Saturday, October 8, 2011

Prices

You have got to be kidding.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Airfare

Just to prove that no good deed goes unpunished, Shannon and I are out 500 bucks for booking our Christmas travel early. Air NZ has put on a fare sale, and the change fees are 100 bucks more than the difference.

Awesome.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tiritiri Matangi Island

Reaching back to the catch up on the blog project... Somehow I've stuffed up the HTML on this post, and the "improved" Blogger setup is too much of a pain to try to sort it out.

A number of weeks ago now, Shannon and I spend two days and a night out on Tiritiri Matangi island, which is a bird sanctuary that's about an hour's ferry ride from city center.


The island was farmed in the middle of the 1900s and has been rehabilitated to its natural state and the bird life is now thriving, if not managed. There are a number of unique birds, including the takahe. Allow me to introduce Greg.


Greg has about a dozen friends, and they are the only birds of this kind left. At about the time of this writing, a few of them were going to be moved over to another island to try to start a new habitat.


The facilities on the island are from the farm days, as well as early navigation. There is a pretty nice bunkhouse that sleeps 15 or so folks. It was about two thirds full the night we were there. It's the red roof.




It's an excellent island for walking, as you can circumnavigate the whole thing in about three hours. And there is plenty of good bird life along the way, including the aforementioned takahe, fantails, hihi, bellbirds, saddlebacks, and many more. There are kiwi on the island, too, but we never managed to see one, despite a long walk in the dark. We heard one though.




The hihi and bellbirds were shockingly loud. This video shows what it was like to stand near a feeding station. What you can't really tell is that they are swarming around you, and they are much louder than the video indicates. It's shocking, really.

video

 It turns out, there is also great coastline and plant life as well. Makes for a pretty lovely day of walking around, taking pictures, and snacking.




There are penguins on the island, too. When we were there it was nesting season, so you could look into the penguin boxes through the glass tops and see mothers keeping eggs warm. They seemed to not be bothered by the visitors.



After a windy night we awoke to find that the ferry ride out was going to be a rough one. So rough that they took the boat away somewhere safer during the day. It turned out to be a pretty serious ride back, with six or seven foot seas and gusts of about 100 kph.


Another lovely place, right outside of Auckland.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Photo of the Day






Sunset from the side of Mount Eden the other night.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rugby World Cup

I haven't posted much about the Rugby World Cup being in New Zealand, other than my skepticism of Auckland transit being able to handle it. All in all, the city hasn't been as out of control as I had expected, save the opening ceremonies that were a bit of a disaster.

Shannon's folks were here for the start, and we did all go down to the opening festivities - at least part of it. It was all spread out over the city, so you really could only get to one place and you were stuck - there were just far too many people and far too few roads closed to traffic. But it was cool to see the giant waka come in to the harbor. One was sent in honor of each team, and the people in the boats then paraded through downtown. There was live music, fireworks, and general partying.




 


People were on good behavior, for the most part, with everyone supporting their countries but being fairly chill about it.  Public transit absolutely fell on its face, with trains and buses basically shutting down. But ever since, it hasn't been too big of a deal.



 Shannon and her folks went to the Samoa v. Namibia game in Rotorua while they were here and had a great time. While we've gone and watched a number of games in pubs, including most of the US games, but I was pretty well resolved to not get to see a game myself.

But, sometimes, things go your way. These appeared on my desk on Thursday afternoon, and last night we went off to Eden Park with a handful of my work colleagues and watched the England v. Scotland game.



 


Tragically, my camera batteries gave up the ghost about two minutes into the game, so that's all I have. What a great atmosphere though. It was a great game to watch, and a huge rivalry. Unfortunately, despite controlling the game, Scotland managed to give it away in the last two and a half minutes.

Tonight is the end of the pool matches, and there are still a few teams to be determined for quarter finals. Should be an interesting few weeks to go!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Brewing Update

Brown ale is coming out of the bottles. It's actually much better than we expected. It's slightly on the sweet side but it may have a little too much priming sugar.


An IPA is in secondary fermentation/bottle conditioning. We know that we've overprimed it. We're having a little bit of runaway beer. But, it seemed like it was tasting pretty good before bottling. It's got a lot of potential, if we can keep it in the bottles...