Sunday, December 28, 2014


"Tibetan Buddhist Centre of Love and Compassion"
This Buddhist centre is on Mount Parikiore which is just north of Whangarei. A few days ago I took a drive up there and paid a visit. In the photograph (above) is the 'Stupa. Stupas are the focus of prayer and pilgrimage. A Stupa represents Buddha's holy mind.
Jam Tse Dhargyey is extremely fortunate to be the home of a resident spiritual teacher. The Ven Geshe Sangey Thinley (Geshe-La) is originally from Tibet, from where he escaped in 1959 to India where he assisted in the development of Sera Je Monastry in Southern India.

I am not sure what the structure to the left of the Stupa is. I thought at first that it was some sort of Pizza oven LOL as it is obviously somewhere where a fire is lit. Its probably 
an enclosed fire to be used for ceremonial purposes.
The main entrance to the Tibetan Buddhist centre.
 A view of the centre from the Stupa.
Detail on a door that is the entrance to a room within the base of the Stupa.
Entrance to the Stupa base room.
Local Acolyte Mendicant Monk.
Prayer flags.
Somewhat ambiguous main notice board.
View south and southeast over the city of Whangarei.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Merry Christmas and every blessing at this time. Wishing a very safe, happy and prosperous 2015 to everyone.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Designer, Builders, Sisterships.

Allen Smith and Charles Shepherd at Smiths Boatyard Riverside Drive Whangarei NZ Circa 1984 
On the left in this photo is my late cousin Allen Smith the designer of the good ship 'Mariner'. On the right is Charles Shepherd the builder of 'Omega' of which 'Mariner' is a sister ship. Allen told me that he sold 12 sets of plans to the 'Omega' design.

It was 'Omega' that I saw in 1971 on a visit from Christchurch to Whangarei just before her launching. It was a design that I was encouraged to build by Allen. I cut out a lot of time and effort by simply making the molds for 'Mariner' from the lofting of the design that was already available. When the molds were completed I railed them back to Christchurch. In 1972 my parents shifted to Whangarei, which is where I eventually ended up in 1974 and the molds came north with me, much to the delight of the NZ Railways accountants.

Of the 12 sets of plans that were sold by Allen I know of only 5 boats built to the design. Their names in rough chronological order are:  Omega, Mariner, Starfire, Jasper and El Tigre.

El Tigre was the second boat built to the design by Charlie Shepherd. She was built in Airex foam and fiberglass. Charlie used most of my molds to make his second boat making 3 new molds where the stern sections had been widened by about 18 inches. El Tigre is lighter and faster than Mariner and during the time I was racing against her I never was able to finish in front. Apart from being an improvement on the original design she was always stripped out for racing where I have always carried a lot of cruising gear including 180 feet of good anchoring chain - extra weight slows yachts down when racing.
This is 'El Tigre', nicely built by Charlie Shepherd who was a great craftsman. But she never had the same ambiance as 'Omega' his first boat to this design which he built beautifully in wood.

This is 'Jasper'. She is from Auckland and I don't know much about her. From the photographs I have of her it looks like a nice job has been made of building her in wood.

This is 'Mariner' getting ideas above her station; parked in an expensive marina berth.

My cousin the late Allen Smith (1934 - 2008) , Whangarei (circa 2006) yacht designer and boat builder extraordinaire.

"Time and Tide waits for no man" shipmates. No one.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


One moment you are sailing along having a whale of a time, the next minute you are having an encounter of the 40 tonne kind. Yikes !!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014


This photograph is more forensic evidence that builds my prima facie case to prove that thoughts of my beautiful pom-pom hat is not a conspiracy theory, or the fantasy of some old retired mariner, but that it actually did exist. You can see the hat in this photo, but don't try to enlarge it otherwise it will pixalate into a blur. But you can see it there, look, yep that's it wrapped round my head like a Tea Cosy.

But wait! there is more, if you turn back a few postings you can read a comment by my good friend Kelvin to my post titled "In The Olden Days" where he categorically states that he was there in person on the very day my pom - pom hat ended up in the briny and where said hat dived to meet Davy Jones locker with all the gusto of a submarine practising an emergency dive. Evidence like this is called an "Eye witness account".

Now, "Where is all this leading?" I hear you ask. Well, "Nowhere" is my answer. It's just a story about a pom - pom hat. Nah, that's not true - I am just stalling for time. Ok. I will tell you. But you have to promise to keep it a secret.

See, because, well......

I am able to knit and once I knitted myself an adult sized jersey and when I was a child I could knit cause my mum taught me and I knitted a scarf yeah a whole big big long coloured scarf and I like knitting and my dad teased me and called me grandma and stuff but I didn't care cause I knew he was only having fun and I can do plain stitch and knit pearl and plain and stuff and cast onto the needles and do all sorts and now I am thinking really seriously of knitting myself another beautiful woolen pom-pom hat phew now you know my secret

Yep shipmates. This sailor can knit. And knit a new hat he will.... and I haven't even told you about my abilities in pom-pom making LOL LOL.

The Pleasure of Error


They had said it was the worst cast
they had made in their life

But it is a mistake to imagine
that there is not all the world's
possible error in the perfect cast

Some imperceptible lift
of the breeze (plus a taste in the air,
a trick of the light, the distraction

of the trajectory of a bird 
or the fall of a leaf, the pull
of the power of the river

against the lower leg,
the balance of all known possiblities
in the mind, the tilt of the planet

on its axis, and the slight edge
of adrenalin in the muscle
that tuned the action of the rod

and the aim of the bone
that was brought down
like a catapult by nerves and sinews)

entirely misled, then corrected
the manner and direction 
in which the fly was laid down

It is only from mistakes
that we see the sense of things,
for the errors of our actions

are the source of adjustments
to knowledge and intuition
and even to the gift for making

the exceptional seem natural
Goodliness is learnt through the art 
of having buggered things up

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Walking The Land

WALKING THE LAND - Kevin Ireland

The hardest move on the worst journey
is the first step you place inside
an earlier footprint in the mind,

and the useless baggage you have to dump
along the way is always the burden
you thought you have left behind

The marks that you intend to leave to blaze
the route, in case you need to double back,
signal neither place nor stage:

they are simply new daubs on the old signs 
of journeys taken down the worn tracks
of some earlier age.

There is no other way but to go tapping along
with a twisted stick, stumbling on rut
and stone, as you walk the land,

with your sole guide the stars, and the map
etched in the creases of the calluses
cupped in the palms of your hands.