Tag Archives: Winter

A-Z Challenge: Pulling up poissons in the Hauraki Gulf

Fishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.comTwo weekends ago James and his buddies took me fishing in the Hauraki Gulf.

We woke up before the sun to head down to the boat dock at 6 in the morning.

Being that I’m Southern California born and raised I still struggle to dress appropriately for the chilly weather.

Fishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com

For our ocean excursion I wore a pair of Lululemon leggings, a pair of sweatpants from my university days, a tank top, a long-sleeve shirt, a running jumper, my New Zealand sweatshirt and my beloved Marmot puffer jacket. Oh, and a beanie and my runners.

Overkill? Probably. The guys asked me if I thought we were going skiing.

Oh well, I was warm. And I caught the most fish out of everyone.

So I was doing something right. 😉

Fishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com

Upon pulling out of the Half Moon Bay harbor, we headed north, straight towards Rakino Island.

The sun joined us over the horizon just as I caught the first fish of the day, a too-small snapper.

With some help from the guys we got the hook out of his lip, and I gave him a quick little kiss before sending him back to grown in to a 20 pounder.

Fishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com

Grabbing the knife, I cut up some bait – mostly squid and pilchard – and dressed my line for the next fateful reel-in.

But first, I had to learn what a “boil up” is, which is when the fish are chased up to the surface of the water by a larger predator and the birds are used as a signal by fishermen to determine a good spot to cast a lure.

Fishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com Fishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com

Before I knew it I was pulling up a decent-sized snapper pretty much every 15 minutes. A bit in part to the tools I was using.

After awhile I offered to switch poles with James so he could have a shot at catching some and he had better luck. So I can’t take ALL the credit.

Fishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.comFishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com Fishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com

We eventually decided to begin heading south, passing by Waiheke Island and shedding layers as the day warmed up.

Once we were back we met up to clean the boat (or in my case, watch) and count/divvy up the fish we had kept. I can’t quite remember how many there were, at least 15 and at least 75% of the lot was caught by yours truly.

Fishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com Fishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com Fishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com

When we got home James filleted the fish and prepped them for dinner.

Then, we cooked it beer-battered style and served it up with kumara fries! YUM!!!

Fishing on the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com Fresh snapper from the Hauraki Gulf via ZaagiTravel.com

In the meantime, a photo I shared to Facebook of my first wee little fish was shared to an account called Girls Who Fish NZ.

It truly was a great morning and now I’m itching to head out on the sea again.

A-Z Challenge: Ice Ice Baby

Antarctic chill as seen from the view in Howick, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com

I arrived in New Zealand just in time for an Antarctic chill to sweep across this beautiful (double or kind of triple) island nation.

Throughout the last week we’ve had unusually cold temperatures, particularly at night and in the morning.

Rain has been on and off. Sometimes during the day the temperature has warmed up to be rather hot. But for the most part, the wintry weather has been a shock to the system for this born-and-raised California girl.Antarctic chill as seen from the view in Howick, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com

Antarctic chill as seen from the view in Howick, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com

It started last week, shortly after James and Brett completed their Guinness World Record.

I really can’t complain, considering we live in the north part of the North Island – the region furthest from the Antarctic than the rest of New Zealand.

The cold snap – which brought snow to the South Island and stormy weather to Auckland – meant 8/9 degrees Celsius or 46/48 Fahrenheit for us up this side.

Antarctic chill as seen from the view in Howick, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com

Down south in Christchurch the temperatures plummeted to 1/2 degrees Celsius or 33/35 Fahrenheit.

I survived with the help of newly bought slippers and the use of layers and sweaters (jumpers in Kiwi talk).

It looks like I’ll probably need to purchase some Merino wool under layers to help get me through this new-to-me phenomenon known as winter.Antarctic chill as seen from the view in Howick, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.comAntarctic chill as seen from the view in Howick, New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com

James making a fire during the Antarctic chill in New Zealand via ZaagiTravel.com

Fortunately, James is a skilled fire-maker and has been building beautiful fires at night. As well as right now, at noon on Saturday morning as we both work side-by-side in the lounge.

Wish me luck as I try and keep warm, an entirely foreign concept for me… no pun intended.

