Speedy’s (Rowan Marshall) Birthday in Whangamata. Fishing on the Big Boat

After the Great Barrier Island trip, I hung out in Auckland at the Uneuku Lodge, the same hostel that I stayed at for a month when I first arrived.  I needed to catch up on work, the blog, looking for work in Australia, where I’m thinking of going to next.  I caught up with some old friends, and even got a chance to fix up and clean out the van.

For the weekend, I planned to head out to Whangamata, which is at the base of the coromandal peninsula.  This area is well known for its very good sand bank left, and quality beach breaks on north east swells.  I was invited to this town because it was Rowan (Speedy) Marshall’s Birthday.  Speedy in one of the guys that I stayed with in Dunedin.  He was having a party at his families batch (kiwi word for vacation house) and was planning to take the family boat out for a fishing day trip.

Marshall Family Batch

Marshall Family Batch

View from the batch

View from the batch

I was super excited to check out the town and get a fish in since I haven’t really had a chance to do any fishing while I’ve been here.  I had also heard roomers about the boat, and it sounded like a pretty nice setup.  I headed down a day before everyone else and got to meet Speedy’s parents and had a mellow night hanging out before the day of debauchery.  For dinner we had white bait fritters, which I already experienced in the south island, but these  where even better because they where home cooked.  I had a comfy bed to sleep in, which was a treat as I have been living on couches and out of a van for over 3 months now.

The next morning we went to the beach and ran to the store for supplies before the rest of the party showed up.  The beach is amazing, but there was absolutely no swell.  So the only thing we could think of doing was to start drinking.  Speedy is a man from my own heart, and we both love Jameson Irish whiskey, so we started the day off with that.  Once the rest of the guys arrived, it was pretty full on and the rest of the day and night get pretty fuzzy.

Whangamata Beach North

Whangamata Beach North

Whangamata Beach South

Whangamata Beach South

Whangamata

Whangamata

The next morning we all woke up, and headed out to the boat for a day of fishing.  I was super excited, and when I saw the vessel we were embarking on, I knew it was going to be a memorable day.

The Andari, The Marshall Family Boat

The Andari, The Marshall Family Boat

The Andari is a 48 foot Riveria Boat.  Speedy on deck doing his best boat pose.

The Andari is a 48 foot Riveria Boat. Speedy on deck doing his best boat pose.

On way out of the marina

On way out of the marina

Captain Pete's Wheel House

Captain Pete's Wheel House

Once we got out onto the fishing grounds, we noticed these large splashes and disturbances in the water.  I was told that these where called work-ups.  Its where larger fish work bait and school fish up to the surface and all have a feed.  It is usually a very good place to fish, and these work-ups where all around us.

work-up

work-up

Rigging up the Poles for a Fish

Rigging up the Poles for a Fish

Mike with the First Catch

Mike with the First Catch

TG with an impressive catch

TG with an impressive catch

looking back at the land

looking back at the land

8 pound snapper.  Biggest catch of the day.

8 pound snapper. Biggest catch of the day.

Speedy's birthday cake in the cabin.

Speedy's birthday cake in the cabin.

Pete Filleting One of Our Catch

Pete Filleting One of Our Catch

Filleting the Snapper

Filleting the Snapper

We tried a little fishing around the work-ups with no luck, so Captain Pete (Speedy’s father) took us to some of his fishing spots.  He has been fishing these waters since he was a boy, and his father had fished them before him.  As soon as we dropped our lines in, we where getting bites.  Although we seemed to be on the juveniles.  We all ended up catching something, and the lone girl fishing got the biggest one on the day.

That night, after a small wave surf, we fried up the fish and went to the local stand and bought chips.  It was the freshest fish and chips I’ve ever had!

Whangamata Surf

Whangamata Surf

Barrel

Barrel

MK Surf

MK Surf

In the Water

In the Water

The next day, most everyone had headed back home, but I stayed around to hang with Speedy for another day.  We took all the recycling (beer bottles) to the local dump, and smashed them all on cement walls.  I took a picture of a mound of plastic bottles.  Plastic really is the new plague on the planet, and I’m feeling more and more compelled to figure out how to tackle this problem.

Plastic Waste

Plastic Waste

After the dump, Speedy took me to a few of the surrounding beaches, it is a beautiful area, and I really want to head back to this area when there is some solid east swell.  After the beaches, Speedy took me to a really sweet rope swing into a fresh water river.  I have been waiting to do something like this in New Zealand!

One of the beaches in the area

One of the beaches in the area

Speedy in the Forest

Speedy in the Forest

That night I heard that Mike was heading way up north to another one of the best surf spots in NZ.  It was a 7 hour drive, and he was headed up there at 5 am.  I made this trip to New Zealand surf so up and out I went at 5 am.

The Crew

The Crew

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