Friday, February 02, 2007

Christmas and New Years in New Zealand

December 2006
My life was pretty hectic for 2 weeks after returning from India as there was a lot of work to catch up on. But Ross and I took off a couple of days before Christmas for a camping and fly fishing trip. The weather has been pretty bad in Christchurch with endless clouds, rain and wind. So I went online and found out where they were predicting sun and off we went! We ended up at the Awatere River north of Kaikoura, where we spent 2 nights and I received fly fishing lessons from Ross. Ross caught a 12-inch trout that he said was too small to keep and I didn’t catch anything. Then we went to the Buller River where we spent Christmas on a sandy outcropping covered with rocks, sand and tree debris. The birds were awesome in the morning. Christmas dinner did not include trout unfortunately but I made pizza over my little Whisperlite stove plus soup and steamed pudding! Then we listened to Christmas carols on my I-Pod. Very different from previous Christmases but lots of fun.
On the way home, we spent the last night on the Hurunui River and the last morning Ross caught an 18-inch trout. We took it home and Ross cooked trout plus broccoli, new potatoes and carrots fresh from his vegetable garden. What a feast! W decided that sharing one fishing rod was a little boring so I went and bought myself a Christmas present of a fly-fishing rod and a fishing vest to put all my flies, tipit, clippers, reading glasses etc in. So now we’re really set for New Years weekend!
For New Years we went up Arthur’s Pass and hiked into Lake Marymere. It was raining and cold but not as cold as a couple of hundred feet up the mountain beside us where it was snowing! After about 5 casts with my new rod, I was freezing so I decided to reach into my pocket for my gloves and at that moment I got a big strike! I was only holding on with one hand and I didn’t think to jerk the rod up quickly enough and the fish took off with my fly and all of my tippit! I guess I have some lessons to learn in knot tying! I had added an extra little knot after doing the required knot that joined the leader to the tippit. So I left that knot off the next time! I managed to get 2 more strikes at that lake but never landed anything! The last night we were at Lake Poerua (sp?) on the west coast and I saw 2 fish jump about 3 feet into the air. Quite a sight! But I still didn’t catch anything. I was a little relieved that I didn’t to tell the truth as I would have had to deal with it if I had!
I did finally catch a rainbow trout the next weekend but it was too small to keep (minimum is 30 cm/12 inches). I caught another one the next day that was also too small but it swallowed my fly and I mortally wounded it trying to get it out so I kept it and we had it for lunch. It was yummy! I was impressed that I managed to do everything myself without freaking out. It was surprisingly easy to clean – a much less complicated intestinal tract than a human! My apologies to the vegetarians and the squeamish who may be reading this.

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