! She is on a Sydney-NZ-Sydney trip where she'll stop at 5 places in NZ, going over the top of NZ and ending up going around the bottom of NZ on her way back to Sydney. She's on a long, round-the-world cruise......


    I was hoping that she'd tie up where the Carnival ship did where she'd be almost on top of our building, but I think that she's too long for that wharf......



    We're now packing up to move on to Waiheke Island but we'll do a side trip to Ardmore Airfield to check in with the warbird restoration guys and see what's new there this year first!

    We've decided to book in for four more night here at the Prince's Wharf Apartments at the end of the week and cancel the bed-n-breakfast up at Mt Eden and the apartment manager lady here said that she'll try to upgrade us into a nicer room when we check back in on Friday!! :spin More fingers being crossed!
  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 8,916 Admiral
    Thanks for sharing this. It is great.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • Capt KurtCapt Kurt Posts: 410 Deckhand
    Nice trip Gary. Congrats to your wife with nice career...
    visit Pure Pilates in Fort Lauderdale - http://www.pure-pilates.net
  • testerman28testerman28 Posts: 1,329 Officer
    great report! when we flew into Australia I was watching the tail cam.. (which is not good for your heart in bad weather!) amazing how those planes can come in catty-whompus and snap straight before touch down..
    have a great time and give her two teaspoons of cod liver oil it will straiten her out! :)
  • dolfanjoeydolfanjoey Posts: 1,174 Officer
  • dpdashdpdash Posts: 5,359 Admiral
    G, how are the limits for fishing down there for recreational anglers? Tight? Reasonable?
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    dpdash wrote: »
    G, how are the limits for fishing down there for recreational anglers? Tight? Reasonable?

    They are very strict with size and quantity limits but they seem reasonable to me. For their "snapper" I think that it's a minimum length of 27 centimeters which looks around 11 inches.

    When I showed my Tortugas pics to Marty and his son the other night, they were amazed at how many species we caught! Here. you'll catch their snapper on the bottom and maybe one or two other species on most days. Over the years I have caught lots of snapper, some terikihi, kawai (like a bonefish on steroids but not good to eat), John Dory (excellent to eat) and their "kingfish" which is a Pacific Yellowtail........ think AJ with a yellowish tail but better to eat.

    Because most fisherguys do not have "fancy" boats like we have, most fishing is done close to shore, in bays, around islands, etc. Only the charter boats go offshore for trolling. Ian's boat is pretty fancy for most New Zealanders. Over the years, I have actually seen a few Grady-Whites here and one 24 footer was a "charter boat"!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    One thing that they all do is to stick a freshly caught snapper with an "iki stick" before it goes in the box.


    They say that this kills the fish right away and makes for better tasting fillets. You can buy fancy ones like this photo (a NZ Snapper too) but some guys just use a highly sharpened round piece of wood/dowel, as Ian does......

    The Marine Forecast over here for Friday looks pretty good so I have all 10 fingers crossed. Marty will not be able to take me out after all...... so it's up to Ian right now!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    Okay! We've made the journey over to the great little island of Waiheke (why-hicky). But on our way to the Half Moon Bay ferry dock, we had our usual visit to one of my favorite places, Ardmore Airfield which is about 20 miles south of Auckland. Kiws are vey big on old airplanes and they love the old warbirds the most. At Ardmore are two professional restoration hangers that specialize in taking wrecks and returning them back to the air for customers around the world.

    First stop was AvSpecs and these guys are always happy to have visitors and will answer all your questions. Currently, they are restoring a WW 2 Spitfire Mark 14 with its 2,000 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, the same engine that powers the P-51 Mustang. Here's the Spitfire......


    While talking to the guy, he mentioned, "A two-seat Spitfire should be landing here in a few minutes if you want to go out back and watch her come in"! :hail I soon saw the Spit in the landing pattern and it was soon shutting down just yards in front of me! An old guy had bought a 30-minute ride (about $2,000!) but the look on his face was priceless!



    I later told the plane's pilot, "To the rest of us pilots around the world, you are one lucky ****"!! And he just laughed!

    We stopped for a quick bite of lunch and made it with plenty of time to the ferry dock which is adjacent to a marina.

    Here's the "Hauraki Gulf" and it's about 50 miles from Auckland out to Great Barrier island and about 20 out to Waiheke which is at the bottom of this map. We are staying just outside "Oneroa".


    At lunch yesterday, they had a nicely framed map of Waiheke and we are going to buy a copy and have it framed back home since we love this little island so much. I have caught all four of the types of fish on the map as well! Oneroa and its bay/beach is located on the top of the island and near the far left. It looks straight north out to Little Barrier and Great Barrier.


