Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wainuiomata 6 hour Wurldz

Sunday I took part in the Wainuiomata 6 hour Wurldz. The object of the race is to ride as many laps of the 7.3km course in under 6 hours. I was in a team of four guys. Our aim was to have a a bit a fun and were not taking the race aspect very seriously.

Tim agreed to do the first lap which turned out to have a rather long start loop. Most mass-start races have some way of allowing people to spread out along the course. This one had a big one.

Looking very serious

After about 2 hours they posted the current placings and we discovered we were 5th out of 18 teams. Not too bad for a bunch of punters. After 4 hours we were pretty much in the same place, about 6 minutes behind 4th and 10 minutes ahead of 6th.

As we got closer the end of the race the announcers clarified how the end would work. Any laps completed after 6 hours would not count. This is a bit different to how they do it Australia. There, as long as you get a rider off before 6 hours is up their lap will count.

We were doing 25-28 minutes laps and Craig was due in pretty close to 3:10pm (the race ended at 4pm). This meant that I would have to go sub 25 minutes to give Geoff a chance to get around again before time ran out. My fastest lap was 26 minutes.

I rode as fast as I could and managed to get around in 25:45. It wasn't looking good but Geoff headed out anyway. Unfortunately time ran out. If we had about 90 seconds more we might have made it. Luckily it didn't really affect the final results.

Although once they were posted we ended up 4th just missing the podium by about 6 minutes. The nice thing was that the sun shined the whole day and the course was really fun.

Looking very tired

A couple more pictures with very strange facial expressions:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Olive season

Our 6 olive trees are heavily laden with olives and they are just starting to turn purple... so have started to pick them before they are all eaten by the birds. Before you can eat them though you have to wash them in fresh water every day for a week and then they get put in jars with brine to be pickled for a month or more .... so we won't be able to eat them until July.

Helen harvesting olives

Washing them in water for a week.....

I am also experimenting with picking some while they are still green and compare them with the more ripe ones, see if they taste any different after pickling!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Central heating

We now have central heating in our house. The heat is provided by a natural gas furnace and distributed around the house through ducts in the floor. We split the house into two zones so the living areas run to a different program from the bedrooms.

So far it hasn't been too cold so it hasn't been on very much. It is nice when it comes on in the morning though. It makes it much easier to get out of bed!

The furnace sits under the house.

Floor duct - there is one in each room including the bathrooms.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Southern Ocean - Solander Voyage

I just got back from 3 weeks at sea on the RV Tangaroa. We went down to the Southern Ocean, south of New Zealand. Although I have been on several voyages before this one was slightly different as I was in charge!!! There were 16 crew and 17 scientists (including 6 students). It was steep learning curve being the voyage leader, but I was very lucky to have such a great team (crew and scientists) that was very supportive of me and advised and helped me throughout the trip.

Loading up the Tangaroa in Wellington.

RV Tangaroa with a fresh coat of paint

We saw lots of wildlife down in the subantarctic - whales, dolphins, seals, squid, lots and lots of birds!

Southern right whale

Dolphins playing in the wave at the bow

Mollymawk flying in front of Solander Island

In three weeks we were really lucky with the weather with just two storms. The first storm we experienced a week in to the voyage, which stopped us from deploying most of our gear over the side, but we continued mapping. The second much larger storm happened two weeks in to the trip - on Easter day, was much too large to do anything with 80 knot winds and 10 m swells that occasionally broke over the bow and bridge of the ship.

Big storm on Easter day

Knitting and chatting with the bosun Pete during the storm - first and only day off in 3 weeks!

So it wasn't all work... although we did a lot of that and got a lot of samples that I will spend the next 5 years or so working on. When we weren't on shift we sometimes play cards, watch movies, go to the gym, read books, write e-mails, practise the ukelele, do some other work....

The daily card game...

The Tangaroa ukelele orchestra playing a few tunes at the end of voyage party

And we got some great sunrises and sunsets.

Waiting for the green flash at sunset

Ceiling insulation

The house has a new fancy woolly hat. The loose wool fluff brings the insulation rating up to R3.2, which is well above what is required by the building code.