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First night at Solscape, and first day in Raglan

View from the driveway going up to Solscape. Looking down to Ngarunui Beach:

Serious rains pounded on my tent off and on through the night. i woke up around 8:30am, achey and still sleepy. I peeked out the tent, I and saw how I was surrounded by lush green, glistening vegetation. It’s like a rainforest here. Or perhaps it _is_ a rainforest? I sleepily staggered over to the composting toilets to pee, then returned to lay a while longer in the tent. Maybe I said it before, but thank god for the sleeping pad Tim lent me before I left. I could even use a little more padding. Maybe if I come across one of those foam egg crates I will pick it up.

When I finally got up, it was mid-morning. I could see that the tiring hill I walked up so many times to reach the site afforded us a view out to the water. Only two other guys were up at this part of the campsite for the night. So it was very quiet and secluded. Just lovely.

After some tea, cereal and a banana I headed into town to check out the surf shops and find the wifi cafe. First stop Raglan Longboards. I oggled a beautiful 7’6″ egg-shaped Bear board. It was a lovely dark dark red. With the exchange rate here, even new boards are quite a bargain – thsi one I think translated to something like $600USD new. But it would cost so much to carry it back or ship it back with me, i don’t think it would be worth it. Plus since I am just going to be knocking around the islands with one for two months, I’d be better off spending less on a used one. The lady behind the desk asked me if I was after a mini-mal. I must look like a mini-mal kind of a gal. Apparently they are very popular with beginners. Makes sense.

No good choices there so I moved on. Across the street was Raglan Surf Shop and a very attractive middle-aged man sitting out on the porch. It was kind of small and catered to shortboarders. He, also, asked me if I was looking for a mini-mal. Ha. He said they are as rare to find used as hen’s peas. Something like that? What’s the saying? He gave me a sticker and I headed downtown.

Someone at Solscape had told me there were sales notices at the Four Square (a grocery store) so I checked those out. I immediately found two notices for 8′ mini-mals in my price range – around $500NSD. One responded that it had already been sold and the other never got back to me. Bummer. I also overheard someone else talking about free wifi with a coffee at a place called HQ. Went to find that, but it was closed.

I did some laundry (sorely needed) and went next door to have some coffee and a “graze plate” – an assortment of yummy snacks like hummus, bread, olives, feta cheese, sundried tomatoes…Then I walked around and checked out all the many surf shops in town. In the last place I looked I almost left then remembered I was looking for a roof rack for the car. I checked out a soft one for about $100NSD. Exactly what I needed but I was going to hold off on purchasing one until I actually had a board. Because who knows if I will even find one.

I got into a conversation with the very friendly and helpful guy at the desk. He explained to me that mini mals come and go very quickly through the shop. Surfing has become very popular and they are a good beginner board. I talked to him a little about the different basic shapes of boards – longboards, mini mals, egg-shaped, fishes, guns etc. I said I would check in again for a mini mal – if I was “on my game'” he said, I might catch a used one coming through.

I browsed through the used board section which I had missed my first time through the store. Nothing. On my way out the door, a board leaning in a small rack caught my eye. It was a Town and Country 8 foot mini mal! In really good shape. With fins and a leash. There was no price on it so I went back to the desk and asked about it. He seemed surprised they had one. He looked it over and said it would probably be around $600NSD. Slightly over budget but definitely worth it.

He made a call and came back to say that, actually, since it was in such good shape and came with fins and a leash it was selling for $750NSD. Hmmmm. Plus the roof rack that comes to $850NSD. Not so sure. I decided to sit on it for a bit and see if anything else came up. It was only my first day looking in Raglan, after all.

I headed back towards Solscape to check e-mail and pulled off the road to look at this beautiful scene:

I had been totally enjoying a blues compilation given to me by Andrew Hansen, called “Not the Same Old Blues Crap, Volume 2” including musicians such as R.L. Burnside, Robert Balfour and T-Model Ford. Here is the music setup I figured out in Auckland. USB powered speakers velcroed to console and plugged into a cigarette-lighter to USB power adapter, my nano ipod dangling from the setup. In a cheesy rock moment, as I left Piha in the perfect afternoon sunshine, my shuffling ipod decided to play “More Than This” by Roxy Music. Here it is:

When I got online at Solscape the first e-mail I read was from my Mom. She said she had sent me a birthday gift to Piha, but I hadn’t received it. I will ask Bobbie and Julia to forward it to Gavin and maybe he can bring it out to Raglan when he comes next weekend. And then she said that Dad thought I needed a surfboard and roof rack, so he was giving me $500USD (about $1000NSD). The exact amount to get the board and rack (with a little to spare!). Must be a sign, so I went back into town to get the board.

I bought both, strapped them to my car and rode down to Manu Bay just for the hell of it. I knew there was no surf, but I wanted to just sit and watch the sea. As I pulled out of the shop, the ipod shuffled to the Beach Boys “Wouldn’t it be Nice?”. Haha. I was kind of embarassed so I turned it down until I was out of town.

Here is the new setup, overlooking the famous break:

Now I am completely set up to go find some waves. I am so grateful and excited that I am able to do all this. I feel a little like I have been in a waking dream the past week. So great.



    So glad it all worked out. Happy Birthday sweetie :)! Remember when the weather gets yucky you can always camp out in your car. WOW! is it ever incredibly beautiful. I hope I live till the time we can be transported as in ‘beam me up’! You will be happy to know you are missing the storm of this winter. Lots and lots of snow, of course more in NY than here. But it is still beautiful here. Keep the stories coming. Lots and lots of love on this your special day, PLOB

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