Tuesday, March 25, 2008


We have been a busy little trio, Ill try and keep updating the blog, but its just too much fun doing all the fun stuff instead!!

Lets go back to Paddys day,

This is us having a look around Nelson on Paddys day. Its a really nice city (big town?) and there was a good bit of atmosphere on the streets, although not quite like home.

We popped into a pub for some lunch and I did what I said Id never do and ordered a pint of Guinness outside of Ireland. It didn't start well, The bar woman straight poured it in a single pour (!!) and she also poured it into a plastic "glass" that was not see through so I could not tell if it had settled yet.......... Gugs on the other hand got a perfectly poured pint into a real pint glass?? Not Happy, but she caught me on one of those days when I'm too chicken to give out to someone in the service industry. (everyday!) To be truthful, I've had worse pints in Ireland but I probably wont be doing it again, but I cant f*%king wait to have a decent scoop back home.....

Later that night we went to a cool bar called "The Maen Fiddler" in Nelson and had a few more pints, it was a great a bar and the first Irish bar I've ever been in while abroad. (I think?)

Nursing a slight hangover we went for a look around " The World of Wearable arts and car collection" Its basically 2 places, a car collection and a museum of crazy clothes. The clothers were pretty cool, but it was the cars that did it for me.. Above is a Cadillac Coupe De Ville (1957 I think?)

One of the last ever made John Cooper Minis. It has never been driven and isnt even registered. If this place gets broken into in the next couple of weeks and this is missing, I dont think they will have to look much futher than a certain Ms. Ratcliff.

This was my Highlight of the Collection, a 1937 Cord. I have never seen one in the metal and It was a real treat as they are SUPER rare, Id be surprised if most people had even heard of the make?

Its a crazy looking car, but just imagine how crazy it looked in 1937?

Gugs picking up some new underpants in the warehouse........

Charlies took this Photo!!

After a day relaxing we decided to do something a bit different,

We went for a horse ride in the countryside outside Nelson. This cool horse was called Smoky and was Gugs Horse for the day.

This is Charlie on Laurie. My Horse was called Volvo and had a 5 star Nccap safety rating.

Gordon Kavanagh of the ballyteague Mounted Police.

The trek was about 2 and half hours and went through some amazing countryside, passing along this cool river.

We stopped off in this beautiful meadow for a short rest before heading back to the farm. I had never really been horse riding before (drunkenly jumping from a wall onto the back of a horse in Spiddal does equal horse riding...) and I was a bit worried about me being given a tiny horse and me crushing it. Im not massive (6'3'', 95kg) but I doubt any of you would like me on your back for 2.5 hours, so I was very happy when I met Volvo:

This is Volvo. He is "18 hands, 1" Which makes him the tallest horse in Nelson!!! It was a great day and we are definitely gonna go for another ride before we leave New Zealand, maybe somewhere around where they filmed "Lord of the Rings"

After our day trekking we headed north to a place called Motueka which is the main town at the southern tip on the Abel Tasman National Park. Its a beautiful park which can only be accessed by treks or by the sea.

So we decided to rent 2 Kayaks, A double for Gugs and Charlie and a single one for myself. The reason I'm in the single one is that Ive done a fair bit of kayaking before and you need to know how to do self rescues if you capsize. (Capsize? Me? Never.....) Gugs and Charlie hadn't really done much Kayaking before so they got the safer and more stable double. You can see I'm clearly starting to make excuses for what happens later.....

We decided to go for 2 days staying over night in a campsite, We would travel north with the coastline to our west and get picked up on a beach and get brought back to base, this way we would not have to back track along the way we came giving us the chance to see as much as possible.

This is us in the middle of the sea having a snack break (we have been on the water for about 30mins at this stage, gugs was already on his 3rd sandwich, only another 47.5hrs to go...)

Each Kayak got one of these pelican boxes, they keep things dry if they get in the water so that where my cameras went!

Our 1st Beach stop. Not bad if I say so myself!

The sun had poked its head out so it was a good time to put on some sunscreen.

This is the view from the top of a very dangerous track on the top of an Island which is looking back across to the coast we are kayaking up.

Wanna know what this is? Well, that is the "track" we climbed up to get these photos.. Myself and Gugs had a few scratches by the time we got down...

