Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Real Estate defined

According to recent Government statistics, our town, Whakatane NZ has had a population increase of a mere 10 persons in the last three years. Could it be that all these people have become real estate agents? Did you know that there are in excess of 40 such agents in our fair town. Could we be the second ‘city of sales’.
Rumour has it that residence may now use their old wheelie-bins to cater for those ever increasing real estate pamphlets. What a grand idea, instead of displaying a mailbox sign ‘No Circulars’, the large bin could display much more meaningful information, such as:
I do not want to sell my home. You are not my friendly real estate agent. I don’t even know you. Who are you anyway. I don’t care that Mrs. Smith has sold her house. Clear off hairy legs.
In case you do want to buy a home here are some helpful definitions.

CROSSLEASE: When someone buys a cheap house at Lake Rotoiti (a very small settlement) and brags to their mates that they have got the bargain of the decade, then discover that they have to pay a lease fee to the owners amounting to $12,000 per year. This makes them very angry. This is a cross lease.

UNIT TITLE: ‘unit’ is an abbreviation for a ‘ewe nit’ which as every shepherd knows is a small head louse found on sheep. Obviously a ‘unit title’ is when the shepherd sees one of these lice on a ewe and addresses it as one would address a titled person, E.g. ‘Oi there’s one of them head lice watzernames on that sheep.....come out of there right now yer Majesty.’

OPEN PLAN LIVING: Dad ran out of firewood he’s too broke to buy a load so chops up all the doors in the house and chucks them onto the fire, you now have open plan living.

PANORAMIC VIEW: If you stand on the roof, on a chair, on a large copy of Webster’s dictionary, you catch a glimpse of Ohiwa Harbour.

VIEWS FOREVER: The complete works of William Shakespeare on top of the Webster’s.

ENSUITE: There is a covered walkway from the house to the long drop toilet.

FORMAL LIVING: Dad wears a suit and bow tie at home.

REFURBISHED: This house is badly in need of some tender loving care, the owner couldn’t build a dog house, he is what is commonly called a cowboy.

Final advice for those about to take the plunge into house purchase, did you know that the word mortgage literally means ‘death grip’ or ‘strangle hold’ Kiwis will be relieved that our reserve bank are not following the upward movement of various other countries borrowing rates. Let us hope that the head of our Reserve Bank, Dr. Alan Bollard’s interest is not enhanced when he hears the throttled gurgling of first home borrowers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wow! Talk about variety, this activity is not only a must do experience of a lifetime, it is five amazing acts rolled into one big drama.

It was about time I took advantage of a tourist activity that is right on our doorstep. I discovered that Whakatane’s unique WHALE AND DOLPHIN WATCH, incorporates a physical, spiritual and going by the reaction of my fellow watchers, an emotional experience.

We were blessed with a fantastic day, calm water and clear blue sky. Appropriately, ‘Blue Sky’ was the name of the ten metre passenger launch that took us along the Whakatane River, over the bar and out to sea.
Greg Rackham, the Skipper is an experienced launch man with a canny knack of being able to track down pods of our target species, the Common Dolphin. I was fascinated to discover that a work-up of Gannets, invariably reveals the presence of dolphins.
We scanned the Bay for those tell tail signs and although on occasions dolphins take a little longer to find, a large pod was soon sighted just east of Moutohora (Whale) Island. There must have been close to two hundred. They gathered around the boat, jumping, twisting and turning , slipping in front of the bow then zooming away like grey and white torpedoes. Although Greg kept the launch at a brisk speed , those amazing animals appeared to keep up without even trying.
For us the day had only just begun. Kitted out with snorkel and fins, we sat on the stern of the boat, while the Skipper anticipated the direction of the pod. Greg is always careful not to get ahead of the leaders and disrupt their forward path. He approached the side of the pod, where there was a high concentration of dolphins, then expertly adjusted the boat’s speed in order to give us the very best opportunity. Forward a bit, gently does it, then stop all motors and it was, ‘Go…go…go!’
The visibility was amazing, I could see the animals right below me, I lost count at forty. I heard them whistling, a high pitched eerie note that in dolphin language probably said, ‘look at that very large human’ or perhaps 'Help...Orca!!'
This has got to be on top of the ‘bucket list‘. I strongly recommend it to anyone from eight to eighty years. Anchored in a sheltered bay at Moutohora Island we enjoyed a hot drink and snack while Peter told us about the successful Kiwi and ancient Tuatara re-introduction to the pest free island. On the rocks, just across from us, fir seals were basking in the sunshine. When they are in the water you can swim with them. On this day a few of our party enjoyed snorkelling around the rocky shore, while others relaxed on the boat, content to take in the mystique of the bush clad island.
Time for home, or so we thought, the Skipper had one more treat in store and we were not disappointed. Greg took us close in at Otarawairere Bay to see if we could find Moko, the friendly bottle nosed dolphin. We found him off Westend Beach, the cheeky animal was playing with a large Kingfish, he put on a show just for us, a fitting finale to our five hour trip with Whakatane’s WHALE AND DOLPHIN WATCH.