January 2010, Marlborough Sounds Survivor!

Well as per usual January was full of good times in NZ especially as it is the middle of summer. Unfortunately this year Wellington has not received any summer, but luckily I haven't been there! Instead I have been in Auckland where I had a quick tour of Piha beach and then a visit from my Canadian mate Billy D. His trip took us from beaches in Auckland to adventures in the Marlborough Sounds to an AC/DC concert and finally the Wellington Cup. It was great to speak Canadian for 2 weeks.

A quick look at one of the deadliest beaches in NZ, Piha (about 25 minutes from Auckland). Hell, someone even died only 5 days before Brad A. and myself had a trip out there. They also film a TV show called Piha Rescue which deals with mainly people getting tumbled in the washing machine type surf and hopefully not drowning. Since 2000 Piha has had almost 1500 rescues performed by the Surf Rescue teams.

Piha from a safe distance

Of course the photo doesn't do it justice.

Later in the month Billy arrived in Auckland and we spent a few days on the beach in Takapuna. Then it was off to the tip of the South Island and the Marlborough Sounds for Survivor 2010.

A good friend of mine Shane Binnie, who once again has another lovely place for all of us to stay, invited myself and others down to the Pelorus Sound where one of his family batches stands in amongst the rare bush of the Marlborough Sounds. 5 days of swimming, exploring, fishing, eating, drinking and all kinds of games was absolutely bliss. Even more amazing is that the batch is only accessible by boat or floater plane. Once we arrived the group was split into two teams so you may notice some green and blue bans in the photos, nothing too serioust. In the end it was just one happy group of us enjoying a pretty good run of weather and a truly rare kiwi experience that even some of the kiwis were virgin to.


Trip starting off a bit cushy with bubbles on the plane. I felt like Robin Leach from "Life Styles of the Rich and Famous" knowing people would pay a lot for this trip.


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Supplies and shuttle to Havelock Harbour.

Billy and I on the boat to the batch.

Home Sweet Home for 5 days.

A panoramic that is always more enjoyed when you click on it and open.

The tribes. Me, Joel, Sarah, Hayley, Billy, Woody. Dave, Alex, Jamie, Laura, Tom, Shane.

Can't beat this bathroom view.

Great day for a tube and a ski.


"You know there are stingrays in the water"


For those that enjoy seeing me fail take a look at this video.

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Once again for those who enjoy seeing me fail (probably more painful than it looks).

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Hot Beersbee action.


Tests of strength.


Mussel farm.

Curious little guy. Maybe we were keeping him up. Photo by Bill D.

Setting the net for flounder and snapper.

Nice.

Everyone survived.


Flying home. Wind farms just west of Wellington.

The good old "Cake Tin" with ACDC preparations underway.

And then there was AC/DC on Thursday, January 28.

Brian Johnson (singer, 62), Angus Young (lead guitar, 54), Malcolm Young (guitar, 57), Cliff Williams (bass, 60) and Phil Rudd (drums, 55 and the only one born in Aussie). The old timers continued to put on basically the same show I saw in 1992. A good experience and even better was doing it in NZ.

The name is great and needs little space to be displayed.


Early on.
Billy, Ben and myself.


Did ACDC plan the position of the moon that night?

Finally on the last weekend of January every year we have the Wellington Cup which always seems to get the best weather. And once again I knew nothing about the bets and still managed to come out a couple bucks ahead for the 3rd straight year.

Of course due to the massive queues it is a necessity to bring your own booze. "How to" video.

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Get action shot from Billy D. I did not win this race, poop.

The actual Wellington Cup race. I had bets on Red Ruler and Manonamission and won $70 in total on that race.

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Not a friend of ours, but a helpful completely smashed picture taker. Thanks drunk chick.

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7s is next in Feb!


Extra interest section:

And for those of you who wanted to know more about setting up a batch in the middle of no where. Shane B. takes us through some of the basics for his batch that is less than 10 years old.

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December 2009, End of a Decade!

We all made it. 2010! We are safely planted in to the century after they said the world was going to end numerous times. I've been travelling around like a fool banking on it. Not really, but it's a good excuse to be a fool...

In the month leading up to the end of the decade I stocked celebs at the Premier of "the Lovely Bones", had Christmas with a surogate family and played on the beach in the Coromandel for New Years.

My first look at a Red Carpet Premier was that of "the Lovely Bones" by Peter Jackson in Wellington Monday Dec. 14, 2009. Very cool and exciting. I got a bit caught up in it once all the cameras started firing. I'm not up on the movie, but will see it. The Lovely Bones was filmed in Jan 2008 and actually scooped up some of the better people from AVATAR which continued to film in to Feb/March. For a town of 250,000 people Wellington sure does have some big things happen.

Crowd starting to build.

Susanne Sarandon signing autographs

Rhys Darby (Murray) of "Flight of the Conchords" fame taking a photo with a local.


Christmas, off to Langs Beach 1 hour or so north of Auckland. Shane invited me to join he and Laura and his family up in Langs Beach for Christmas. Lots of family and fun stuff to do. Great beach, fishing attempts, good grog and the food was awesome. Especially Uncle Allan's fresh exotic fruits, custard apples, yes! Thanks for the invite Donna and Warrick and hosting me Brett and Erica. Pure fun and comedy.

A quick stop in Taupo on the way up. Definitely recommend the natural hot springs that pour in to the river just up stream of Haka Falls.

Here's a quick vid of me at a jump in spot on Lake Taupo just before we got to Taupo (not connected to the hot springs).

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Langs Beach


Erica and Brett's Batch. The group getting into some Avocado and Tomato entrées.

Shane, Laura, myself on Christmas day

Setting up hooks for long line fishing.

Warrick, Miles and Allan adding squid bate to the hooks


"The Kid" guiding the line out as Warrick swims out 300 m or so with the end of the line and weight.

Unfortunately, I did not get any photos of the 100 fish we caught ;0)

Patenque, the drinking game version. Closest ball nominates drinks and furtherest takes drinks, plus variations.

More drinking games, Beer Pong. Rated for all ages... well 18 and up.

Midnight campfire on the beach.

Midnight swim for Brin after losing a beer chugging contest to "the Kid".

Left Langs Beach Dec 27 and stayed at Tracy's on my way to Coromandel for NYE. Went to AVATAR the movie I worked on for a couple of days in 2007. Remember the one you all asked me about, "what movie did you work on in NZ?" To date AVATAR has grossed 1.5 billion and will earned the most ever! Average story, but fantastic movie going experience. Don't miss it in 3D in the threaters!

Stopped in to the Auckland harbour also to see this awesome 50 m (165ft) Super Sailboat worth 25 million euros ($35 MM USD). We spoke with a cook who couldn't tell us who owned for fear of loosing his job, but did mention it only slept 12 guests (plus 12 crew). Those rooms must be amazing.

Cayman Islands flag where a lot of these boats live half the year. I think it's a tax thing.


Tairua and the Coromandel. Brad Anderson and crew invited me to the batch he and Uncle Geoff arranged for 5 days up to and including NYE.

Fishing with Brad, Geoff and Kerryn. Man those rocks were challenging to walk on with flip flops. I owe Brad a new weight, dammit.
The NYE crew, Richie, Me, Kerryn, Benson, Sarah, James, Andrew, Brad Sr, Dwight, Lisa, Geoff, Uncle John(met for a drink) and Chris.

Who's taking these incriminating photos?

Sitting on the beach watching the NYE fireworks.


After with live entertainment from Katia Demeester a true musician Benson found in the park on the walk home from the fire works. Best part of this picture is that no one can remember what I put in Kerryn's top?


Bring on 2010. It's going to be a good one.