Team MARBEL united at last!

Mark and BenThis week is ben’s first week in New Zealand. He is over to visit for 5 weeks, as a holiday, with a small matter called Challenge Wanaka in the middle.

I am swimming the 3.8km, Ben is cycling the mid section, 112 miles, and Mark is rounding it all off with a marathon. Should be great fun! I’m so glad I get the easy part! 

So we have been doing our bit as tourist guides when we have had time in between working. Ben arrived into South Island to a scorching 32 degree day, most unusual for the South, but then again, this summer so far has been a corker anyhow.

We started with a whistle stop tour of Invercargill, to keep him awake on that first day and keep his mind off the jet lag! Of course, no whistle stop tour is complete without a visit to Queens Park and a paddle in the ocean!

Ben decided he wanted to try rowing, and had, from a distance, decided that it would be really simple. There is only one way to fix that little issue: throw him in at the deep end! (Not literally, mind you!) We went rowing one afternoon after work. He had never sat in a boat before, didn’t row a rowing machine correctly, but decided his athletic base would see him through. After a 30 second run through on an erg (well, we were pressed for time!) our we went in the Hamilton. I’m sorry to say, I don’t have the footage, which is really sad because I took the GoPro to film it all, but the darned thing was flat! Anyhow, in summary we wobbled up the river, and screamed (literally not in speed) all the way back down again. I did of course, point out to him that neither my Dad no mark had done this when they went out! Sufficed to say he decided that it was much harder than it looks and would like another chance to ‘master it’. I am still thinking about it! Meanwhile I made an effort to join the masters rowers this weekend and went out with the old boys for a jaunt. I kinda felt bad that I have been doing so much solo lately! Its the Southland champs next weekend. This time last year I was just starting out, and I also think we had more female masters rowers. I am only entered for a quad and a single this year. I hope its not too windy, I would like to give the singles race a go, even if I fully expect to be at the back of the field. I have only raced a single once, and that was as a novice. I am now with the big girls!

On Friday, we whizzed up to Dunedin to take advantage of a bike sale in a local shop. It was not so flash a day, but we still managed to squeeze in a trip to Baldwin Street. I have climbed this street as a ‘tour guide’ a number of times now! This was the wettest though!

This weekend was Crank up weekend in Edendale. We went last year with Dad, and he loved it, so we visited again this year with Ben. It was bigger than last year, the weather was beautiful, and Ben managed to swap numbers with a policeman and sit in a police car. Typical! (He is a policeman!)

There was no stunt bikes, but the traction engine, tractor pulls and vintage sheep sheering were still there. The collection of classic cars seemed a lot lot bigger than last year. Its always great to see those, even if they are all from England!

We were out top prove that Southland is more than the tourism industry makes it out to be, so we squashed a lot in this weekend. Riverton Rocks is always a must do, and we got there at sunset, which made it all the more beautiful.


we were also lucky enough to visit cosy nook and Monkey Island at low water, which is good, because that is the only time that you can walk out to Monkey Island.

Cosy nook is always a place that I love, for its curious quaintness, those few teeny tiny fisherman’s huts, most are now holiday homes, but I think someone still lives in Pollyfilla Villa! I spend some quality time just watching the waves lapping the rocks.

Today we did one of the most essential tourist stops: Lands End at Bluff. I always find it amusing when I sit in the cafe at Stirling Point and watch the constant stream of tourists drive up, take a photo then leave again! still, its stunning coastline that I will simply never get bored of.

To mix things up a little we took Ben orienteering at Mokomoko, on the way to Bluff. He map reads ok, but hasn’t tried this. He thoroughly enjoyed it but very quickly learned to disregard the pretty colours, they don’t mean what you think they mean, and LOOK AT THE CONTOUR LINES! We came second in the end, but had to climb some electric fences more than once!

Week one over, I think we wore him 0ut!