Monthly Archives: April 2016

Waiheke – Rocky Bay

For the ANZAC long weekend, Jasmine and I decided to rent out a bach on Waiheke and do a bit of hiking and a bit of wine tasting. Since we had been to the west, north, and east of the island, only one direction remained – South! And, as it turned out, we saved the best direction for last. Rocky Bay was quiet and peaceful, close to a number of wineries, and there was a bunch of great hiking in the area, especially in Whakanewha Park.

And we have now gone to about 12 of the 20 wineries on the island, with a favorite so far of Jurassic Ridge. Not quite as crazy as all of the Santa Clara parks, but something. :) Overall, we had a delightful weekend and we will certainly be going back to Waiheke again.

This is the largest spider I have seen in NZ. not quite a tarantula, but it is something.

This is the largest spider I have seen in NZ. Not quite a tarantula, but it is something.

Overlooking ANZAC bay on ANZAC day.

Overlooking ANZAC Bay on ANZAC Day.

And another panoramic view looking east from Jurassic Ridge. Waiheke is nothing but Panoramic views.

And another panoramic view looking east from Jurassic Ridge. Waiheke is nothing but panoramic views.

The bay to the west of our rented Bach. The sailors on that boat were living it up fishing all day, it looked like fun.

The bay to the west of our rented bach. The sailors on that boat were living it up fishing all day; it looked like fun.

One leaping jasmine! Some of our trails were questionably trails.

One leaping Jasmine! Some of our trails were questionably trails.

And one pensive Jasmine. It rained a fair bit on Sunday but we were in the forest for most of it,  so just a light drizzle for us.

And one pensive Jasmine. It rained a fair bit on Sunday, but we were in the forest for most of it. So just a light drizzle for us.

Lake Rotopounamu

When my parents were in NZ, we also passed through the Taupo area. On a recommendation from the hotel clerk, we went hiking around Lake Rotopounamu. This is a small lake south of Lake Taupo with a trail circumnavigating the lake. The trail itself is pretty easy; we breezed through in less than the posted travel time with plenty of photo stops. It is also a really pretty hike that I would definitely do again. Our only complaint was that it was a bit foggy so we weren’t able to fully appreciate the scenery.

The typical trail for this hike. It's located in Tongariro National Park, so plenty of flora and fauna!

The typical trail for this hike. It’s located in Tongariro National Park, so plenty of flora and fauna.

The first view of the lake. I thought the fog added to the look, but I'd like to go back on a clear day.

The first view of the lake. I thought the fog added to the look, but I’d like to go back on a clear day.

Red Cabbage pH Indicator

Both because science is fun and because it was a rainy day, I did some kitchen chemistry! Specifically, I had heard that you could leach pH indicating dyes out of various plants and that red cabbage works well. I think this is probably related to the hydrangea colour indicating the soil acidity, but I’m not certain on that. So maybe I am doing engineering – not science. :) So step one is to buy cabbage and make coleslaw  – maybe I am now cooking and not doing engineering. :) Then I cut up two cups of the red cabbage and put it in a bowl with 2 cups of boiling water. After the water has steeped for 5 minutes, pour the now purple water into a storage container. This is literally all of the steps. Now the pH indicator is ready to use. The purple colour is a neutral solution. As a solution becomes more basic, the solution turn blue, then green, then yellow but I don’t know what household chemicals are basic enough for yellow. As the solution becomes more acidic, it turns more red.

Cabbage - straight out of Sto Helit

Cabbage – straight out of Sto Helit.

The dye slowly leaches out in the hot water. The cabbage smell rapidly leaches out.

The dye slowly leaches out in the hot water. The cabbage smell rapidly leaches out.

Neutral Violet / Purple

Neutral Violet / Purple

Slightly acidic red (Dilute White Vinegar pH ~4)

Slightly acidic red (Dilute White Vinegar pH ~4)

Slighty basic solution (saturated baking soda pH~10)

Slightly basic solution (Saturated Baking Soda pH~10)

The colour change is rapid and surprisingly engaging. Other than just the fun of science, I plan on using the ph indicator to test my garden soil for acidity to know if I need to add lime or sulfur for next year. Plus, you can make litmus paper which is a task for next week.