    The ride over to Waiheke on the Sea Link car ferry was one of the "nicest" boat rides I've ever been on! The weather was fantastic, the boat was stable and quiet and the scenery was just amazing! Jenn and I were alone on the upper/open deck near the helm.


    It was low tide when we left so this guy's fishing was limited! That's Mt Wellington (another of the 26 dormant volcanos in this area) in the background.



    Here's the marina next door and here you can see the poles that make up a breakwater as well as seeing how much tide rise/fall they have! The downtown ferries are for people only.


    The boats that were tied to bouys were giving off "wakes" which told me that the incoming tide was pretty fierce! These guys rode their bikes out to fish but as you can see, with a fast incoming tide, they probably are down to their last few minutes!!


    A nice view of Rangitoto which is an Auckland icon........ It is nearly 1,000 feet high and the island is almost perfectly round.


    Here, we are "departing" and if you can see it, the channel marker that will pass to starboard is a red one, so over here, it's "Red left return" as they are opposite to us!


    We rounded "Musick Point" which was named after famed Pan American pilot, Capt. Ed Musick. Musick made the first US flight into NZ in the 1930s in a Pan Am seaplane, landing right in Auckland Harbour. He became a celebrity in NZ and his flights in and out were viewed by thousands along the harbour shoreline. Unfortunately, his plane exploded in flight during a Samoa-Auckland flight and all were killed in the late 30s. This point was named after him. You can see a white building here that was a military radio station that was used during WW 2.


    Auckland in the distance with the Sky Tower easily seen.


    Approaching Waiheke and "Kennedy Point" where we will offload. Total trip time was 45 minutes.


    We made our way up to our "unit" here at Watermark Holiday Studios where Jenn had us booked in for four nights. These roads and driveways can be STEEP! Our unit is the one on the right, downstairs. It has a kitchenette, TV that has yet to be turned on and natural wood floors. No AC but with temps around 60 at night it's no problem.


    How's the view from our room? Off in the distance is Little Barrier island. Coffee/tea in the mornings out here, docktails and snacks in the evenings!!


    Waiheke is very Eco-Friendly and most places have their own sewer system, water cisterns, sky-lights, etc. Jenn called out "You might want to take a pic of this for the guys"! She wanted to know why condoms were listed first!! :huh


    They are having a bit of a drought (which is why the weather has been incredible) so we were asked to keep shower water usage to a minimum. Not a problem.

    Since we had checked in around 5:15, we had a quick Happy Hour and then drove down into the village of Oneroa for dinner which we enjoyed at The Oyster Inn. Our game plan for the next day (yesterday) was NOTHING! We are here for four days of just relaxing..........
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    Sorry for the delay in my reports........ lots have been happening!

    On Tuesday, our first full day on Waiheke, we decided to walk the half mile down into Oneroa. Seeing as how this was mostly downhill, it went quickly! Got some great shots along the way and we enjoyed yet another Ministry of Tourism Brochure day!

    Looking down on Oneroa Bay from our unit.....


    Making our way down the hill......


    Looking back at Little Oneroa Beach and the homes above on the bluff....


    Did I mention the large tides here?



    Ugggghhhhhhh it was "easy" coming down this hill but we knew that we'd have to walk back up it later!


    This lady is about to swim out to one of those sailboats and I found out later just how COLD that water is! :hairraiser


    The main beach and "downtown" Oneroa!


    Looking back to Great Barrier Island in the distance.


    Had lunch at "Vino Vino" and this was the view from our table......


    Another nice view overlooking the outside patio there...


    I had the Lamb & Steak Burger and Jenn had the Fish 'n Chips (red cod).


    We're going to buy a copy of that map of Waiheke on the wall behind us!!


    Another view from Vino Vino......


    This is a pretty big boat to be "beached" and we'll see him again later.....


    Downtown Oneroa! We had four great dinners at three restaurants here!!


    We made the arduous walk back up, up, up the hill to our unit and "someone" suggested that we buy some snacks, waters, etc while in town first! After a nice Patio Happy Hour, we had a great dinner at the only Italian place in town........ but this time we drove!! A great and relaxing first full day on the island!! For the next day, Weds, it was going to be "Road Trip" day!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    Road Trip Day around Waiheke was to include lunch at a "winery" but Jenn's shoulder was acting up from an injury way back in her teens so she had a massage booked in the middle of the day. This meant a shorter trip so we decided to drive out to the beachfront tiny village of Onetangi (Oh-nee-tangy) for lunch. Made the winding, 8km drive down and did a quick drive along the beach first. Took this photo for Dpdash to answer his questions about size and bag limits....


