The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Tag: vanlife

Farewell from Raw Paua and the Land Under Down Under.

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Live Dinner and Raw Paua. Photo: Pauline Nobels. Courtesy of Owen James Burke.

As the crew of the good ship Scuttlefish sets sail for new horizons, Raw Paua and I have but a handful of weeks left to spend in this fine South Sea summer. We’re not quite sure where we’ll roam, but it’s safe to say we won’t trudge too far from the sea or her foam.

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Wish You Were Here: Cook Strait, New Zealand

Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand in a camper van with a camera, surfboard and speargun in search of stories, waves and fish. We’re putting together a waterperson’s guide to the island nation, but meanwhile, we’ll be publishing stories and photographs, short updates along the way from the Yankee in Kiwiland. -CD

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Photo: Owen James Burke.

After a good south swell, the waters around Cloudy Bay turn, well, just that. But it’s not the mucky brown silt you find on the Hudson River in New York after a great deluge, but an aqua-blue/green reflected by New Zealand’s nephrite jade, or pounamu as it’s known in the Māori language.

Pretty as it was, this haze kept me from diving, but then my cooler’s not looking to bad these days, and I did find a place to park up for the night with a tidy little wave conveniently breaking around the corner and no takers. Oh, woe is me. . . .

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Wish You Were Here: Titirangi Bay, Cook Strait, New Zealand

Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand in a camper van with a camera, surfboard and speargun in search of stories, waves and fish. We’re putting together a waterperson’s guide to the island nation, but meanwhile, we’ll be publishing stories and photographs, short updates along the way from the Yankee in Kiwiland. -CD

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Photo: Owen James Burke.

It’s a long dirt and gravel road full of hairpin switchbacks to the outer Marlborough Sounds, but the view alone is well worth the journey, even in a tired old truck such as Raw Paua.

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Photo: Owen James Burke.

These are the old whaling grounds of the European settlers, who built lookout stations on the tops of these hills in order to spot the abundance of sperm and humpback whales passing through the Cook Strait. Whaling in New Zealand came to an end in 1964, but some of the stations still stand today. They’re a long hike out, but recommended. Leave the spear at home.

–OJB

More (Mis)Adventures in #Vanlife: No More Bananas Permitted Aboard Raw Paua.

Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand in a camper van with a camera, surfboard and speargun in search of stories, waves and fish. We’re putting together a waterperson’s guide to the island nation, but meanwhile, we’ll be publishing stories and photographs, short updates along the way from the Yankee in Kiwiland. -CD

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Photo: Owen James Burke.

The first time I was old enough to begin my quasi-annual fly fishing trips with my Uncle Thom, I pulled a banana from my boat bag about an hour into our day’s outing. Within what felt like the blink of an eye, the once-bitten banana was out of my hand and drifting downstream past the boat.

I wish I could have seen the confusion smeared across face. I have no doubt that my uncle got a kick out of it.

He later brought to my attention the old angler’s adage: never take bananas aboard a boat. Why?

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. . . Here’s why. Photo: Owen James Burke.

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“Just Keep Playing.” Surfer and #VanLife Enthusiast Daniel Norris, Our Favorite MLB Pitcher, Has Thyroid Cancer.

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Photo: Grind TV.

The Detroit Tigers pitcher, who preps himself for spring training by surfing his way down the east coast and parking his VW camper at Wal Mart at night, made the announcement (below) on Monday.

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Wish You Were Here: Shaking Out Winter and Surfing on a Spring Moon in the South Pacific (Nobody But the Dolphins and Me)

Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand, living in a house truck with a camera, surfboard and speargun in search of stories, waves and fish. We’re putting together a waterperson’s guide to the island nation, but meanwhile, we’ll be publishing stories and photographs, short updates along the way from the Yankee in Kiwiland. -CD

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The South Pacific may not have had the vantage of this past week’s full eclipse, but it saw your blood moon, northern hemisphere, and raised you this spring moon. Photo: Owen James Burke.

My time in New Zealand, I can state with assurance, has been full of zigs that should have been zags. This week, in many respects, had been no different. That is until last night.

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Photo: Owen James Burke.

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(Mis)Adventures in #Vanlife with Raw Paua. Part III. A Tired Old Truck and a Boatful of Holes.

Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand, living in a house truck with a camera, surfboard and speargun in search of stories, waves and fish. We’re putting together a waterperson’s guide to the island nation, but meanwhile, we’ll be publishing stories and photographs, short updates along the way from the Yankee in Kiwiland. -CD

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Above: Raw Paua, cooked. Queen Charlotte Drive shows no mercy on a tired old truck and a boatful of holes.

Raw Paua and I took a tour down the east coast of the south island last week, and it began swimmingly. She steamed over two mountain passes and hugged the cliffs nicely along mile after mile of winding coast.

We made camp, and although it was nearly freezing, turning on the broiler to heat a lamb roast (as one does in the land of sheep) warmed me up enough to patter away at the keyboard until the wee hours and comfortably turn in.

The next day, we ventured back up the coast, where we surfed, made fires, and met a crazy Valencian who’s in the process cycling around the perimeter of the island nation.

A couple of days of foul weather and Raw Paua and I decided to make for home base back at the top of the South Island. That was when the smoke started.

I pulled over to the side of the road where a splendid, unridden right-hander was reeling along the beach under a soft pastel sky with nary a surfer in sight. The wave looked enticing, but this wasn’t the time. I had a crisis on my hands.

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Then again, in retrospect . . . Photo: Owen James Burke.

Lifting the hood, I was met with a face full of smoke and the alarming, nauseating, intoxicating stench of boiling radiator coolant; it wasn’t exactly the afternoon buzz I was hoping to catch.

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Photo: Owen James Burke.

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Surf Tripping Down New Zealand’s East Coast with Raw Paua.

Scuttlefish writer Owen James Burke is currently rambling around New Zealand, living in a house truck with a camera, surfboard and speargun in search of stories, waves and fish. We’re putting together a waterperson’s guide to the island nation, but meanwhile, we’ll be publishing stories and photographs, short updates along the way from the Yankee in Kiwiland. -CD

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Photo: Atila Madrona/Courtesy: Owen James Burke.

A large wintertime swell had just skirted up the coast, leaving long waves and crisp, still mornings behind. Raw Paua and I had been at odds in recent weeks, but managed to forge a meeting of the minds and agreed that it would be in both our best interests to head south, just in time to catch the remnants of the storm.

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Photo: Owen James Burke.

Winding our way south on dizzying switchbacks, we were flanked by crumbling cliffs on one side and desolate, driftwood strewn beaches on the other. Every 15 minutes, I’d pull over, scan an empty beach and its ghostly lineup to try to fathom why it was unblemished by man. I’d still be scratching my head, if I hadn’t seen what was to come.

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