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Tuesday 6 September 2011

Spring in Coromandel

Just a few days into spring, a gorgeous warm day, perfect for getting the Street Triple out - so did it happen?  Nah, had promised Jennie that we'd go fishing so wasn't that disappointed! 

The day didn't start out on a promising note though.  Woke up with a prickling forearm and saw a purple area about 5mm diameter under the flesh.  On closer inspection, there was stuff oozing through 2 tiny little holes.  Bugger, almost certainly bitten during the night by one of these suckers:

The White Tail Spider (2x scale)
(source: Landcare Research NZ)

I HATE spiders unless they're practically microscopic.  The White Tail isn't aggressive but will bite if it gets into clothes or in my case, it might have crawled onto the bed *shudder*.  It isn't even a Kiwi spider but an import from our Aussie cousins across the pond.  How is it that 90% of the fauna and marine life in Australia is hell-bent on killing the human inhabitants???  Anyway, it's generally thought the White Tail bite isn't poisonous to humans but the bacteria on its fangs can cause necrosis in a bad bite.  I bit the bullet, gave the wound a good scrub with disinfectant, applied antihistamine cream and it hasn't got any worse - just aches a bit.

Anyway, on to the happier part of the day.......

There's a boat ramp at the end of our road which is perfect for launching in sheltered conditions although the sea was flat as a mill pond today.  It's a well-oiled machine with me reversing into the water and Jennie unhooking everything.

Getting organised by the ramp

Here we go......  tide still coming in

The big fish don't start moving inshore for a week or so yet and we normally only fish a couple of km out from our house among the commercial mussel beds which are convenient to hitch up to without dropping anchor.  Pickings might be a bit lean but most of the pleasure is simply being out there.

Leaving the harbour, we passed our neighbours Brian and Mary in their U.S-designed Bristol Channel Cutter keelboat.  Not enough wind to fill the sails, but perfect for a bit of motoring.  Regular readers may remember this post I made on the stained glass windows Brian made for our house.  Brian is a true Renaissance Man.  Not only did he build the boat, but the woodwork inside is exquisitely carved and he even cast the bronze fittings on the boat!

Our neighbours in their keel boat

Heading out of Coromandel Harbour to the mussel beds

The first hour out there was dire in terms of catching fish but unbeatable in terms of location.  Warm, no-one else around and magnificent scenery.  The water was so clear and still that you could see down several metres.

Jennie - a study in concentration (with no success, hehe)

Commercial mussels growing on ropes - beautiful clear water

After an hour, we shifted location. The fish finder showed a few swimming about, but they weren't biting.  No big deal, a great time to just chill out.......

It doesn't get much better than this
(although pink Crocs might have lured the fish)

Just 10 minutes from packing up for the day, a modest-sized snapper took pity on me and offered itself as a meal - whoopee!  All in all, one of those truly great days when one is at peace with the world, although we could have done without the spider.

Just enough for a meal.....

Sincere (almost) apologies to those who had to be at work today.  Your time will come :-)


  1. Your heart felt thoughts on those who have to work, are taken with a grain of salt amongst those of us who have all ready worked 24 hours in two days! beautiful looking snapper though...I bet it tasted nice to.

    I hope the spider didnt get squashed when you roled over in bed? poor thing.

  2. Geoff, I hate those damn spiders as well, though I haven't seen one in years (all gone to NZ I hear!).

    Just prior to reading your last sentence I was thinking to myself that this fella really knows how to rub it in when I've just come home from an 11 hour day at work.

    Glad to see that the 'lucky reds' didn't fail you!

    Cheers Jules.

  3. Rog and Jules:
    Having worked nigh on 12 hour days for the last 30 years of my working life, I commisserate. But not too much seeing as you're mates ;-)

    I killed a big one in the garage last week. This is Karma I suppose! Rog, may you not get bitten in the bum, hehe!

    Dunno whether the lucky red shorts were lucky or unlucky this time round - might have caught more with my black footy shorts.

  4. Ye hell fire Geoff I hope Jo dosn't see that spider photo otherwise I will never get her there!
    Nice snapper though....bigger than my mackerel...

  5. Yikes! Spider bite. I don't mind spiders but if they bite I would go homicidal on those things. I have heard they can cause allergic reactions like insect bites. Darn Aussie

    You guys are blessed getting a boat out and go fishing for your own dinner. I bet my hubby would love that. Something we can only dream of... only another 20 years to go until retirement. Sigh!

  6. Geoff:

    I smile as I see the red shorts, but smirk at the brown crocs. You know that brown just scares the fish away, & Pink attracts. We know you are rubbing it in. Spring and good weather around the corner, as we go downhill into Fall.

    Riding the Wet Coast

  7. Dylan:
    Well, that's the first time since arriving in 1975 that I've had an unfortunate encounter so no big deal!

    Small spiders are just fine and even these aren't that big and they have a largely undeserved reputation. Doesn't stop the flyspray coming out when I see one though!

    You might just be onto something! The brown Crocs cancel out the positive energies of the lucky red shorts!

    And yes, I am rubbing it in, albeit gently :-)

  8. Hi Geoff, let me apologise on behalf of my entire nation for your spider bite!

    Our national motto should be... "Come To Australia, You Might Accidently Get Killed!"

    Looks like you had a fabulous day out on the water...we have a day like that today, sadly I'm looking at it through an office window.

    Have a great day,

  9. Gidday Anthony!

    Damn decent of you old chap! :-)

    I would have thought "Come to Australia, you will deliberately get killed" would be more appropriate with Funnel Web spiders, Taipans, Box Jellyfish and the like waiting for unwary visitors. It's a wonder any of you guys are still alive!