    Nice, long beach....... It's very common here for guys to launch their trailer boats right off a beach like this.......


    We saw one of these boats at the Auckland Boat Show about 6-8 years ago and they obviously have caught on as we saw about 6-7 of them on Waiheke! They are about 10-12 feet long and they have a small engine that drives the rear wheels, then when they are floating, they crank up the outboard, retract the "landing gear" much like a plane and take off fishing! The nose gear retract forward and up and the two in the back retract up and flat onto the transom! I think that they'll do 8-10mph on land and well over 20+ knots on the water depending on engine size! Very ingenious!


    Stopped at Charley Farley's on the beach as we have enjoyed that place in the past. That's Jenn in the blue under the sign. Close enough to the beach? :grin


    There is a lot of outdoor dining like this in NZ...... Yes, the blond in the green shorts was very good looking! :blowkiss


    Jenn got the ribs and I had the fish 'n chips, but this is the type of batter that I don't care for. Not the best lunch so far. Jenn's ribs were pretty good though.


    Had dinner that night at the local Italian and luckily it was owned by Italians that knew how to make a proper pizza! With another massage booked for Jenn the next day we knew that if we were going to visit a winery for lunch that we'd better make our plans since Thurs was our last full day on Waiheke!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    Okay, Winery Day was finally upon us. What had been going on in the background for the previous 3-4 days was the planning of a potential fishing trip for Friday for myself and Jenn's brother, Grant, on our bro-in-law's boat for Friday! The weather was looking good and we had our fingers crossed!

    On the way out to the Italian winery that had been in the Italian family for four generations, I had Jenn pull into a gas station as they ALL have at least some fishing tackle! Being old fashioned and pretty set in my ways, I like to rig my bottom rigs as I do back home. Here, they use a lot of multi-hook rigs and more terminal tackle that we/I normally use. Yeah, I'm fussy..... Picked up some hooks, 30lb for leader, swivels and some weights. On the way to the gas station we saw yet another indication of the tidal flow here.


    But this one really took the cake! Yes, in 6 hours, this boat will be floating! :hairraiser


    Making our way up over the steep hills to the one road that runs down to the winery, we saw one of only 60 Million of these in NZ! Baaaaaaaaaaaa........ Notice the steep terrain.


    For the last 2 miles or so, we were on a gravel road. New Zealanders called them "metal roads" and I have yet to find anyone that can explain that to me! We were glad that we had rented the Rav4 on this road.....


    It's also common to run across one-lane bridges that run over small creeks, etc. First come, first serve on who crosses first!


    Okay, we need some explanation here! As we drove down the 2 mile "metal" road, we came across 4-5 items of "art work" that left us looking like this----> :huh This one was absolutely hilarious though and Jenn stopped so that I could take this photo!


    We also saw a tall pole with a hand on it, a perfectly round 5-foot high pyramid of rocks, a pair of coveralls with "I am" and "Am I" on a fence and a few other bizarre things. Soon after we got to the winery, I asked the manager about all the weird "art work" and he told us that there are two guys in the valley that sort of have this unofficial competition going on to "outdo" each other! More of that Kiwi sense of humour! :rotflmao

    There's Jenn sitting at our table..........


    And the view from the private garden of the winery......... That is not a road running left/right but the top of the netting over the grape vines.


    We had a lunch of tomatoes and homemade mozzarella cheese with homemade bread and olive oil, ravioli that was stuffed with beets & feta cheese with tomato sauce over it. Very good!

    On the ride back, we stopped for this nice photo looking back toward Auckland. The scruffy green bushes in the foreground would be an easy way to torture someone as it was like stiff needles that were razor sharp! Yikes! Don't fall in there! :nono That's Oneroa Beach and way off in the distance to the left of center, is good ol' Rangitoto!


    Looking the other way from the same picnic table that I was standing on...........


    We took a drive past Oneroa and down to the Ferry Terminal at Matiatia Harbour to check on the ferry schedules as for me to go fishing the next day was going to mean some "creative" transportation to make it happen! Up above the other side of Oneroa Beach, we saw a guy boarding that stranded sailboat that I had mentioned earlier...... Yeah, something "wrong" here and I felt bad for him........


    Looking back towards Oneroa and off in the distance, somewhere is our unit/apartment.


