Chaplog tries hard In which an ageing climber comes to terms with life closer to the ground.


Return to the West Coast of South Island

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 5:07 pm


Reflections in the water on our walk< \i>

After we had visited Carol and Mick in Canterbury we returned across Arthur’s pass to Pancake rocks. We stopped at a climbing area for a walk. Lynne was now doing longer walks.

The photographs



Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 4:48 pm

We went to stay with Mick and Carol just outside Christchurch. Mick and Carol were staying with their son and his wife. They were living on a lifestyle plot owned by Elena’s parents. We went walking and visited the devastated Christchurch centre. It is amazing what you can do with containers! The demolition is still taking place two years after the event.

The Photographs


West Coast of South Island New Zealand

Filed under: General — Tags: — Mike Chapman @ 4:04 pm




It rains a lot in South Island and particularly so on the west coast.  We had been told that if there is a break in the weather go for it. The weather forecast was wall to wall sunshine so we headed for Punakaiki which has some coastline called pancake rocks.  I  think the journey along this coast with temperate rainforest literally overhanging the sea was special.  A dramatic coastline of high cliffs, white beaches, surf, rainforest and wildlife a plenty.  We stayed at Pancake rocks.

While we were there we got in touch with Mick and Carol and we headed over Arthur’s Pass to Christchurch.

The photographs


Kayaking in Charlotte Sound – staying at Mistletoe bay

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 7:15 am

Miseltoe bay Kayaking-1860

fur seal in Charlotte sound

We booked a kayak for three days and two nights lodging in a hut that Lynne expected to be very basic. I knew what it was like as I had booked it. Lynne was very aprehensive about the whole trip. As I expected it turned out fine. On arrival I went to check our cabin, it was en suite with carpets and a settee. Lynne at this point was standing in some mud next to the kayak and was expecting the worst. I confirmed that yes the hut was basic but we would survive. Her face was a picture when she saw where we were staying!

We got drenched in a thunderstorm but watching sting rays, the fur seals and the bird life made up for it. I walked up the local hill to see some fantastic 360 degree views.


Tuesday the 15th January was a very wet day

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 4:55 am

Smith's Farm Charlotte Sound-1705

Smith’s Farm in the wet

It did stop raining eventually but only after I had agreed to bale out into a lodge. The owner told me to wait until 3:00pm when it would stop raining and it did. I went for a late walk to see a waterfall and it was in full spate.


South Island

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 4:23 am

The ferry from the Snout walk near Picton

We arrived on South Island on the 12th of January and I did the”Snout” walk. We arranged a three day Kayak trip starting on Wed the 16th. I had wanted it to start a day earlier as I was starting my trip to Gore to dive the Mikhail Lemontov. The problem was the weather on Tuesday it said it would be grim and it was.



Mikhail Lemontov

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 8:49 am

Mikhail Lemontov-57

Large Propeller on the Mikhail Lemontov

In Gozo divers told me that this is one wreck I really needed to dive. I heard them and did four dives on the wreck and one in to get tea in the mussel farm. It was incredible. I was surprised by the low visibility but once inside the visibility was excellent. It was a two and a half hour drive from Picton half of it on gravel roads. There were three of us Richard an instructor from England and Andrew an instructor from New Zealand. We all stayed in a family house with the wife and children of the centre manager. We did a dive on Friday evening the vis was bad. Four dives on the wreck each getting a little more serious. It was very exciting and I was lucky to have a buddy who was more experienced than myself.



Kapiti Island

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 3:29 am

Kapiti coast-1531

Sign seen high up on a hillside path?

After Napier we wanted to see Wellington. We were going to do the obvious and stay there but had heard it was expensive and difficult to park. A little research found that we could stay on the Kapiti coast. Lynne could catch the train and see the town and I could go for a long walk. The bonus was that we could spend a day on kapiti island a famous bird sanctuary. We were surprised that everything went to plan and Lynnne had a good day. I did a six hour walk and we had a fabulous day on the island.

photographs Kapiti coast

Photographs Kapiti island



Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 5:31 am


Napier town centre

I do not really enjoy being in towns but this one I felt at home in. I think being by the sea, the sunshine, the palm trees and the Art Deco. Lynne sensibly decided that I was an unsuitable person to be with in towns so we walked around separately!



East Cape North Island

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 3:09 am

windy at Te Araroa-1411

it was pretty windy by the time we left Te Araroa

We left Ohiwa beach and headed around the East Cape. We camped at Maraehako Bay, no facilities and had to boil the water. It was a wild place people lit fires and were still in the party spirit for the start of the new year.

Weather no good for Kayaking or surfing so headed slowly to Te Araroa. We decided to have a look at a spit of land called Lottin point. The road became gravel and Lynne suggested we turn back. I ignored her and carried on saying it would be fine. It wasn’t! I tried backing out but there was a horrible smell as the wheels spun on the sand. I had to carry on down to the bay on rocks and sand. I think the smell was the clutch?

I did no enjoy being down there as I was not sure we could get out. It was surprisingly easy after I walked up the hill chose a line and went for it. Bad decision on my part. Te Araroa was nice, wild and good for surfing. We left with the wind at storm force – see image at top of page – and headed to Tolanga bay. There was a lovely church at Tikitiki. I walked to Cook bay from the camp site I needed some exercise.



White Island

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 9:29 pm

White Island

White Island

The weather put paid to my hopes about diving close to this island – wind conditions and swell – we took a boat to the island to see the volcano. It was in true New Zealand style, they cannot be sued if anything goes wrong, It was great fun and Lynne did not feel sick even with a a meter plus swell.


New Year at Ohiwa beach

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 5:14 am

Ohiwa harbour-1072

What do herons do when the tide comes in and they want to keep their feet dry?

After Christmas in New Zealand everyone heads for the beach. This caused us a headache because all the camp-sites were fully booked and we could not get into the hills and forests because of the weather. Lynne found Ohiwa beach. It was a long way from anywhere and it had a very, very long beach. Most of the people had a quad bike to take surfboards etc to the beach. After a few days the waves were so tempting I bought a belly surfboard and loved it. The area was a haven for birds and I took some photographs.

My plan was to dive close to White Island 27 miles from the shore which is an active volcano that is meant to be interesting to dive due to venting under water. I booked a trip out, it we as confirmed in the evening and cancelled at 6:00am the next morning. This happened two days running before I decided enough was enough and booked a bigger boat for a surface visit this was successful see next post.


Christmas 2012

Filed under: General — Mike Chapman @ 4:37 am

Cooper's beach-1685

Christmas day swim

We travelled to Steve and Mary’s house in cable bay on the 21st of December. We were keen to get the car sorted out before Christmas – We needed new Shocks Hans purchased and fitted them at no cost. We were hoping to do some outdoor type activities with Steve and Mary over the Christmas period. The tail end of the cyclone put paid to that wind and rain, though we did swim on Christmas day. I also had a good day in a sea kayak with Steve on boxing day.

Cooper&# 039;s beach-1689

Steve and Mary after a Christmas day swim

Cooper's beach-1042

Lynne at the beach with flowering Pohutukowa tree

Cooper's beach-1034

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