German Christmas Market in Vancouver, Canada

German Vancouver Christmas Market via ZaagiTravel.com

As I opened the car door and jumped out into the crisp November air I shivered and slid my knit toque* onto my head, pulling it down far enough to cover the tops of my ears.

The cold still shocked me every time I stepped outside. The late autumn weather in downtown Vancouver was colder than the coldest night all year in Southern California.

Across the street, on the corner, I could see white Christmas lights and a line of people in coats, boots, toques and gloves.

German Vancouver Christmas Market via ZaagiTravel.com

Once we had my god son all snug in his stroller we began following the smell of roasting bratwurst that filled the air. I began realizing just how starving I actually was.

Sidney, Erica’s four-year-old daughter, stood at my side and held her arms up towards me with her infamous (as well as irresistible) sassy smile on her face. I reached down and lifted her up onto my hip before walking across the street and getting into the long but quickly moving line.

German Vancouver Christmas Market via ZaagiTravel.com

Approximately ten minutes later we walked through the entrance. The adults of our group made their way to the booth where we could show ID in exchange for a bracelet that allowed us to consume alcohol. You know you don’t want to miss out on some mulled wine!

Before we could satisfy our grumbling stomachs we needed to satisfy the youngest awake member of the family – little Wyatt was in and out of a deep sleep despite the high energy environment around us.

So Erica and Sidney had a photo op with the Gingerbread Man & Woman. Pretty nice of them to take a moment out of their busy schedule — you know with all that running as fast as they can. Ha! This is where you laugh… Okay, moving on.

Gingerbread Man at the German Vancouver Christmas Market via ZaagiTravel.com

Then I took Sidney on the Carousel a few times. Four-year-olds. They dig that stuff. And maybe 22-year-olds do too.

Carousel Ride at the German Vancouver Christmas Market via ZaagiTravel.com

That evening we ingested vast amounts of traditional German food — including the longest bratwurst you’ve ever laid eyes on (just see below) generously topped with sauerkraut; Schnitzel, which was breaded and fried to perfection; freshly roasted chestnuts; and the delicious (but strong!) Gluhwein, steaming hot red wine spiced with cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, and citrus that warms you from the inside out.

Bratwurst at the German Vancouver Christmas Market via ZaagiTravel.com

After over-indulging our appetites we walked around and checked out the different Christmas gifts and decorations being sold by vendors at nearly fifty wooden booths — things like nutcrackers, German beer steins, tree ornaments, and a whole lot more! A talented live band played festive Christmas music on a stage in the center of the event.

Live band at the German Vancouver Christmas Market via ZaagiTravel.com

I stopped to take some photos of my brother and his fiancee — wouldn’t this have been a sweet picture if he weren’t chowing down on those spiral-cut-potatoes-on-a-stick? I don’t know their actual name but they were delicious so I don’t blame him.

Romantic View of the Christmas Tree at the German Christmas Market in Vancouver, Canada via ZaagiTravel.com

Then the rest of us gathered for a group photo.

Christmas Tree at the German Christmas Market in Vancouver, Canada via ZaagiTravel.com

It really was an incredible way to spend the holidays with family. It’s barely September and I’m already looking forward to this year’s German Christmas Market experience!

Nutcracker at the German Christmas Market in Vancouver, Canada via ZaagiTravel.com

The Vancouver Christmas Market is located at 650 Hamilton Street on the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza. It takes place from November 22 – December 24.

Adult tickets (13 years and older) cost $6 on weekends and during the evening on weeknights; $3 during the day during the week; $3 for kids 7-12 no matter the day or time. Kids 6 and under enter for free.

TIPS:

1. Admission is CASH only!

2. Print off the VIP Fast Pass from their website, it saves you time in line.

3. Once you pay to enter the Christmas Market you automatically get in free on return visits! Just hang onto your ticket.

4. During lunch you can BOGO! Buy One, Get One ticket FREE! Just print the lunch pass on their website.

5. When you buy a mug of Gluhwein or Feuerzangenbowle you automatically put down a $2 deposit for the mug. If you’d like to keep your mug like I did, go for it! If you’d like that $2 back you can exchange your mug for a toonie (a.k.a. $2 Canadian dollars).

* For all you non-Canadians out there, a TOQUE is a round-shaped hat normally worn during cold weather, and otherwise known as a beanie.