Friday, 29 January 2016

Whatever happened to January

This summer my sister Barb and I toasted 50 years of holidays at the family beach house. Back in that first summer of '65, family meant Mum and Dad and us four kids, then aged 4 to 8. We were never less than a crowd, right from the start. Friends came with their kids, pitched a tent and stayed for the golden weather. There is always golden weather in New Zealand somewhere during the summer if you wait around for it.

Late January on Whangapoua beach with Bridget

The easterlies brought in big waves along the Coromandel coast

No road between us and the beach
Nothing much has changed at Bucks (as we call our beach) in half a century. Sure, in our day, there was no phone, and Mum was left without a car when Dad went back to town to work. Now there are more phones lying around than sun hats and when the extended family comes to stay you need a parking attendant in the driveway. But the house is still pretty much as it's always been despite a couple of minimal architectural enhancements.  We pitched a tent again this year, though not in the usual spot. It's always been understood that the beach is a place where change is to be resisted unless absolutely unavoidable. Late attention to the septic tank drains meant that grass wasn't growing where it usually does, so a change of tent site was unavoidable. It worked.

Every summer the personnel is a little different, and some years - including this one - the tail-end of a stray tropical cyclone can drop tons of water over campsites and barbecues for a few days. But that said, so much remains the same about summer at the beach that if it weren't for the photos you'd barely be able to remember who was there in which year.

Dinner on the deck - it was cool that evening

Bex is a whizz cake maker - this one is for Andy's birthday 

The stripes have it

So here are this year's photos. Those of you who know our family don't need names, and those who don't, well, we're much like your family. The good, the bad and the ugly. This summer at the beach was notable for the introduction of the next generation (grandson Louis) to beach rituals and a fairly serious outbreak of golf fever amongst the young adult males. The fish weren't biting either.

The sweetcorn is local 

Dave and Louis contemplating the next shot

Pauls and Louis

Deck action - and below

Puds saw out 2015 with a smile

Mike - new recruit to the game of golf

Madi and Sam

Louis teaches Lou how to use a phone
Freddy on Surething - Andy took his boat back to Auckland before the weather turned nasty because...

...when the wind blows into Bucks, it's no fun on a mooring...

...especially when your mooring breaks.

Meanwhile,  Enki stayed put at Westhaven marina in Auckland until the second week in January when we took her out for a few days with a cast of party animals. We had a ball. This was our first exposure to cruising in New Zealand, believe it or not, so even a circumnavigation of Waiheke Island was novel.

Mike, Sam and dolce vita on Enki

Guess who's out on the harbour - the Commodore and team

Man O' War vineyard on Waiheke (and below)

Tomorrow we're casting off the lines again., this time for much longer. Westhaven has been an excellent short-term bolt-hole, but it's time to go north. Enki is now re-provisioned for what we hope will be a month or more of cruising. We're thinking Bay of Islands and beyond, as well as Great Barrier Island, weather permitting. This jaunt is not an afterthought. When we planned our voyaging, part of the deal was that we allow time to go to places in New Zealand that we've heard our friends talk about for years, but never had a boat in situ to explore. Now it's our turn. And we might even try putting a line in the water again.

The skipper on holiday at Whangapoua