Monday, April 29, 2019

Nutrition, Ahipara, and 90-Mile Beach

Some of you have asked about the way we eat. We usually have a big meal late-morning and then something lighter later in the afternoon, broadly following the nutritional approach of Iowa physician Terry Wahls, MD, which means eating nine cups of vegetables and a little fruit every day.

Dr Wahls reversed her debilitating MS not with the latest drugs from the Cleveland Clinic, though she tried those first, but by identifying 31 micronutrients needed by mitochondria, the energy producers in our cells, to function optimally. I pulled this list from this website, but you can read further or listen online to Dr Wahls' remarkable story.
  • 3 cups of leafy green vegetables, such as kale, collards, chard, spinach or lettuce, which provide vitamins A, B, C and K.
  • 3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, mushrooms and asparagus, because they support the removal of toxins from the body.
  • 3 cups of colorful vegetables and fruits (ideally three different colors each day), because they're full of antioxidants. They have to be colored all the way through, so apples and bananas don't count as colored, but berries, peaches, citrus, beets and carrots do.
You also eat well-sourced protein and seaweed and avoid grains. There's no question that when you're focused on eating nine cups of vegetables every day (18 for both of us) there's not much room for naughtiness (sugar, bread, and all the other nutrient-free stuff). Do we occasionally eat off the path? Of course. And we buy a lot of produce.

We're in a lovely campground in Ahipara, tucked into the shelter of the trees. It's been blustery today.

Doesn't this flower look like a face?

Entry road to the camp.

90-mile beach, which is actually 55 miles long. Talk about windy. This is another surfers' paradise, with waves for miles and bordering sand dunes. After battling the wind on a short walk decided instead to hike into town for a flat white.

Wind-blown but happy.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Postcards: Rawene to Ahipara

We break camp 10ish and head to the ferry. They run every half hour, even on Sunday. A photographer was setting up his tripod. Am I in your way?, I asked. No, he said, I'm just waiting for a good shot.

Drying its wings?

The 15-minute trip is so short you can see where it docks on the other side.

Our turn. I like ferries. They're tidy and relatively simple, though this little example is a far cry from the BC ferries of the Pacific Northwest.
 You pay on board.

Our solar panel.

Fellow passenger Buddy gave me plenty of kisses (the dog, not the guy), but I think that's because he smelled salami on my hand.

On the other side, we had a fine drive through the rolling hills of farmland and forest. Rounding a bend, two skillful, hard-working dogs were keeping this group right in line.

Today's route (click here if you can't view). Ahipara is at the southern end of 90-Mile Beach, where we're camping, and we'll have more snaps from here tomorrow.

Friday, April 26, 2019

(Extremely) Slow Travel

Today we walked the tiny town of Rawene (pop 471).

Every time I wonder whether there will be enough to see or do on a simple walk I'm reminded that walking connects us to a place in a way that driving never can.

This campground is run by an extended family whose industrious members seems always to be doing something. One of them came trundling down the road on his mower as we headed for the mangrove boardwalk loop, stopping to say hello and talk about how the family moved a few years back to buy and manage the camp. He was just as nice as he looks.

Walking gives you time to get closer to a flowering tree.

What I know about mangroves could fit in a thimble. The walk was not only edifying, it was relaxing and instructive to think about the deep adaptation mangroves have had to make to survive.

The tide comes in and the tide goes out, relentless salty pressure on the mangrove, uniquely equipped to survive and reproduce.

Water surrounds Rawene.

Here's a map (click here if you can't view). Note the short car ferry route across the Hokianga Harbor. We'll be taking that 15-minute ride tomorrow.

Time for a flat white at the Boatshed Cafe.

A classic NZ villa, curled porch roof and all.

We stopped at an op-shop run by this church. We bought a $2 storage jar and then the woman wanted to give me food. Have you ever noticed how often people with the least are the most generous?

After several hours moseying around a bookstore, grocery, and fish monger, we headed home, filled with the sights and sounds of Saturday in Rewene.

Tenacious geranium.

Campground sunset

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Don't Block The View: Rawene Remote-Controlled Caravan Positioning

We drove just 15 km down the road today to stay in this sweet little campground in Rawene. When we pulled in to our chosen spot, the view took my breath away.

To have that view from our table inside, we need to turn the camper around. Often we can just pull in and unhook, but clearly that won't work with all the water below. So Art got out the remote controller that came with this updated camper and here's what happened.
(Click here if you can't view vid.)
It's magic

Campgrounds can be as different as night and day. Someone's put a lot of thought into this one. Check out the eating/sipping area where you can take in the view.

There's also a little swimming pool.

There's Art over at the grill, which means steak and vegetables for first meal. Happy day, campers...

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Opononi on the Hokianga Harbor

We're camping here on the shores of the Hokianga Harbor, a big beautiful blue slash in the map, with astonishingly high sand dunes across the water. 

For a wee settlement, it has a nice bar/restaurant down the way, where we walked for a flat white. (BTW, several alert readers asked the age of Tane Mahuta from yesterday's post and my research says, remarkably, between 1250 and 2500 years old.)

You can get a boat from the dock to take you across to the giant sand dunes. Some people boogie board down them. I was contemplating this, but think our timing's off, since today was blustery and tomorrow is a holiday.

Look at the cars! We are definitely seeing the effects of the school holidays, which run through this weekend. Many people take off the post-Easter week because everyone gets Anzac Day off tomorrow.
Anzac Day is the solemn day of remembrance of those Australian and New Zealand Army Corps soldiers who have fought and died for their country. It is marked annually on 25 April, the anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War
On a lighter note, Opononi became famous in the mid-1950s when it was visited by an extremely friendly dolphin called Opo, who let children ride on her back. There's a statue of Opo in town.

Opo’s short life is described in this illustrated children’s book, which tells the story of the playful dolphin and the people who loved her. (Ed note: and don't we love the malleability of language?)

The story goes like this...
Opo, a young female bottlenose dolphin, enchanted the residents of the Northland seaside town of Opononi for 10 months, from June 1955 to March 1956. First noticed in Hokianga Harbour by farmer and boat owner Piwai Toi, Opo cautiously began to approach the beach near the Opononi wharf in spring and early summer to make contact with locals.

Once the first newspaper articles and photos appeared in December 1955, Opononi became a magnet for holidaymakers wanting to see her. Hordes travelled by car or bus along dusty, unsealed roads to stay in the camping ground or the hotel, both of which quickly became booked out.

Opo enjoyed being with children most, juggling beach balls or beer bottles on her snout, but she had her favourites among the adults as well (more here)...

Opo's grave

There's a beautifully rendered mural in town telling the history of this place. Note giant moa legs below.

We had a nice walk along the harbor, clouds scudding, showering, rainbow-ing.

Here's a map (these maps never show up in e-mail, so if you can't see click here):