    Went back Vino Vino but for dinner this time as it would be our last dinner on the island. Jenn had Surf 'n Turf with a steak and two prawns and I had the NZ Rack of Lamb. We started off with an "appie" which is Kiwi slang for an "appetizer" and that was Scallops in Hell which was some awesome scallops on a spicy risotto base that we nearly fought over it was so good! Our mains were awesome and we like to "mix 'n match" with each other with nice meals like this........ Oh yeah! That "Matiatia Malt Beer" was like Guiness Stout in its smooth taste but like a Kalik Gold in alcohol content at 7.2%! :dance I wonder if my local ABC Liquor carries it? :crossed


    Went back to the unit/room and I set an 0720 wake-up call since the next day (Friday) I had a "mission" and that was to be going out fishing off the west coast of New Zealand!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    It's currently Sunday evening (8:45pm) and it's quiet here so with a cold Stella Artois or two, I'm banging out some reports to get a bit caught up! And this day's report is a Fishing Report..... finally! But, it'll be in two parts..... just too many pics for one report!

    On Friday morning, it took some "coordination" to pull off this fishing trip but we accomplished our mission in fine form! We would be meeting up with our bro-in-law, Ian at his house on the Mankau Harbour, to the west of Auckland. We would exit the harbour and then fish off the west coast, actually in the Tasman Sea! That little spit of a peninsula that sticks out under "Auckland" and into the Manakau Harbour is Cornwallis where Ian lives and where we would be departing from. You can also see Waiheke Island and Oneroa on the map.


    But first, I had to make the journey off Waiheke, back to Auckland, get picked up by Jenn's younger brother Grant, then make the long drive out to the tiny, tiny village of Cornwallis to Ian and Jenn's sister's house! Packed up and Jenn got me to the 9am ferry back to Auckland. Jenn went back to the unit/room and finished packing as she had her own 11am appointment back to Auckland on the SeaLink car ferry that same morning!

    Here's my "ride" coming into Matiatia Harbour!


    She's a big cat!


    Passengers and cargo on these! I took up a spot on the upper/outside deck........


    Got my "kit" for the day......... change of clothes, toiletries, fishing tackle, waters, some rum........ all to be needed throughout the day and evening! Rumour had it that a fish fry/feast was planned for Friday night back at Ian and Delwyn's house in Cornwallis with the entire family!


    I mentioned how many boat owners row out to their moored boats and here's a stack of row boats at the base of the Matiatia Ferry Wharf....


    On the way out, of course a nice ride by Rangi....... as it's commonly called here.........


    Auckland to the far right and three of the local, dormant volcanos....... Mt Eden to the right. Jenn and her family lived in the shadow of Mt Eden.


    Approaching the entrance to Auckland Harbour with North Head to the right and Mt Victoria to the left. All ships have to round these to starboard to enter the harbour.


    Mt Victoria and my favorite little village in Auckland, Devonport. I love to spend an hour in the Evergreen Bookshop there looking for used books that I'll never find in the US. Unfortunately, it looks like the clock will run out on this trip before I get to visit there again........... this time.


    "Mechanics Bay" in Auckland Harbour. This used to be the seaplane base in the 1930s and through about 1960 for Auckland. Pan Am Capt Ed Musick would tie up here on his early flights to NZ. The building that looks sort of like an old airplane hanger is a wonderful restaurant named Makinos and to the left of it is the main NZCG base for their choppers and boats. Somewhere near there is a large Snapper with my hook in his mouth from a few years back! :banghead


    Approaching downtown and the Ferry Building...


    Here's our upcoming apartments for the third part of our Auckland visit.... seen here in the center/right. The tan, 100 year-old Ferry Building is off to the left.


    Rounding the corner and pulling into port after the 40 minute ride in from Waiheke.....


    I'm gonna do a Part Two for the fishing trip............ It's 9:15pm now and there's some smoked fish that needs to be eaten! :cool:
  • capt benjcapt benj Posts: 125 Officer
    Wow, just found this one, awesome! Thanks Gary!!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    capt benj wrote: »
    Wow, just found this one, awesome! Thanks Gary!!

    Welcome Aboard cb! We've still got a bit of Auckland left, then Sydney & Hong Kong still to go!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    After hopping off the ferry downtown at the Ferry Building, Jenn's brother, Grant, was there to pick me up. We hit a BP station for a coffee and within 40 minutes or so we pulled up to Ian's house in Cornwallis. He had "Ascendo Tuum" ("Up Yours"!) all hooked up to the tow tractor "Chauncy" and with bait, drink, ice, rods, etc aboard we were down the driveway and about to turn into the beach launching area.


    Ian likes to launch it with the guys aboard so that as soon as it's off the trailer, one guy can hop into the shallow (2 feet) water and hold the boat in position. Ian runs Cauncy back to the house and then re-joins us.