Riddles on the Hike

While Jasmine and I were hiking through the Waitakeres, I made up a bunch of riddles to entertain Jasmine and I and thought I would share them. The answers will be at the bottom. Font is the same colour as the background; highlight to show. Note that these are riddles and there is some poetic license. In addition, at least one is probably a bit too personalized for Jasmine and me.

1: I am that which you cannot see, I hold your life inside of me.
Upon occasion you break me out, though never out to town show me about.

2: From the forest all chewed up, In a bind you’ll use me up.
Dye me in a special way, and I’ll reveal what you want to say.

3: From a supernova to the Earth’s core, without me man wouldn’t go far.

4: A treasure guarded by a muscled goon, core of dust in a singly hinged room.

5: I roam a soft green field surrounded by wood.
I knock my brothers, prodded by others
Til I am the only one left.

6: I call a man who has a plan
He comes to my house and rummages about
Goes to my friends and rummages again
And then a baby comes out.
What am I?

7: Big and small, knobbled and cut
Brass in your hand, numbers in fibre
What am I?

8: Traversing on a deep dark sea
I reflect back some of that which is given to me
Following laws we now know
Appearing to wander aimlessly above and below

9: Protective sword not for show
Guarding from man, beast or demon below
Stuck to my post, keeping out most
From sweet treat or scent they crave

10: Fabric and frame
Silk and bamboo
Tied to the ground
I soar over you

11: A burning face out of the sea
No flippers on him but half a skin

12: An upright canoe far from the sea
Not fully formed trapped inside me
Inching up towards the sky
Unwatching while all manner of creatures go by.

Answers

1: A Backpack

2: Paper (the dye is ink)

3: Iron

4: A pearl

5: A cue ball (or any billiard ball)

6: A flower (the man that comes is a bee, and the baby is the seed formed by a pollinated flower)

7: A key

8: A planet (the Greek word for planet is wanderer)

9: A thorn

10: A kite

11: Lloyd in a shorty wetsuit after swimming (my beard is super red in sunlight when wet)

12: A tree that will be cut down and made into a canoe.

Hillary Trail South Days 2&3

The majority of day 2 was taken up by hiking along the beach from Whatipu to Karekare. Needless to say, we didn’t rush ourselves as it was a delightful day to hang out on the beach. It was still a tough slog with 8 km on a loose sand beach with full packs. On the plus side, we made time go by a little quicker by making up riddles. Or I should say that Lloyd made up riddles while Jasmine guessed. I think riddle generation is directly tied to puns and, thus, Jasmine didn’t want much to do with making up riddles.

The hike overall was a delight the rest of day 2 and the first half of day 3. Then we hit the eastern half of the trail again and it got to be excessively muddy and poorly maintained. There were large wash outs and muddy pits on steep slopes which verged on dangerous at times, especially for twisted ankles. Overall, I don’t think we will hike the eastern part of the trail again (the Parua Trail), but we will certainly be back to the rest. Quite a nice way to spend a weekend in my opinion, if a bit tiring.

Ninepin rocks at the Whapitu beach. I need to read up on Maori mythology, but I imagine this rock and the straights into Manukau harbor play a  role.

Ninepin Rock at Whapitu Beach. I need to read up on Maori mythology, but I imagine this rock and the straights into Manukau Harbor play a role.

The view down onto Karekare beach. A much clearer day than  the last time we were out here.

The view down onto Karekare Beach. A much clearer day than the last time we were out here.

The trail has a few low tide access bit that are much faster than the alternate routes. I know this looks fine but we beat the time by 15 minute here. The beach is quite shallow and we watch the tide come up to shore at walking pace. It was surreal.

The trail has a few low tide access bits that are much faster than the alternate routes. I know this looks fine, but we beat the tide by 15 minutes here. The beach is quite shallow and we watched the tide come up to shore at walking pace. It was surreal.

This was the trail in some sections. If anything it was both muddier and steeper than it appears in the image.

This was the trail in some sections. If anything, it was both muddier and steeper than it appears in the image.

Karamatura waterfalls. We are 100% coming back on some random day and swimming in the pond at the base of the waterfall. This is probably the prettiest place I have been to yet in NZ.

Karamatura waterfalls. We are 100% coming back on some random day and swimming in the pond at the base of the waterfall. This is probably the prettiest place I have been to yet in NZ.