My daughter Mel, had booked a batch up at Big Bay on the Awhitu peninsular. The two boys where to bring a friend each but as it turned out Bens mate could not come, so it was just three lads, Mel and me. Oh and the cats. The plan was to let the cats out and see how they went. Up to now, they seem to stay near to the bus.
All packed and we set off around 5ish on Friday afternoon. I went ahead as the bus does not like hills very much which needs investigation as it has a six cylinder 4 litre diesel in it so it should pull the 4500 kilos that we weigh all up.
Anyway, go there around six so just on an hour. Mel arrived about ten minutes later as she had had to go and pick James and his mate up on the way.
Lovely evening sat on the lawn outside the batch few beers and pulled chicken for tea. The boys played cricket but were desperate to get the small boat out on the water. It was a bit late in the afternoon so we convinced them that tomorrow would be a better idea. It would give us a bit of time to find everything, like petro and two-stroke oil and get the fishing rods ready. So just a lazy walk on the beach before bed. This is when we found the little fenced off are on the beach were Dotterels were nesting, so that put pay to letting the cats out unattended. They will have to be on their leads or in the big cage. I went to bed and left the kids watching movies or playing video games. Usual night routine now, up around 2 to feed the cats then 5ish to take them for a walk then back to bed till 8 and up for breakfast.
BBQ breakfast this time. Bacon, sausage butties. And some strong tea. Then organised the little boat and fishing gear. We had been told to go out about three hundred meters off shore to where a motor launch was moored and fish from there. As there were no instructions for the little two-stroke out-board, we get the boys in the boat, after mounting the engine I pushed it, in to deeper water so we didn’t ground the propeller and pulled the starting rope, away it went. Now the problem was, there did not seem to be a neutral, and so once the engine was running the boat was under way. You also find yourself standing in knee-deep water with a propeller bussing around your toes. Little bit scary that, so engine off, in to the boat and start again. Three large men in a tiny boat, all a bit wobble and trying to get the kids to sit still was a challenge. Anyway we start the engine and off we go.
As we neared the aforementioned launch, I decided as there was no neutral and no reverse I would not try to get too close for fear of doing some damage. Slowed the engine throttle down and the motor just stopped and it was obvious it was not going to start again. Idea! Let us get the fishing rods out and the lads can fish while the engine cools and maybe it will start in ten minutes. If not we have paddles.
Now I am no angler but these two lads clueless to say the least. There was also the fact that we did not check the fishing gear before we left as it was all set up. What I did not realize was that both reels were in free fall so if you let go of the crank handle the line paid out. I was more interested in getting the motor started as we had now drifted a good way. Trying to explain to the lads how to use the reels verbally and pulling the starting cord and fiddling with the choke and throttle was, well, interesting. Success! Got the motor running and headed back to the launch. I ran at quiet a low speed and told the boys to drop the lures in and let them run behind the boat. Somehow, they did not grasp the concept so when the engine finial cut out again we had two rods with line tangled around the tops. I got them all sorted and set the drag on the reels and we started fishing. Well the boys did. I turned my attention to the little engine. I could see nothing to help me but from the diagrams on the throttle, it looked like the propeller should only engage at a set RPM this was not happening. There were two little knobs which I think adjusted the petrol air mixture and a choke lever. Told the lads that if we started the engine we would head in or get to paddling distance. I was not happy with the prospect of drifting in to the Tasman Sea (slight exaggeration there).
Our fishing trip ended with the boys paddling and then swimming the last 100 meters ashore. No fish and one broken line.
Rest of the day was lying on the beach, although the weather had come in and it was overcast and rained on and off but still warm though to sit out. The lads had found the ores for the boat and an anchor so they were allowed to go and play in shore. I also discovered the problem with the engine. The filler cap had an air tight seal which had to be released so as not to create a vacuum in the tank. Didn’t tell the boys as they seemed happy enough with the ores. BBQ tea and a cold glass of “The Ned”. Not a white wine man but very pleasant with the nice surroundings.
The Guy in the batch next door was going to put nets out and invited the lads to meet him on the beach at midnight to harvest his catch. Yer like that’s going to happen.
Sunday we all went up to Manukau Light house. Pretty wild looking that there Tasman Sea. All back to the batch to pack up and lock up. Mel and the boys set off home and I decided I would stay parked up where I was for another night and travel Monday.
Monday. Breakfast pack up the bus ready to roll and also got a couple of flounders from the guy next door. He had had a successful fishing night.