Clear Skys, deep blue seas, what could be better??

We may look nice and calm here, but we have just gotten round a point called "The Mad Mile" and I capsized three (yes, 3) times, It was my own fault although the wind had seriously picked up as we passed around the headland, I turned around to Charlie to say something and didn't keep an eye on the big wave coming side-on. In I went!! So we got a chance to practice our rescue, they pull along side my kayak (now the right way up) and Gugs braces the kayak while I gracefully slide back in. Easy. Well it was till I got too eager to get back paddling and didn't clear my boat of water, So I was too unstable and went over again, They came to the rescue again, I cleared the boat, but was still shaky and went over yet again, 3rd time lucky, I got back in, calmed myself, cleared the boat and made it into shore....... Wrecked.

After a quick break we got back on the water, and made it to our camp site for the night. The wind had picked up quite a bit and it wasn't the easiest evening kayaking Ive ever had. Charlie & Gugs were not really enjoying it either and it wasn't really turning out like i had planned..... Stupid 20knot winds.

Anyway we had made it to camp and it was a seriously beautiful place and was totally off the beaten track.

This is us setting up camp and cursing the fact that we didn't bring any beers!!!

Although we were not cursing having a clear head the next day!! This is pretty much the last photo I took that day as to cut a pretty long story short (We will no doubt tell you the long version when we get home, but my mammy is reading this and she gets easily scared..) Lets just say the weather got worse and we (me) made a bad decision and came into the wrong beach which combined with the worsening weather made things pretty scary. We managed to make it to the next beach over (after trying to flag down some water taxis) and we got safely back to base. Lesson learned: 18-20 Knot winds + Kayaks = Not a lot of Fun. Its funny to look back on now, but at the time we were not really laughing. Moving swiftly along......

How do you wreck a beautiful view? by sticking a massive power plant right next to the beach.... This place is called Westport. It started to rain about 20 miles outside the town, and didn't stop raining till we left. Very much like the Westport back home...

Charlie + No Hair straightener = Crazy Charlie (I think she looks great like that!)

Westport was the first town we came across on the west coast, its a very different looking landscape compared to what we had seen before and it was amazing to see the difference in such a small distance.

Aston Martin or Van? Aston Martin or Van? Hmmmm that's a tough one?

Crazy Coastline.

We stopped at a place called pancake rocks and we happened to time it perfectly as it was high tide, so all the blow holes and stuff were at their wildest.

Big Rocks made look very small by massive waves.

Serious Blow hole.

Did you know that New Zealand has no native 4 legged mammals? Every single one of them has been introduced by settlers. Here is a massive pig. (on the right.)


Giant eel. I fed this one.

Crazy Goat that I loved.

Man with a Van. (but not much of a plan...)

Everything you have ever wanted in a store..... Now don't lie, Who hasn't wanted some carpet when your buying gifts for friends?

Normally its the other way round. It was a really cool bar though.

On our way into Franz Josef town. These single lane bridges are kinda scary, especially the ones that have train tracks in the middle of them, What happens if you meet a train going the other way?

Check out the colour of the river! Its that colour because the water is run off from the Near by Franz Josef Glacier. I wonder how cold it is?

This is the town "Franz Josef Glacier" and in the background is the actual Glacier by the same name.

Moody Glacier picture.

Its very hard to get the scale of it in photos. Its actually 1km across at the surface, and about 13km long.

Charlie & the Glacier. we are still about 1km away from it too.

Gugs & Charlie seeing who can keep their hand in the water the longest. About 3 seconds it turns out, Charlie won. Its VERY VERY VERY cold. Like Liquid nitrogen cold.

Everything is going really good with the van, although we seem to be killing quite a huge number of insects everyday.

The Van now has a name: Growler Wildcat. I wanted "Kowalski" (Film - Vanishing point) but I was shot down as the 2 heathens im travelling with have never seen it... Shame on them.

Im getting behind in all the stuff we are doing, so sorry if the updates are a little rushed!!

We miss everyone and cant wait to get home, but we are also slowly falling in love with New Zealand and just travelling around in the van, like Knackers. (Can I say Knackers on the internet?, I don't think they really use computers do they?)

See ya!

Sean, Charlie & Gugs

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