Great Barrier Island Climate – Pictures of the Week 17 – And Some More

Establishing a lifestyle which allows for comfortable living in accordance with the seasons is obviously a long-term goal for me. It always strikes me as bizzare when I’m asked whether the weather is good or bad; I mean, good for what, bad for what?

Auckland’s climate can be described as warm-temperate, arguably better termed oceanic. According to Wikipedia, oceanic describes a climate which features warm summers and cool, wet winters, with a relatively narrow temperature range. Further, precipitations are (more or less) evenly dispersed throughout the year.

The climate on Great Barrier Island deserves, however, further elaboration, and as far as I, a layman, have perceived it, I’d state that it is generally warmer, some 2-3 degrees C, and the duration of rain falls is shorter and less frequent. For the sake of personal embarressment, I won’t try to explain why this is so, and leave it to the reader’s imagination and understanding that an island with an area of about 285 square kilometers with a distance of about 100 km from the main land can be affected by weather patterns differently than the main land, and may even have its own sub-climate.

You can imagine, for instance,  that precipitation which occurs first in Auckland may never reach as far as Great Barrier Island. Once reaching the channel it gets carried away along the coast line of the main land.

Maximum average daily temperatures during the summer months are about 24 deg C and around 15 deg C during the winter months. Subtract these numbers by about 8 deg C and you yield the minimum average daily temperatures for GBI.

The last summer was dry with moderate winds, as a whole it appeared very long and calm. I believe that this summer was the driest in New Zealand for the last 50 years.

In terms of water and access to fresh water, from what I read, the future looks grim. It will only get hotter and dryer during the summers, precipitations during the rainier months will be more drastic and severe, and of course fresh water is not being accessed sustainably and pollution will degrade the quality.

But don’t worry just yet, the diminishing quality and access to fresh water will affect mostly those who are already very poor, often living in less-developed countries that are struggling to providing a standard of living conditions for their entire population. Such a standard would, however, be classified by most in the so-called developed countries as non-acceptable anyway.

But let’s get back to my situation and the initial sentence. It is desirable to living according to the seasons in comfort, and in such a way that I can enjoy each of them.

My designated winter garden is, yet again, not happening. I tried broccoli and cabbage etc., but doubt that the seedlings will ever yield more than just being seedlings.

I have spotted more than a handful of different fungi and tried to identify them via online media, but to no avail. I will have to get me a detailed book and start reading about both edible and poisonous fungi which grow on the island.

Unfortunately, my knowledge about flora is very limited and I must expand on it. At the end of the day, there is free food around and it is a shame that I can’t make use of it.

Well, I just finished one delicious mushroom that I’ve been drying since a couple of days. It tastes really good and I had a few nibbles over the last days. Obviously, not a wise approach to fungi!

Land-based fishing is generally really good during the colder months, too. It starts with less fish being around in close, which means that when you hook a snapper it is large enough to keep. Less action can be more action in terms of fishing. This is prime time for big snapper and kingfish.

I missed out on a few opportunities in the last two weeks to go on decent fishing missions. Mainly due to lazyness. 5 Days ago, conditions were perfect for targeting kingis and I was foolish enough to change plans, after waking up at 0600 in the morning and being put off by the drizzle. By 0800 the showers had retreated and although I caught a feed at another spot, I know I should have been king-fishing.

Well, I suppose it is time for pictures, isn’t it?







I've been eating small amounts of these. Very tasty.
I’ve been eating small amounts of these. Very tasty.


Unfortunately, this premium bait didn't yield a big moocher.
Unfortunately, this premium bait didn’t yield a big moocher.


But hey, I do manage to catch a feed.
But hey, I do manage to catch a feed.

I hardly made it out of the A-Frame in the last three days, which, as boring as it may sound, is not a bad thing. It is good to be lazy or doing nothing every now and then, this feeling of under-accomplishment of wasting time can be a good motivator to getting things done.

I went for a long hike in the backyard, hiking through dense bush for about 4 hours in a loop track. The bush amazes me, I keep seeing, or better I actively observe, more even in spots I have frequented before. This time it was the kauri trees. Patches of 40-50 regenerating kauri and some areas with massive mature kauri.

Other than that I’m cutting strategically tea tree for firewood for the 2014/15 winters, and read ‘Into The Wild’ by John Krakauer and finished ‘Survivor’ by Chuck Palahniuk. I’ve seen the movie of the former a few times and the touching story is about a young man
who abandons the only life he knows to, well, to go into the wild.

I enjoyed ‘Survivor’, albeit not ending up to being what I was looking for, and a distorted storyline, where, in my opinion, an interesting, realistic and perceivable narrative is reduced in magnitude by adding parts which are less realistic and perceivable. What I enjoyed most were the accurate, yet amusing conclusive descriptions about parts of society by the agent of the protagonist, and in general Palahniuk’s style of writing.

In the following a few quotes:

‘Her voice makes me think of her mouth makes me think of her breath makes me think of her breasts.’

‘The living, breathing creepy geeky ugly me can’t stand up to her fantasy, so I have a plan, a terrible plan, to make her hate me and at the same time fall in love with me. The plan is to unseduce her. Unattract her.’

‘You’ve never seen a crucifix with a Jesus who wasn’t almost naked. You’ve never seen a fat Jesus. Or a Jesus with body hair.’

‘They need a unified field theory that combines glamour and holiness, fashion and spirituality.’

‘People can’t conceive of a virtue in someone else that they can’t conceive in themselves.’

2 thoughts on “Great Barrier Island Climate – Pictures of the Week 17 – And Some More”

  1. I think an important point to make regarding the Barriers’ weather is that is lying off the East coast of a mainland which has a prevailing Westerly weather pattern and thus is in a rain shadow to some degree for the majority of the time. Obviously the less frequent Easterlies do bring rain, sometimes in terrible quantities. Even Waiheke way back in the gulf experiences this, as does the North and Eastern Coromandel from my experience.

    Top one looks like a parasol mushroom. And the one you’ve been eating probably a Boletus. Edible for sure, but I’m not an expert, so definitely get a 100% positive ID before you eat any more! And if you find any psycillocibes, well, be careful!

    And go kingfishing! Can’t talk really as I haven’t been to the coast since I got back. I’ve been too busy, it’s just been too cold and I can’t face the 2am start. Paul xxxxx

    1. Thanks for your informative comment. Indeed, the location of the Barrier in regards to the mainland needs to be specifically mentioned. The rain shadow you are
      talking about is not necessarily explained by this, but it is certainly easier to assume an understanding of why we get less rain in Westerly weather patterns.

      Re the fungi, I need to get more involved with. Just had a look at Boletus, yes, there are some varieties and the one I’m eating does look similar, but yeah, need to do some proper research into it. Or better, just have someone show me which ones they eat here on the barrier. Cheers Paul!

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