Bas van Est



What I love about a Kiwi summer is that it starts in September and doesn’t finish till the end of April. I know on paper that’s a huge call but I think we can all agree that the balmy spring afternoons send everyone’s stoke through the roof and shit weather is forgotten about before it’s over.

We have such an amazing array of activities within a stone’s throw that no matter where in NZ you live, sunny days are far more memorable than a day in with your best bud netflix.

A friend I know from growing up in the Coromandel Peninsula send out a message a week out from Easter weekend that he urgently needed help harvesting a crop of merlot grapes. He manages an organic vineyard and bad weather was on it’s way which would compromise the quality of the harvest.The initial thought of unpaid labour on a long weekend wasn't particularly inviting but as we pulled up to the house this faded immediately.A modest kiwi farm house placed atop a hill surrounded by fruit trees and lower lying vines with an incredible ocean view. The property stretches all the way down to the water, nestled at the very Northern end of one of the peninsula's most picturesque beaches.

As we were having our morning cuppa and hot cross buns Jayden showed us a few alternative ways in which an organic vineyard protects the vines from pests & insects. By 9am the dew had burned off the vines and everyone had their gloves on ready to get stuck in. It only took us 2 hours and just as well as the late summer rays still packed some punch and had us longing for a fresh dip. Some went spearfishing, others made the most of the low tide exposing a small cove protected from the wind.
Spearfishing wasn’t as successful as planned so further into the afternoon we prepared a long line and paddled it out to sea on a longboard. In the meantime others had gone back to grab the necessities to entertain our extended wait. 1 couch, 1 large log, 3 packed chilly bins, some whiskey and a whole bunch of beach wood for the fire. As the planets (literally) aligned, it was also a lunar eclipse this evening and we could hear the sound of drums travelling down the beach from a big annual free spirited festival held at a neighbouring property. Could this day get any better?
The people loitering along the beach en route to the festival were just as entertaining as the array of dance moves we threw down to the techno amongst the trees.

By 12 am we were well ready for the trip back home. Little did we know the best was definitely left for last. There was a huge circle and bonfire set up closer to our end of the beach where people had congregated for the moment of the eclipse. The bongo’s were thumping and as the eclipse was reaching it’s final stages people began howling like wolves. A good bunch of us joined and threw a good few YEEEEWW’s and HOWWWWWWWL’s at the beat of the drum before we finally called it a night.

After the weekend the weather packed in, southerly’s prevailed and it rained for days on end. Though well into Autumn it was time to finally accept that summer was coming to an end.

Bas van EstComment