XS650: 2012/13 Happy New Year   Leave a comment

Happy New Year folks!! We hope 2013 will treat your physical and spiritual health as they should be.

For us, 2012’s highlight was our son starting school. A wonderful experience. For all but the school. We were summoned. Our first teacher/parent talk-Day 3. I at least, was proud. Being bilingual the school has done wonders for his active english skills. Observing and aiding his discovery of the written world is proving fascinating.

Earlier in the year my dear wife informed me we would be celebrating Xmas/New Year in New Zealand. My homeland-but not my home. Aside from spending the silly season with my family, she had a wishlist. Whalewatching, Visit a geothermal area, Waitomo glowworm caves. None of these really interest me in the commercial sense. Through all my years of boatng and sailing I’ve had countless possibility to observe and swim with whales and dolphins. As a geologist I appreciate NZL’s unique location although the touristy areas are a poor match to the many hidden geothermal gems. And I have to say that despite the impressive presentation the reknown glowworm caves simply cant rival the caving experiences I enjoyed with the University Caving Club. Still, keep the little woman happy and the world is good.


kaikoura coast … snow capped mountains in december(summer)


kaikoura coast


kaikoura local sunbathing … seals mean fish


Kaikoura, the whalewatching coast set against, even in December, snow-capped mountains is truely beautiful. Unfortunately the early morning trip (booked as the ocean is calmer) was cancelled due to fog and the boys’ health deteriorated to fever. Instead we sat on the wharf and caught fish. Then headed back to Nelson area via Lewis Pass where we were awaited at the Tui Farm Folk Festival.

tui farm festival 2012


Run by great friends of mine this is a participatory event. Workshops, impromptu musical events and general jamming are definitely the order of the day.

impromptu boot session … the rule rather than the exception


We shared a cooking tent with the headline band, The Shot Band, from Wellington.

I missed their main gigs by taking our (very) sick boy to bed but had the fortune to enjoy a full days jamming and general musical piss-taking. Boyz havin’ fun.

tui water fight


tui rainbow warrior … lost both front teeth for xmas


tui rainbow


All good things end and we headed back north to Taupo, thought to be the site of the worlds biggest volcanic eruptions, sitting atop major plate boundaries and at the end of the Tonga-Kermadec Trench.

nzl – very active … coloured dots represent earthquakes


taupo volcanic zone … lake taupo is the site of the worlds largest volcanic eruptions


We climbed Ruapehu and took a look at Tongariro (Mordor in the lord of the rings movies). The triad, Tongariro Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu are all considered active.



a smoking tongariro lurking behind lake rotoaira


Heading further north we visited Huka Falls where the Waikato River leaves Taupo and Orakei Korako, one of the hidden geothermal gems, on Lake Ohakuri.

orakei korako


fault scarps


artists palette


looking down to lake ohakuri


Further north we dropped into Waitomo glowworm caves. I had caught the boys’ bug by this time and was getting pretty crook. Crashed out in the car-the missus had to drive.

waitomo caves visitors centre – impresssive but overpriced touristy rubbish in comparison to what you could have


We headed back to Auckland. I stayed in bed a week and didnt eat while mum and the lad did more family things.

looking NE from mt eden, one of aucklands known 53 or so volcanoes … mts victoria and cambria can be seen on the penninsular mid-picture and the latest volcano, rangitoto (600 yo) in the background (eruptions in auckland around every 500-800 yrs or so)


Fortunately I got better enough to enjoy some sailing and fishing with my brother on his Stewart built 36′ Matangi design yacht.

the Etruscan a 36′ Matangi wooden hull designed by Bob Stewart – a great little boat


dude at the helm


first snapper – a keeper


first kingfish – only 50cm, had to go back, a great fighting fish – even this small


After a long and shattering flight we are now back home. And happy for it too. Looking foward to putting a few miles on the XS and clearing the head.


Posted January 12, 2013 by xscafe in General

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