Northland part 3

Day 4 continued – KariKari D.O.C. Camp, leisurely afternoon lazing on yet another beautiful sparsely populated beach. The sea beckoned me in even though it was freezing. Swimming the bay, it took awhile for the long-suffering to join me with much cajoling on my part. He did his usual routine two tentative steps forward followed by body contortions as he sideways ran away from the breaking waves to avoid getting wet, not really the point!

Day 5 – This was to be a long driving day to beat the bank holiday Monday traffic around Auckland. I was first designated driver to start us off – my driving all day yesterday getting the thumbs up – I had driven on the flat, up and down tight winding roads with sheer drops into forests below and long gravel roads creating a dust storm behind as Aramoana bumped along to the sound of jangling cutlery, pans and bottles.


Heading south, back out on the gravel road, we were joined by a pack of dogs surrounding Aramoana, ferociously barking and snapping at her wheels. Worried I slowed even more – we were now crawling at snails pace! Long suffering was no help just laughing and shouting ‘drive on, drive on’! I did, and thankfully there were no fatalities as we left them and the gravel road behind for more open roads and photo opportunities.

View from another viewing platform looking down on a mountainous sand dune in Opononi, we just had to take another memorable photo!


Waipoura Forest – Visit to the largest, oldest known Kauri Tree, Tane Mahuta, meaning ‘lord of the forest’ age not known but estimated to be 1250-2500 years old.


A thirty minute drive on took us to Trounson Kauri Park and a walk through native bush filled with these huge imposing trees young and old – the oldest being 1200 years old.

Our time in the Northland was coming to an end, in only one day we have driven through spectacular pasture lands, rolling hills, huge forests and amazing seascapes. It was now only left for the long-suffering to take the helm and drive us safely through Auckland and on to the next stage of this amazing road trip……

The Coromandel Peninsular

Swimming – a lifeline

Recently I came across a small card, one that had accompanied a flower arrangement sent to me in one of my many low points by my long-suffering. Written inside were the words from a well-known quote, ‘The only time you should look back is to see how far you have come.’ author unknown.

In the midst of the fog, I spent days/weeks looking back at my once active life only to see how far I had fallen, that was then………..

My latest 25m pool swim session approx 70 min duration:

  • 500m freestyle warmup gradual increase in speed with as many tumble turns as I can manage without drowning.
  • 500m freestyle arms only using buoy tumble turns included.
  • 250m combination of backstroke and freestyle kick with a float.
  • 500m alternate lengths of front freestyle and breast stroke, the latter still incredibly tiring, frog kick is very weak still but improving.
  • 300m tumble turn, breaststroke kick practice ending with swim down.
  • 10 minute upper & lower body pool stretches.

Compared with:

  • December 2012 6 weeks post accident 1st Hydrotherapy session; chair lift into pool using winch, floating aids attached to arms & legs, surprise followed by upset at my inactive leg!
  • January 9th 2013 10 weeks; walk up steps and down into hydro pool, all floating aids removed.
  • Jan 13th 1st public pool session; practising walking, physio set strengthening exercises, tentative first front crawl swim.
  • Jan 17th – 4 lengths, Jan 20th – 10 lengths freestyle without stopping thereafter each week the distance increased.

Not to bore you, my point to this post… At the time my progress on land was a one step forward and three back scenario – pain an acute inhibitor to any forward progress. Not so in the pool though, with my  weight supported at all times the pain diminished considerably allowing a greater freedom of movement.

At first the resistance of the water was enough, I could hardly move my left leg against the water in any direction. Slowly with repetition whenever I could beg a lift to the pool its strength improved. I seemed to move backwards on land, in comparison my pool routine progressed to using leg weights making abduction and other exercises more challenging. I was regularly swimming upwards of 40 lengths although not always in a straight line – it was difficult to subdue my dominant leg!

Unfortunately success in the pool didn’t necessarily translate to land – not outwardly anyway. Inside was a different matter my mind on a swim day was more upbeat – for a while anyway. Hidden muscles were getting stronger, not just in my damaged parts, the increased cardio from actual swimming kept my weight down meaning less strain on an already failing hip.

The benefits of the pool exercises and swimming couldn’t change the replacement hip I was heading for, nevertheless because of them and twice weekly Pilates – more on this another time -my recovery after was quicker than if I had simply given in and given up!

Water is life, supporting us inside our bodies and in my case – and maybe yours – outside too.

Today when I look back I really can see how far I have come…. Looking forward to our imminent road trip, I will endeavour to meet full on, the exciting new challenges to come.

Watch this space…………