"Poorly Planned... Badly Executed"

Monday, 27 April 2009

Road Tripping in Aotearoa

Driving into Milford Sound

So my trip back home has turned into one long road trip, the river gods of The Coast decided that kayakers had already had there share of perfect flows for the season and having sampled the boating at its best in years past I opted out of the low water scrape that was on offer and headed in the opposite direction with a new ally Ine (a backpacker Crusty and I commandeered during are goon train adventures that we shall not speak of).

Kea's... the gangster bird of New Zealand

It is all too easy to ignore the places close to home that are 'easy' to go to anytime. Before you know it they are not close to home anymore and you never went! One such place for me is the bottom of the South Island. In particular the Catlins so I was happy to be given a chance to redeem my previous apathy and mission it south in my trusty van, complete with 4WD stickers and all. 4WD stickers really are the way forward... it is like being given a free licence to drive places you really shouldn't without having to put up with the judging steers of those who have to help pull you out... "Cheers for the help mate... I would have got back up there but the 4WD broke (heeheehee)". The best part about the van though has to be the sweet as bed in the back... no camping in a tent for me, that's sooo last millennium.

Hey that's not yours, get off there

Our tour de south took us form Queenstown to the bottom (with mandatory stop in Milford Sound), around the bottom to Bluff, back up through the Catlins, inwards to the southern lakes and Aoraki, and finally through Arthur's Pass to the Coast. At times it was like travelling with another kiwi as Ine is pretty apt at taking the piss, something we kiwis pride ourselves on, so if I ever started to go on about how much I love being in New Zealand, Ine would begin telling me how great Australia is or try to make Belgium sound like there was more to it than beer and chocolate... yeah right. Ine never could tell me who the president of Europe was though... "It's the country you come from, how do you not know?!?" Good times all round ;-)

Ine having a stand-off with a kea. It lasted until the kea got board and started investigating what he could steel from my van

We learnt some important lessons in Fiordland such as the camping is free if they catch you in the morning. Apparently you have to pay or leave if they catch you in the evening because they can 'evict' you but that doesn't really work in the morning... "yeah sweet as mate we're leaving anyway". Parking the van out of site is also a good approach to avoiding the unwelcome and introduced pests that are the DOC rangers. However you may need the 4WD stickers for this to be plausible.

Fiordland rain forest

The bottom of New Zealand is well worth the effort to go and see and that goes doubly for the Catlins. South Westland is my favourite spot but the Catlins are an equal match with rain forest right beside the coast... all it needs is some world class creeking and I would have serious trouble choosing between the two. We found plenty of waterfalls, beautiful beaches, and even caves at the bottom of sea cliffs. My camera battery ran out of juice just before we arrived so I don't have any photos to show you... perhaps another time.

Mitre Peak - Milford Sound

Having completed our tour de south we headed to the Coast to catch up with thee Eden Sinclair. It was the first time I have seen Eden since he left Norway after we were there for five months, over two years ago, so made for quite an emotional reunion... ok so actually we just got pissed and talked shit like always. Eden was kind enough however to show us his 'secret' spot for gold panning and the three of us slaved away for an afternoon to secure no less that 1.5 grams of of the shinny stuff with a street value for up to 50 kiwi rupees... hmmm you might have to rethink your retirement plan buddy. Well at least Ine has a nice souvenir to remember how pointless hard work is.

Moss covered beech forests

So all in all New Zealand has continued to treat me well, I had a great time just by being here. The really beauty of the place is in the photos though so I'll let them tell the story of my travels. I will offer one piece of advice however for anyone travelling with someone form Belgium... don't call them German... well actually do, it's pretty funny (just be prepared for retaliation hahaha). Ahh good times Ine, your welcome back in New Zealand any time :-) Ka kite

Crazy fungus... Ine was to scary to try and eat it despite my reassurance that she would be 'cool' if she did

Wicked starry sky... I think it is the little things like being able to see this many stars which makes New Zealand such an amazing place

Nothing in particular, I just like this photo

Moeraki Boulders

Ine learning about waves... they are the things that wash up the beach and get your shoes and pants wet when you stand in the wrong place

Moraine from the Tasman Glacier at Aoraki

Heading towards Arthur's Pass

Castle Hill

Walking into Punch Bowl falls

Punch Bowl falls

An old rimu tree... one of my favourite types of tree on the Coast

Chilling in the Hokitika Gorge... good times

Friday, 10 April 2009

The First Of Road Trip Is...

