Relaxing Start into the Year 2016

Dear friend,

             life is easy and comfortable on beniSland. I have been rather lazy in the last three weeks, often having to check what day it is. I don’t do much, attend to the gardens (not good this year) and animals, go for walks in the backyard, read about my hobbies, do a couple stretches and cook yummy food.

I’m happy and also pissed off.

Happy because I have food, warmth, water, good health and life is unproblematic. Pissed off because I have been unable to make a living by using my skills or knowledge or passion. Everything I have done here on the Island employment-wise has been on a low salary and it hasn’t lasted long enough. You know, you start something new, you prove yourself, you bring in ideas and go the extra mile (a few times), but ultimately you can be replaced by anyone at any time.

It’s like social media, it doesn’t matter what you do, how you do it, or even why you are doing it, what matters is how many likes you have.  It also doesn’t matter who you are, what matters most is what people perceive of you.

Rockfishing Adventures

I took clients fishing off the rocks twice last week. The fishing was not great, in both cases I expected more, but I met top people and judging by their feedback, they enjoyed the experience very much.

Glenn and his son Liam from Napier were not experienced anglers, and as Glenn told me numerous times, for him it was more about meeting a local Barrier resident and experiencing this place than catching big fish. Before meeting up here, we talked over the phone.

Every now and then, I get an email from a stranger who reassures me in the lifestyle I have chosen and to acknowledges what I do online. I really appreciate such comments and meeting people who read my blogs. You know, there are ups and downs here, like everywhere and sometimes I ask myself what I’m doing.

For instance, I worked for 2.5 years as a youth worker here, with a huge responsibility and a workload that was at times stressful, but at the end of the week, I earned 40 NZD more than what the social or unemployment benefit pays.

Back to the fishing. I took Glenn and Liam on a big adventure and hike to a very remote spot. They caught three decent snapper between 35-40 cm and plenty kahawai. They went also for a swim, took photographs and we had enjoyable chats about fishing, New Zealand, The Barrier and Maori.

_IMG8194_lznIt was my pleasure meeting your family Glenn and I enjoyed our discussions. Hopefully, we can meet again.

The other party I took fishing consisted of two very keen anglers. We met at 0500 and went to a top spot. We burleyed hard, fished hard and were patient, but the fishing was unfortunately slow. Kahawai were caught, there were plenty under-sized snapper, but just nothing exciting.

Since it was so slow, I started fishing myself to introduce more variety in what was done, and to put something into our bag. I caught a piper and sent it out under a balloon. A squid had a go, so I got the squid jig out and arrested it. I later live-baited with a kahawai but no sign of kingfish.

At least Paul and Justin got a feed of kahawai and squid. I also talked with them about how I fish, what methods I use and how I go about finding a spot and time.

It is unfortunate that nothing big showed up since I had put a top priority on catching more than a feed. However, we had a good time and I thank you all for your positive feedback.

Rockfishing Blog & Adventures

I publish a dedicated rockfishing blog and offer Fishing Adventures on the Barrier. These adventures are tailored to your needs and it is a concierge-type service where I look after all your needs. It is a great way to spend half a day on the Barrier, learn about fishing off the rocks, catch a feed and go for a hike to rugged and remote areas.

If this sounds like you, have a read about my services and contact me. (Great Barrier Island Rockfishing Blog & Rockfishing Adventures on the Barrier)

Snapper Heads and Frames

I had a great breakfast of snapper heads and frames. If you haven’t, try it. You’ll love the heads and frame, you have been missing out buddy! Usually, people just take the fillets and throw the rest away. What a waste of life. The least you can do is give the carcasses to dog or cat, or use it as to make compost for the gardens.

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In the following a few photographs for you. My graduated filters arrived and I can now increase the dynamic range in landscape shots. If you like to see more photos and read about dynamic range and graduated neutral density filters, have a look at my photography page (click on

_IMG8178_lzn tryphena3


5 thoughts on “Relaxing Start into the Year 2016”

  1. Hi Ben, we spoke a while back re heavy metals.

    I try to cook fish whole as the bones leech minerals into the meat. Slow is good covered with a lid and water and veges, thai and indo styles my favourite.

    I’m still sniffing around re moving to barrier, but I’m not inertia-ed up at the moment, and still standing still here in Grey Lynn.

    My friend has chickens, and supplements them with diatomacious earth and iodine, he reckons the eggs are the best, and disease and parasites is minimal.

    Have you considered seaweed harvesting as employment? Your property is not ideal for drying due to the walk, but you could use another location, though turning and regular checking may be required I think.

    “Barrier Weed” could be a real hot seller!

    I used to fish a lot when younger, and recently caught a lot of squid at night around Takapuna/Milford, but I worry about pollution there, so I stopped fishing near home.

    Anyhoo’s, hope 2016 is a good one.

    Frank C

    1. Hey Frank, thanks for your comment and tips. Thai style, whole fish steamed or fried is my favourite dish. Usually, I cook a feed off the fillets and then fry up the frames for breakfast the next day.

      Barrier is great, especially if you don’t have to worry about earning money. But, New Zealand is a big country and there are many, many great places and most of them would be cheaper to live in than on the Barrier. Not only cheaper but easier in terms of getting things done and organized. In saying that, there is a special feel to this place and the isolation provides a different community flair.

      Chicken are finally laying eggs, so far I had zero problems with disease or parasites. Normally, I give them sea weed to eat and turn over, but haven’t as the quad ain’t working. I need to go and get some broken up shellfish shells etc. for them though.

      Barrier Weed is a top brand! They do seaweed harvesting on King Island off Tasmania, big industry for that Island. It is a good idea though. I started writing things down that I can do; my way forward should be self-employment. So yeah, I suppose I just have to try things out and go hard at them.

      Wishing you a good 2016 as well Frank. Thanks again, Ben

  2. Hi Ben, is that true that there is less tourism and influx on the Barrier? I’m not looking at setting up tourism but looking at moving there one day…Are things getting harder/more difficult on the Barrier??

    1. Hi Ronan, don’t know how to answer your question. Come and check it out, not much changes here and anything I say here has been said 3-4 decades ago. In a way, things are getting more difficult. It seems that all laws are tailored to “one size fits all”, while prices go up, rates, taxes etc, the people don’t earn more money here. Sooner or later, we will have people in the Local Board who ask the right questions and demand adequate assistance from Council and Government. But yeah, come and check it out and talk to the locals. Your best bet… Cheers, Ben

  3. Hi Ben shona and Scott here living on boat at Gulf Harbor working in Silverdale have house up in mangonui go up every couple of weeks would be good to catch up.
    Cheers scott

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