A Travellerspoint blog

The Animals

Sorry no pictures yet

sunny 75 °F

As promised here is an update on the animals. First and foremost are the ducklings. Apparently the ducks are bad mothers, so our WWOOF family transferred the eggs to their chook house (chicken coop). One of the hens adopted the eggs and has been raising the ducklings as chicks since birth. Thus the ducklings scratch and peck at the ground like chickens, and the mother (Blue) becomes anxious when her babies take a dip in the pool. It is a funny sight to see the ducklings so attached to a chicken. Avalon also has two goats (Bella and Billy), four adult ducks, seven chooks and two dogs (Bomo and Becks).

The most exciting animal sighting however happened yesterday as Pat and I finished walking the dogs into town to pick up some groceries. As we walked along the road home the dogs started sniffing around in a drainage ditch. They sent a quail flying and in her wake we discovered a troop of baby quail. The baby quail hurried up the embankment before I could snap a photo (astounding how fast they are) and hid in the brush. They were no larger than golf balls and had already learned to evade potential predators.

Tonight we heard a possum outside our window, but were unable to find it when we went outside to look. The possums here are a menace however in Australia (their native land) they are endangered. Though we’ve seen plenty of dead possums on the road I’m hoping to see one in person (and alive) soon.

Kari

Posted by patandkari 20:04 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

First Wwoof Farm

Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

sunny 75 °F

Kari and I have arrived at our first Wwoof farm and gotten settled. It is a small resort in the Bay of Islands area, in the town of Kerikeri. The resort, Avalon, is a small family operation (they are immigrants from Holland) that includes 4 cottages for guests and an apartment that is rented out in the summer and used for Wwoofers during the fall, spring and winter months. There are two ponds and a stream that run in front of the cottages into a small river that is in front of the main house. Other attractions include the animals and Kayaking on the river.

Since we are here in the summer the apartment is usually busy on the weekends with guests so we are living in the house with the owners, Willem and Betty and their children. We have a nice tower to ourselves but share a bathroom with the 4 children. Scott is the oldest, 20, Anna, 17, Sara 14, and Julia 11 are all home right now because it is their summer break but they will be going back to school in the next couple of weeks. It makes for a crowded but very fun house.

We arrived last Wednesday evening and got settled and started work the next morning. They have us doing Gorse removal right now on a hillside they plan to fence off for the two goats they have now and for the two sheep they plan to get soon (more on the animals later courtesy of Kari). Willem, Betty and the three girls went on a boat trip this weekend and left us in charge of their house and business (I guess they got to trust us very quickly). So we have been taking care of guests, paying the cleaning lady, answering phones (although it has not rung once) and feeding the animals for the last three days. Scott has been working so he comes back in the evenings for dinner and movie watching. Other than that we have had all the time we want to play in the river, kayak and jump off the rope swing.

Patrick

Posted by patandkari 17:59 Archived in New Zealand Comments (4)

Kari's First Car

ATTN: Steve

sunny 80 °F

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We started our car search yesterday morning first thing after we got up. We didn't really know exactly where we were going to find it so we just took off exploring. We started by looking at the for sale flyer's in our hostel then headed out for downtown Auckland to see the sights. It was not a far walk into down town (about 30 mins) and we were able to stop in at other hostels along the way and search for car flyer's that looked promising. We didn't see many good deals at first but did find a couple of possible leads. Kari had looked on the internet before we left and had found a backpackers car lot not far from the city center so we headed there after 3 hours of seeing some of the sights on Queens St.

When we got there they had some very helpful staff who explained how the car lot worked and what we should do before and after we decided to buy a car. We were lucky and had arrived early in the day (around 1pm) and were able to find a great deal on a car. The first thing we did was have its history checked and then we went for a little test drive. This was my first time driving on the WRONG side of the road so it was a little bit hairy at first. I still don't think I am used to it. When we got back we set it up to have a mechanical check the next morning and decided that if it checked out we would buy it.

This morning we headed back across town to the mechanic to see if the car checked out. When we got there they were a little behind schedule (no surprise there, mechanics in New Zealand are just as slow as those in the States) so we had to wait. When they finally finished we got the good and bad news. First the good: most of the car was in good condition even though it is 18 years old. The tires will have to be replaced but not right away. The same is true for the two drive belts, but these I can replace easily myself. The bad news came about 45 minutes later after we had them check the Cam Belt, it is almost dead and will have to be replaced in the next month. However the girl we were buying the car from was very open to bartering and Kari was able to talk her down $400 from the original price to cover most of the cost of the Cam Belt ($450 parts and labor).

The car is a Nissan Bluebird, 1990 SSX, 208,000 Km. It is some odd green color (Kari loves it). It is a 5 speed manual, with a 2.0 L engine and gets about 32 MPG. However it cost 90$NZ (70$US) to fill its 13 Gallon Tank. So I don't want to hear any complaining about gas prices in the US of A. It is clean and even has a spare and jack in the large trunk. The large trunk is a good thing since we have so much crap with us.

Kari is the owner of our new car and therefore it is her baby and she would like some help in naming it. So if you have any good ideas please email them to me or post them to the blog. Kari's ideas so far are Tom Cruise Control and Mister Shifty so you can see she needs some help.

Hope everyone is well

Patrick
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Posted by patandkari 23:59 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Lantana Backpackers, Auckland

We've made it safely to New Zealand, but first a little about our time in Fiji.

sunny 84 °F

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We arrived in Fiji at 6am two days after we left California (funny how the International Date Line works). Though we were both quite jet lagged and not accustomed to the oppressing humidity we found our way onto a local bus. The bus didn't have air-conditioning but we had a remarkably pleasant and cool ride except of course when driving at a snails pace uphill. The bus took us through the Fijian country side and into the mountains, where we discovered to our surprise a pine tree forest.

At the Mango Bay Resort we checked in and visited our bunk-bed dormitory style accommodation. The first few days in Fiji were fairly rainy, but we still managed to get plenty of pool time and beach volleyball.

The highlight however was the snorkeling. Snorkeling from the Mango Bay was quite easy; however when we went out the second day the owner warned us not to go too far due to a treacherous rip tide. The rip tide was so strong in fact, one of the patrons of the resort ended up stranded out on a sandbar (we were a little more cautious and managed to ride the tide down the beach and walk back up). While snorkeling we saw numerous colorful tropical fish, vibrant blue starfish, sea cucumbers and a Moray eel. Overall very successful shallow diving.

Our last night in Fiji we attended a Kava ceremony. Kava is a traditional Fijian drink, said to have mild narcotic properties. The drink, which quite literally looks like muddy water, tasted herbal and had a mild peppermint flavor. As for the effects, my tongue felt numb and Patrick felt a little more relaxed than usual. The next morning we caught the bus back to the airport in Nadi. We had a great time and are just now beginning to get off "Fiji Time" and back into the swing of the western world. More on Auckland later.

Kari
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Posted by patandkari 18:37 Archived in Fiji Comments (1)

Getting ready to leave

semi-overcast 32 °F

Kari and I are busy packing today, her more than I. We have picked up most of the things we will need for the move and are very excited to start our adventure. Things have come together well this week as we have worked to check everything off of our lists. There is a lot of advanced planning you must do to move half way around the world, bills still need to be payed, taxes need to be done and Democrats need to be voted for even when you are not around to take care of things. Luckily we have people who love us and don't mind doing some mailing for us. We leave for LA tomorrow morning and will be spending the weekend with college friends in Redlands and the surrounding area. On Monday we fly out for Fiji and then on to Auckland. I will try to post some pictures when we get to Auckland.

Patrick

Posted by patandkari 09:34 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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