Friday, 15 March 2013

Auckland Zoo

This weekend was going to be one to remember and nothing was going to change that.

Saturday started with an early morning wakeup to watch the Chiefs playing over in South Africa.  I new that we were going to win but didn't think it would be as close as it was.  Having watched my team chalk up a win I was in a good mood as we climbed into the car and headed north.

Chelsea has an attachment to all zoos and Auckland is one of her favourite. When she found out we were heading to the zoo and even better, doing a Zoom Experience she was like a kid a christmas. The smile on her face went from ear to ear and she kept doing this funny dance.

Auckland ZooAuckland ZooAuckland ZooAuckland ZooOn the way to Auckland we experienced 3 seasons, beautiful sunshine, rain and wind. Even if it was pouring down and blowing a gale it wouldn't have affected how amazing the experience was.  We arrived at the zoo at 9.30 just as the gates were opening.  Taking the opportunity to see the animals waking up we made beeline for the tiger as they can always be found lazying about. Then it was the alligator, orangoutangs, sealions, penguins, rino... well you get the point. Even though we only had a short time before the tour started we still managed to see a lot of the animals waking up and starting their day.

Then it was almost time, 10:35 and man did it go slow. It felt like the night before christmas, when you just want the morning to come only time goes so slow. This was the same. We had to wait 10 minutes which felt like an eternity.  We were greeted by a lovely lady Harriet who was going to take us down to the enclosure and take photos.  She was a super friendly and energetic person to take with and had lots of interesting things to say.  We got to see the Auckland Zoo Shoe Shop which stocked the best in gumboots.  With a pair of gummies on we were ready to get our hands dirty.

Auckland ZooHarriet took us down to see Burma and told us lots of interesting things about the zoo and the elephant.  After learning lots of new things we were then takin into Burma's sleeping area and meet the very friendly zoo keepers.  We were told why its important to scrub down an elephant and watched as Burma was lead into her 'shower'.

Auckland ZooAuckland ZooSeeing this amazing animal so close and hearing her speaking was a moment I'll have forever.  She is such a beautiful animal with a fun attitude.  We were given half a banana to feed her so that she knew we were friendly and not a vet.  Didn't really have a problem meeting as Burma loves her food and once she realised we had some, we were friends.

Andy, the keeper, let us into the enclosure and we got to give Burma a quick pat before he got her to lie down.  Watching such a large animal get on the ground is a sight. Every movement was careful and slow as she doesn't want to move her 3,500kg twice.  Once on the ground she was given a pile of fresh veg's and I was reminded of a scene in a greek move with a lord or lady lying on a bed while being feed and cared for.

Auckland ZooWe were invited back into the enclosure, given a scrubbing brush and set to work. To begin with Chelsea and I were in awe. Not wanting to hurt this beautiful animal we were apprehensive about scrubbing to ruff. As it turned out Burma's skin is really tough. To touch it felt like leather and her hair was really bristly.  To say we enjoyed this experience is an understatement. It was amazing being able to help out the keepers and get hands on with an endangered species.  Burma so super relaxed, lying on her side eating and drinking while we scrubbed.

After her wash was over Burma was lead out the back to have her nails painted and her broken tuss cleaned out.  She was then lead out the front where Andy gave a talk to the general public.  While this was on we were in the enclosure with another keepers asking a raft of questions.  The keepers are so friendly and easy to talk, with you genuinely felt welcomed.

Auckland Zoo
After the talk we left Burma to relax and got to have last chat with the keepers before they had to get back to their duties.  Andy was a real down to earth guy who clearly has a close bond with Burma.

This is a day that I will never forget. Thanks Auckland Zoo, Andy, Harriet and everyone that works hard looking after and caring for the animals at the zoo.

Auckland Zoo

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Mystery Weekend

With another weekend fast approaching it was looking like I wasn't going to have anything exciting planned. I set myself the goal of planning a trip somewhere or at least a hike.

After a little searching I came up with an idea and started searching the net to see if I was going to be able to pull off a Mystery Weekend.  After several phone calls and booking the tickets the plan was layed down and an awesome weekend was to be had.

