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Piha and the forces of nature

Today was and will be all about the forces of nature. I rested in my campervan this morning because I was still beat from two surf sessions and gardening the day before. I wanted to go check out a nearby beach called Karekare, which is apparently pretty secluded. The guide book says people use words like “spiritual” and “brooding”. I guess I got a sort of spiritual experience of my own when I came out to my car to find the front tire flat.

Bobbie jumped to it and said, no problem! She and her husband used to race to see who could change tires faster. I was missing the tool to take off the lug nuts, so she borrowed one from one of the guests. As we worked she chatted about how she believes 60-70 percent of New Zealand women can change a tire themselves. The night before, out with friends celebrating the Cafe win, she said they had talked seriously about how the empowerment of women here has had the unfortunate side effect of “disenfranchising” men. According to Bobbie, New Zealand has the second highest suicide rate in the world for men between the ages of 18-26. She believes this may be due to not having a sense of who they are and that they are neeeded. But the answer is not to make ourselves seem helpless, but to find ways to raise their self esteem as well.

Then we came to the first scare – one of the lugs was a security lug. It can’t be turned without a special adapter that is somewhat like a key. They are there to prevent theft of tires. Fortunately, I found it between the front seats. Then the second scare. Once she started to try to unscrew the security lug, the adapter on top started cracking. Then cracking some more. She sprayed CRC (“every girl needs a can CRC”) all over the lug nuts and we went to sit a while.

The regular lug nuts came off easily, but the security one still wouldn’t budge and the adapter was cracking even more. Time to call AA. Bobbie told him a half-truth and a half-lie, that her car was in the shop (true) and that my car was her loaner car in the meantime (hmmm, not so true).

As a huge storm was on its way and it was about noon, I started on the gardening while we waited. Today I went all over the property cleaning up anything that wasn’t attached to the ground. This consisted mostly of “monkey’s tails” which are long, thin, brown leaves. Not sure what the name of the plant is that they come from. Another question for Bobbie. Yesterday I spent the whole day weeding out clover (a nod to my ancestry?) from a native New Zealand ground cover called Pratia. They were really tangled in there good. Difficult to get to the roots, and I’m not sure how successful I was at that task. It was a nice break from all the heavy hauling around the day before. But my calves are going to be really strong from all this squatting.

Went down to the stand on the beach for some lunch, a veggie burger and chips! For those uninitiated to English vernacular “chips” are what we call “french fries”. I sat watching the waves and realized they weren’t too bad. Started to get excited about another go at it. Brought chips back for Bobbie and finished up my last hour of work. Grabbed the board and ran down to the beach.

A whole lot of paddling and fighting white water again today without catching any waves. There were some really big and nice sets coming through, but you had to be patient. I got to sit out there for a while just resting and watching the horizon. It was closer to low tide and a pretty far paddle to get out. We were well past Lion Rock, farther out than I had been before. I don’t think the sun has been out today once. Low dark clouds were passing over the town and out to sea in a northern direction. Strange as the radar map of the storm shows it coming in from the north-west. I tried for some smaller waves, didn’t catch them but got brought closer to shore. Then a set came through and I was fighting back through all the whitewater again. Eventually I was just too tired and headed back in.

It’s almost 7pm here and no rain yet. It should be here soon, though. I was going to go into town to meet Gavin, but called that off because of the weather. Bobbie just came out and invited me to dinner with Julia and her friends. I accepted happily. To be honest I had no good plans for dinner tonight, and I am getting pretty hungry.

1 comment

  1. Great this happened before you set off. There will probably be more secluded areas and a good spare and the tools to change them will be essential. What a gift Bobbie has been, as you are to her. I have to remember the new skills you are developing when you return. Uh oh! Love ya PLOB

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