Crutsy doing... well you can decide for yourself!!

"Stuff this Crusty... turning right is not happening, we're going left!" I exclaimed after waiting not so patiently for nearly ten minutes at an intersection with constant rush hour traffic. Not the best time to leave Christchurch but when you only decide the 'roadtrip' is a go at 4:00pm there is not always so much choice in the departure time. "So where does left take take us then Crusty?" I ask all ready knowing the answer. "To the coast au" is his response empathised in colourful kiwi slang which I have missed so much while overseas... something tells me that good times await.

On the road

THE FIRST RULE OF ROAD TRIP: The two of us left Christchurch on a Wednesday afternoon with a van full of toys, fresh vegetables from Crusty's garden, top work Crusty, and a plan that hadn't progressed past leaving the city. The decision to head to the coast was made for us by our inability to turn right at an intersection and that is how the rest of the trip would would pan out. This is also when we decided that 'the first rule of road trip is... you do not talk about road trip' thus ensuring that the randomness would continue. And so there we were headed to the coast and into the unknown with neither of us truly prepared for what lay ahead.

Crutsy is sponsored don't you know... by Nippy's

ROCK SCISSORS PAPER: "Good old rock... nothing beats rock!!" I chuckled to myself as I cruzed round a sweeping left bend having just one and in the process decided that we would head south and not north at the first junction we had seen since leaving Christchurch nearly three hours ago. We hulled up for the night in the small South Westland town of Franz Joseph and set about making our presents known to all in sundry. The Kiwi Experience bus was in town, as it always is, and the drunken Europeans kept the atmosphere lively while the locals add a sharp contrast and made the place feel real. Crusty made 'not' friends with some fishermen passing through by discussing quoters but fortunately the locals were far more accommodating. I started talking shit with a helicopter pilot and as the beers drained we invented a new challenge of sorts, kind of like a real life survivor. The concept was simple, the pilot would drop us in the bush somewhere without much gear (and no idea of where we were) and we had to 'survive'. As fate would have it my new pilot friend was off for a flight in the morning to check out some 'stuff' and was keen for Crusty and I to give the 'survivor' game a nudge. "Sweet as mate... I'm sleeping in the van out there, wake me up" I cheerfully remarked not releasing that he was serious. And so at 6:00am Crusty and I were flown blindfolded into 'somewhere' and had to 'survive'.

Quality West Coast housing

SURVIVOR: Turns out the game is more fun to talk about than to actually play and at times it would be fair to say that we might have, if only a little bit, regretted our impromptu decision. "Well crusty, we got ourselves into this shit... we better get ourselves out of it"... "Soooo where do we start?!?" Our first move was to gain some altitude to get our bearings. This was not so hard as we had been dropped off rather high up and given the abundance of large mountains in South Westland, once we could see them our route to the civilised world become clear as mud... or so we though, it was actually a little murkier. The vantage point from the ridge we were saddling showed what looked like a plausible route down into the valley and out to what was probably the road... probably. The reality however was that descending into the valley got sketchy after about two hours and yet again we were at a junction but rock paper scissors wasn't going to solve. "Crusty old chap... I'm fraid to say old boy that you are going to need a rather large piece os earth moving equipment too get me to take one more step down this damned mountain" I calmly explained to Crusty. "Well Mr Ramsay Sir... I hope you slipped a club ski field rope tow in your back pocket before departing because such a devise will indeed be required to drag me up to the ridge line" Crutsy gently informed me. And so we did the only think we could do - traverse. To shorten a long story (or cut a long story short so to speak) we reached the road just as darkness was descending and started hitching back to Franz Joseph to recover the van and yarn to the pilot of our adventures. For 'surviving' he bought us a beer... top bloke.