    Nice day here too, but sadly, doing some painting.

    You have a good 'un too mate!

  10. Cheers Geoff....and here's "The Scared Weird Little Guys" song all about the wonderous and varied fauna that we Australian's have to offer the world! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNEeq5qGh8I

  11. I know I'm just about ready to come home because I was salivating at the beautiful clean sea, open spaces, not many people .... As you know Geoff, the beach places here are somewhat different ... Lucky bugger! Fantastic.

  12. Cheers Nick!
    I suppose that like people throughout the world, it's fantastic to travel, but always great to come home. Always get that shiver of pleasure flying over the Bay of Islands and Auckland harbour on the way in!

    Good luck with the visa application mate!

  13. Spider bites. I hate those. I don't get them often but when I do they swell pretty good. Damn sensitive skin. Glad yours wasn't worse.

    What a beautiful day to be out on the water. It is nice that you were able to get out for the day and not have many boats in the area. I bet you are happy to see an end to winter.

  14. The water sure looks inviting and this is supposed to be winter going into spring? I never could get into fishing. I think it requires patience. We have this thing called dip netting up here to catch salmon (only legal in a couple of locations) where you use a large net at the end of a long pole to collect fish. On a good day it is much more efficient but you can't really call it "fishing".

  15. Hi Trobairitz
    My first bite so didn't know what to expect. Clearing up quite nicely now thanks, just itches a bit.

    Yeah, it hasn't been cold this winter, only a couple of light frosts but boy, it's been wet!

    Hi Richard:
    Yep, even on a nice winter day, it doesn't get much colder than 10 C and it was 18 C out there whilst we were fishing. I haven't got a lot of patience either and it's not normally needed as the water warms up. Netting for salmon sounds great!

  16. My kind of fishing. How's your luck been, so far?

    Great. The fish haven't bothered me at all!

  17. Dan:

    Hahahaha! With any luck, they'll be queuing up to be caught in a week or two!

  18. I detest spiders and if that had been me I would have had to be sedated!. The bit about work ,well ive been off for nearly five months and am glad to be going back !

  19. Hi SB and great to hear from you!

    So pleased to hear about your recovery and I can understand you wanting to be at work again. will you be riding in the near future? My bite has faded to almost nothing now, so consider myself fortunate. There's only one truly poisonous spider in NZ but it lives on the edge of beaches and is so rare most people have never seen one. Even then, it's bite is painful, but not particularly dangerous. No snakes either, which I'm very happy about :-).

    Take care mate!

  20. "How is it that 90% of the fauna and marine life in Australia is hell-bent on killing the human inhabitants???"

    Oh you know what they'll say across the water about your weakness. :-)

    When I was in Australia, there was a very large spiders hanging around in the garden. I am used to one about the size of a penny. Not the size of an over-sized disk brake. Fortunately those kind stay outside. Otherwise cleaning him up inside a house would have been a project.

  21. Hi Bryon!
    The only Kiwi weakness which our Aussie mates normally mention to our faces is our (alleged) unnatural fondness for sheep! The first question is always: "What's your girlfriend's name, Baaaa-bara?" Pretty rough, those Aussies :-)

    Yeah, they were probably the Huntsman spider. I read a hilarious (and terrifying) account of a motorcycle journalist who had one in his helmet and didn't know until he felt something start to move when he was already on the open road!

  22. White Tails.....Huntsman spiders...attacked in your own bed at night.....Geoff you are never going to get a job on NZ's tourist board.....how about a lovely pic of a Kiwi (feathered kind) Jo fell in love with them...

  23. Ewww!
    I almost closed the page as quickly as I clicked it on. Nasty, Nasty spider!!!! Do not post that again!!! :)

    Beautiful day on the water. Much better than your opening, thank you. Yum, and you even caught dinner!

  24. The Hunstman is an Aussie spider - don't get 'em over here. Will introduce Jo to a Weta when you guys arrive :-)

  25. Kari:
    Glad someone else hates spiders too! Yeah, I'll be doing my best to eradicate the whole population from now on!

    Snapper is the most wonderful-tasting fish. Great rolled in breadcrumbs with some grated parmesan cheese, then sautéed for no more than a couple of minutes on each side!

  26. Now look you have already lost your case...you said the White Tail was Oz but that swam over! Even I have mental nightmare pictures of that cave Weta of yours.just like something out of the old BBC black and white Quatermass tv series!!

  27. Geoff:

    someone's got to stand up for that Snapper, who was just minding his own business and out for a quick jaunt to the store to pick up supplies, when this goof with the Red Shorts cuts his life short, then eats him for dinner. I wonder how his family feels and who is going to provide for them, now that he is gone.

    Riding the Wet Coast

  28. Dylan:
    Quatermass terrorised an entire generation! Not quite the same with wetas and spiders now we're not schoolkids any more!

    As long as his family don't have a word with the local shark family about payback, I can live with it!!

  29. Jiminy, I seemed to have gotten so far behind! I agree with you, don't like spiders. I'm glad it isn't terribly dangerous...but the thought of one being in bed with me?? NO WAY!!

    Glad the fishing went well. :)

  30. Hi Lori!

    In some respects, I'm glad that I was fast asleep or there might have been a human-shaped hole in the ceiling!!!

  31. Remind me to tell you about the spider and the spatula one day. ;)

  32. Ewwww...... hope the spatula went in the trash :-).

  33. Nice, long handled metal spatula. It was easily cleaned. The wall wasn't... ;)

  34. Hahaha - I get the picture - ewwww.....


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