    They were calling for NE winds around 10 knots and seas less than one meter. The game plan was to run out to about 40 meters near a few hot spots and drop the hook. Here we are approaching the exit/entrance to Manakau Harbour.


    Just outside the exit is "The Bar" and it's a nasty sandbar that has more than a few wrecks and many dozens have perished here. There are two channels that exit The Bar, one south, one north and even these can get nasty. Because of that, most boaters are encouraged to call in to the NZCG the boat's name, number, which channel they will use and a promise to call back once outside/inside. Ian also insists that we all wear inflatable life vests when crossing The Bar. I have NO problem with extra safety!

    We exit out the South Channel and soon are running at 23-24 knots over the gently sloping bottom. Ian decides to drop the hook at 42 meters and we put out some stinky "burley" as they call chum here. No bag per se, just cut and toss. Bait was squid, a big mullet (like ours) and "pillies" or pilchards, which are long and slender bait fish.

    That cutout on land is the exit of the Harbour. Power is (I think) an F-115. He does not like people's sinkers whacking his cowling!


    The boat has a built-in bait board......... Trust me when I say that the meat clever works really well for slicing and dicing! The two notches cut into the wooden edge of the bait board is 27 centimeters.....the minimum fork-length for their snapper. Ian will rarely even use that to measure as he prefers to keep larger fish.


    For nearly an hour at the first place we did nothing, so Ian pulled the hook and he headed in a bit shallower. He heard me take this photo and said, "Don't show me gut hanging out"! He uses a small windlass and a bit of muscle.


    The second spot was active right away. Ian uses Accurate conventional reels and he calls my 20lb spinner "an eggbeater"! He buys his reels off ebay and overhauls them completely. Spooled with braid that I'd guess was 50lb. I used Jenn's sister's rod (his wife) which was the same set up.


    Crap....... a smallish/legal snapper that lives to fight another day.


    Grant gets hooked up on his rod..... and another throw back.


    Ian gets a nice fish on but it was evident that it most likely was a shark. Sure enough, this 6 foot Blue comes to visit. Gorgeous fish though.... but dumb. He circles the boat until we finally leave.


    Somebody catches a "Kawhai" and Ian decides that if we can get 12-14 or so, he'll fire up the smoker at home as these are very good smoked but not all that great fried, etc. Step one is slice his throat and stick him in a bucket of water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Then gut, decapitate, then split, then rinse well in the ocean! I call these "bonefish on steroids" as they are shaped the same, about the same size, they jump and they fight like hell! I sure wish that I had one of Jenn's "buggy whip" spinners for these guys!


    Split, cleaned and ready to be put on ice.........


    Grant was using a 4-hook, big sabiki hook, with squid, on the bottom and I'll be damned if he didn't pull in a double header of a nice kawahai and a nice snapper! Ian followed up with a double himself!


    With the late start and "the bite's gone off" announced, we pulled the hook and headed in.... with more than enough for a family dinner and the smoker! Crossing The Bar back across the south channel (man, there are some really "swirly" seas as you do this!!) Ian took the long way home and showed me a few areas and told a few stories. One was that Great White Sharks will come into the Manakau Harbour to breed as some parts are well over 100 feet deep and others are shoal. Ian told of scuba diving one area looking for "crays" (lobsters..... which are 1st cousins to ours) and right up against a rocky outcropping, there are sheer cliffs just loaded with crays! But...... it was a murky area and he knew that Great Whites might be in the area!! "I only dove this once and it truly scared the crap out of me" he told me. Here's the drop-off....... This is in meters and yet look how close we are to the rocks.... :hairraiser


    At the end of the day, back at the beach, we had enough for a "feed" as Ian would say........... The total was 6 snapper and 14 kawhai for smoking.


    It's 6:35pm right now and we are meeting the "rellies" (ie: the "relatives") at a southeast asian restaurant at 7pm, so I'll drag this fishing trip out to a 3-parter! Don't worry! You'll all be invited to "the feed" at Ian's on the next installment!
  • GT FishGT Fish Posts: 9,448 Officer
    Those snapper look like red porgies..Tasty i bet!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,225 AG
    Yup! Very good to eat!

    Packing up right now for the trip out of Auckland this evening.............. It's been a great 11 days but it's time for Jenn to get back to her Biz Meetings and we'll be making our way back to Sydney tonight on another monster A-380 from Emirates. We'll check into our downtown Sydney hotel tonight and tomorrow I can hopefully finish posting the Fish Trip photos. It did NOT end when Ian shut the little Yamaha down! More later...........
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