We’re into the last remnants of summer in New Zealand. A lot of time Aidan and I have spent fishing (boat, kayak, rocks) and spearfishing. I’ve mainly let Aidan cut his teeth with a pole spear and I guess he’ll soon move on to a spear gun for the more robust species. At one stage we were in the waters of one of my favourite dive grounds, Aidan with the spear and I following him with the catch bag (visions of how my wife through the years has been following me with a catch bag). At one stage he turned around, telling me he had just seen a shark. Okay, not what I necessarily wanted to hear. Yes, if we swim this way we might still see it again! Err no, I think we’ll go this way. The aspiring marine biologist later explained to me that it was “just” a school shark. He’s turning 13 in a couple of weeks and is actually already old enough to get a scuba licence, however we think he should wait a couple of years still with that. Talking about marine life, the whole family recently went snorkeling at the Goat Island marine reserve, which is always worth a visit now and then. In the nearby township of Leigh I saw the local fishing competition advertised, where the biggest prize would be going to the most “average snapper”. I think that’s a brilliant way of encouraging leaving the big breeders otherwise so often seen lined up at competition weigh-ins.
This little eagle ray curiously came up to me and looked me straight in the face before it shot off again. Below I’m pictured with a stargazer, or when it’s sold for the table it’s usually called monkfish. In Norway we have a similar, larger variety called ‘breiflabb’ (directly translated ‘wide mouth’). This summer there appears to have been more stargazers about in shallower waters, as they’re often encountered at depths where they’re out of reach for freediving spearfishos.
I snapped the picture on the left of my mate Craig coming up from a scallop dive. He has since stuffed up both his fishing & diving this summer with a bad shoulder injury whilst playing touch rugby. I hate to say it but afraid it’s our age.. This injury is also seriously putting his upcoming hunting season in jeopardy.
Pictured above Finn and Aidan are pulling the net to catch piper (garfish) off Taurikura beach (where we used to live and still regularly visit). The piper is good bait, often irresistible for Yellowtail Kingfish, and it’s also a nice eating fish.
On the dog front, I’m happy to report that my mate Geir’s pointer female Barentsvidda’s Wind Cries Mary has got her 1st Open prize in the Norwegian winter trials, and consistently performing the way he wants his dogs to run; Big and hard and with sharp and accurate bird work. She is by the Italian Grande Quete star Titan and Barentsvidda’s Mafia.
In Australia a very interesting English setter litter is expected to be born in mid May. The sire is Runanset Desperado (Wingfield Will – Northstream Alinghi) and the dam is Runanset Rodeo Rose (Upperwood Quailpoint – Northstream Alinghi). It’s a combination that I’m tempted by myself. It has close line breeding on “Woody”, who is the sire of Will and Alinghi and as well on Moulin, who’s Alinghi’s mother. Quailpoint also has some interesting dogs behind him including his sire Archie Me Lad at Upperwood and grandmother Sally, a litter sister of the highly merited Irish dog New Edition.
Pictured below is Bella photographed exactly one month ago today. The day she turned 12 years old coincided with the annual Paradise Duck shooting (culling) weekend. Normally in late February it’s very hot and we’d get both sunburned and dehydrated. Not this year, when it was bucketing down. Bella doesn’t mind being wet though!