Pass the goon bro

Yeah this man's on the goon train

THROWING CAUTION TO THE WIND: Next stop in our adventure was Jackson's Bay and a much quiter pub hidden away from the silly drunken tourists of the kiwi experience bus. The guy who picked us up when we hitched back to Frnaz was on his way to check out a cave that some buddies of his had found where a river apparently flows right through a hill kind of like cave stream but it could be you could float through in on an inner tube. He was impressed with our tails of the game 'survivor' and asked us to join him. "Sweet as mate... see you in Jackson's". So there we were sitting in a different pub, Rain by Dragon blasting on the dukebox, a older women dancing by herself, locals yarning at the bar, and us... discussing a different but no less foolish sounding plan to float under a mountain. "I suppose there are some things you just shouldn't say no to" Crusty summed up the situation and so for the second time in two days all caution was thrown to the wind and we set out on a caving adventure.

Which way is up?!?

CAVE TUBING: Our new friend Matt had a spear tube (Crusty had brought a tube with him... talk about prepared) and so with enough warm gear and a hand torch each we set out on next adventure. The cave wasn't too far, only a couple hours walk so we were soon peering into the vast opening into the mountain apparently which flowed into the next valley. Our plan was to float through the hill and then pretty much all the way back to the car... twas a good plan except that the underground river had different ideas. The level was 'higher' than what I imagine is ideal and had started to form 'rapids'. I do my fair share of throwing myself in amongst class five white water and this was by no means class 5 but when complete darkness and that uneasy sense of eminent death are in the mix, boy the pulse really starts racing. Matt assured us that it would be "sweet as bro"... well "that's all the assurance I need, how about you Crusty?" I asked sarcastically. "Yeah man, if he says it's good then I'm in" Crusty remarked with no less sarcasm in in voice. And so in a funny double bluff gone wrong we all ponyed up and floated into the unknown.


Hmmm rather and emotional photo... wouldn't you say?

REBIRTH: I emerged from the 20min luge ride into the blindingly bright daylight first. My terror was replaced with a sense of amazement and then laughter as I saw the look on Crusty's face. He exited soon after clinging onto Matt for dear life. A hole had 'eaten' him and then kindly shoved him in an undercut... lucky for Crusty Matt floated past at the same moment and gave Crusty something to hold onto and be dragged out with... Matt's leg. Matt probably though a taniwha had got him because he had some rather wide eyes too. "Classic... now lets never speak of it again!"

New Zealand ROCKS!!

CHICKEN WITH THE BEES: Crusty and I both agreed that we had had enough adventure on our road trip so it was time for some mischief. And as luck would have it we were joined by two German girls hitching around New Zealand... didn't there mummy's teach them not to accept rides from strange kiwis. We started out amusing ourselves with the little things, such as telling them all about our colourful history including killer snow chickens and hobbits. Pretending to drive off with all their stuff got some classic looks on their faces but still they did not take heed. Those Germans are suckers for punishment!! I think we finally convinced them we were not 'ordinary' when we started playing chicken with the bees. It's a simple game involving a hive of bees, a van, and a complete lack of common sense. One person exits the van... runs over the bee hive and bangs on the top five times thus getting the bees considerably 'agitated'. They then run back into the van and it is the next persons turn. The process is repeated until someone chickens out and has to do something predetermined at the start as a result. See fun for the whole family!!

Yeah I know some magic bro!?!

THE FIRST RULE OF ROAD TRIP: So this is where the story ends... and also where it begins!! If you remember the first rule of road trip is - 'you do not talk about road trip' and thus it follows that everything above is a complete work of fiction. "What is the real story?" I hear you ask... sorry cant say, it's a secret ;-)

Check it out... Hobbits

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Soooo It Has Been A While

Kia ora, kei te pehea koutou good people of interweb land... I guess you have all but given up on ever seeing an future updates of what is going on in MassiveCock land. Well there has been plenty and not so much at the same time. I have spent more time taking photos and chilling out on goon train than going on missions. Well not kayaking missions anyway and those are the ones that really get me motivated to share the adventure. At present I'm back in Aotearoa (New Zealand for those not in the know) and loving life. There are plenty of stories to share... but I'm not going to. Instead here is a photo I took of me the other day while on an... umm, entertaining road trip with a good friend Crusty (The first rule of 'roadtrip' is we do not talk about 'roadtrip'). Hopefully more to come in the near future. Ka keti akuanei