To make things even better Chelsea had know idea what I had planned or where we were going.  I decided to leave her some clues along each day and make her guess.  Its pretty clear that I like tramping and geocaching so I tried to make the hints related to those activities.

Clue One: pack a bag for you weekend ahead, don't forget your shoes and a map.

It wasn't long before Chelsea and others started thinking that we were going caching or on a long tramp.

Clue Two: We depart at 10:45, don't worry its not a long walk but you will be getting muddy.

This stumped her as she knew we were not flying anywhere and now not tramping... but getting muddy??

Clue Three: This one is a little harder but lets just say it is a little slice of Asian culture.

That was all the clues that Chelsea needed. She came home from school with a huge smile on her face. I asked her if she had an idea as to what we were doing. She said she had a good idea but didn't want to guess incase she was wrong and was then disappointed.

Needless to say, after all her researching, she was right... For our Mystery weekend we are.... well you'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


Just happened to be looking at my blog and noticed that I now have 888 views. Thats not to back considering ive been doing this blog for less that a year.

Will keep on blogging and slowly get closer to my 1,000 post.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

School camp

After 3 days at Narrows Christian Camp I find myself lying on the hard school stage absolutely exhausted and looking forward to getting home. Chelsea was running late this morning and wasn't able to leave the car for me.

The past 3 days have gone by very quickly. I was a little apprehensive at first thinking that some of the students would play up or not be interested in the different activities but I was wrong. Everyone pulled together and tried all the different activities. There were people eating foods for the first time, doing sports for the first time and sleeping away from home for the first time.

The first round of activities showed that the archery was very popular as was the go-carts and trolleys. I was surprise that the waterside wasn't up to standard.  There was lots for kids coming off the slide with cuts, bumps and bruises but they were having so much fun they didn't really mind.

Now the different meals were as camp meals should be. Large and filling. We had chicken drumsticks, nachos, brownie, raps, pancakes and all sorts of other delicious foods.  After watching some of the students eating at camp im pretty sure they will be going home weighing more.  There was one student... lets just call them 'Guts', who went up for seconds and then dessert.  Guts was always excited when it was meal time and they seemed to aways be eating. Whats annoying is Guts is the size of a bean pole, why can't I eat that much and be that skinny?

One of the best activities was the burmer trail. I always enjoy giving the kids a night experience that is scary and this was no different. As night approached and it started to get dark the students were sent to the hall.  One group at a time were sent down the long and dark driveway. Their experience began with me jumping out at them and showing them to the start of the trail.  With parent jumping out and strange noises there was definitely terror in the air. I'd love to say that all the student completed the trail but with our scare skills at full we had some pulling out before they even started. I always enjoy watching the big tough boys who say they aren't scared cower over who goes first.

Another highlight was the paddle down the Waikato river. I was lucky enough to go twice and am paying for it now. My shoulders are sore but it was so much fun I'd do it again. The kids worked really well together and enjoyed jumping off at the wharf.

All in all it was a great 3 days.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Tree caching

Another weekend comes to an end and again I haven't done a massive amount of geocaching but did get some really challenging ones.

For a long time there has been a couple of caches up in Huntly that required me to use abseiling gear. I haven't been able to get them as clearly I do not have the proper equipment. Received a txt from Jane on Friday saying her husband was going to climb the trees and get the caches, did I want to take along. There was a little apprehension as I was suppose to be going to Raglan to the family camp. A quick talk with Chelsea and we decided I had the time to cache before heading to Raglan.

We arrived at the first cache on Saturday morning and were all excited to finally be getting these caches. Steve, Richard, Jane and I all held our breaths as it took several attempts to hook the rope over the branches. One a good line was found we tied James to the end and pulled him up to the top.

Apart from the caching the weekend went by fast and uneventful we attended the camp and had dinner out there before heading home. I watched the rugby and was thrilled to see my team destroy the cheeters.

Sunday was a little frustrating as I had to organise the orienteering for camp. Wished I had of been told a little earlier about it and it was a little bit more organised. I love camp but like to be full prepared. Don't really feel ready this time but I know the kids will have a ball.

With my bags packs and everything organised I'm now ready for bed and what will no doubt be a busy week