Saturday, February 21, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
I awoke early on the 9th for my first day of work. Brent and I arrived around 8 and I was introduced to the winemaking team and given a tour of the facility. Montana's Gisborne winery is really three facilities operating together, with one slowly being decommissioned. After all the introductions, the tour, and a broad discussion of the overall production process of the winery, I was setup at my computer to begin familiarizing myself with the software programs needed to properly complete my job. Quickly, the other winemakers had covered my desk with papers, covering all the production process but focusing on my position as the yeast winemaker. By the end of my first week, I had become relatively comfortable with how the winery operates and was excited for vintage to begin. During my first week, Brent's family was more than accommodating, and I enjoyed spending my evenings with him, his wife Amanda, and their two children, Neo and Bick. Still, I didn't want to overstay my welcome.Despite it's typical negate connotation, I moved into my new home on Friday the 13th (shown above). The house is situated in the small community of Okitu just East of town about 7 kilometers (4.4 miles). I spent the weekend getting situated and getting to know my new flatmates, Peter and Mark. Peter is a real estate agent in town and the house's owner, while Mark is a personal chef for a wealthy family. After a week of poor surf and lots of work, I was finally able to paddle out on Saturday for my first surf since my arrival. The waves weren't the best, but I could see the potential. One benefit of my new home is the proximity to the beach. Directly across the street lies one of the better surf spots in town, Pines (the picture below was taken from my front porch and shows the spot's namesake), and several other well-known spots, including Makarori Point and Stock Route, are just around the corner.
I started the fifteen minute paddle to shore, hugging along the reef inside the break to see if I could find the rest of my board. After a few minutes, I finally spotted it floating 300 meters inside the break and up the other side of the lagoon. I paddled over and grabbed my boar'ds nose and proceeded the rest of the way in. Coming back up the beach, all the kids lined the beach to watch me walk past. After a late breakfast, the winds came up rather fiercely and blew out the surf. We spent the rest of the day relaxing, snorkeling, and exploring up the coast West of Sina PJ's.
Friday the 7th saw surf similar to Wednesday. Russell and I paddled out early (I was on my 5'10") and found even more surfers from Maninoa (maybe 12?) Luckily, they only stayed out for a half hour or so before they left us to ourselves. We were able to get some great surf and stayed out for several hours before the tide got too low. After a late breakfast, we made our way to Togitogiga Falls, located in the Pupu-Pue National Park just a few kilometers from Tafitoala.
We made our way out to the river and soon found two waterfalls connecting large pools of cool fresh water. We were surprised to find that no one else was there, but we weren't disappointed spending the afternoon jumping off the rocks, swimming, and relaxing. It was a nice way to cool down in the hot, humid midday sun. We met the taxi, which delivered us back to Sina PJ's just in time for the evening glass-off. We all paddled back out to Jire's (Peter didn't want to drive us out, again) were we found a handful of Maninoa surfers in similar conditions to the morning. We surfed until it was too dark to see, getting some great waves. We tentatively made our way back to shore by the moonlight and I enjoyed my last night in Samoa with a great meal.Since I had to leave for the airport at 130 in the morning, I packed and stayed up through the night to meet the taxi, which arrived closer to 2. I made it through the airport with no problems and got on the plane for the four hour flight to Auckland, where I waited a few hours before I caught my flight to Gisborne, my final destination. Check back for the next post on New Zealand coming soon.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Leaving San Luis Obispo behind was harder than I expected. Over the four and a half years I've lived there, so much has changed that I know a lot will be different when I return. I packed my belongings and said my goodbyes (sorry to those of you I didn't get a chance to see) and was on my way to San Diego to spend a few days with friends and family there before I took off. Before I knew it, I was on the way to the airport ready to begin my journey.
My first stop was only for a few hours in
Malae is the village chief and has spent his whole life in the small village. The fales are located right on the beach, with water lapping up the shore less than twenty feet from the fales' porches (above is my fale and below is the view from its porch). After settling in a bit, I strolled up and down the beach for a bit before I met the other two guests, Alex and Russell, two Australians from Sydney (hey guys). They said the surf had been pretty good the last few days directly out in front of the fales at an unnamed reef, which I dubbed Jire’s (after Malae’s third child). Most of the breaks in