Wharf to Wharf; Great Barrier Island Marathon; Sponsor Ben

Come to Great Barrier Island and challenge yourself. Run or bike a full or half a marathon from Wharf to Wharf. From Port Fitzroy to Tryphena, via the unforgettable Forest Road. This is an event and experience you will remember for a lifetime. I am going to do the marathon bike option and you can sponsor me. For a mere 50$, I will wear a T-shirt – provided by you – or similar with your company or individual logo/website. I will document the event and upload pictures of me, together with your logo/website onto my blog. Interested in sponsoring? Contact me via contact form for detailed information. You can download the course map for the Wharf to Wharf, Great Barrier Island (15th. October 2011) here (W2W Course Map). I certainly am looking forward to it.

In the following an update on my life here on Great Barrier Island. Yesterday was one of those days. At work, as usual, I was cleaning up on the yard when I got a new task. “Ben, check the roller, a couple of tyres need fixing.” This roller has 6 slick tyres on the front – each two with their own axle – and 4 on the back. The back ones are aligned so that they roll over the gaps of the front ones. Everything about this machine – unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me – was heavy and tough going. I identified two tyres that needed fixing – luckily, these were the ones with best access to the nuts and bolts. Using the sledge hammer, I worked the second wheel that simply didn’t want to come off once the bolts were undone for around 30 minutes. At stages just beating it up in anger. Finally, a ferocious kick – acknowledging the Kiss of the Spider Kick Technique from my Kung Fu days – did the trick. No one expects a kiss from a spider, it is so sudden and at stages so subtle, but effective, that anything will give in.

I felt proud and rolled the wheels into the workshop. Got the first tube out after working the metal rings on the rim and breaking the outer tyre off the rim manually. I patched the tube and put the wheel together. This took only 2.5 hours of beating, swearing and recalling watching others do similar tasks. Another hour and I had made no progress at all with the second tyre. Nothing. I hammered it will all my might, using both steel and dynamite, but nothing. Was I doing something wrong? Am I stupid? I had to get help. The boys at work are very helpful, but I like to finish the task on my own, instead of asking for help every time something doesn’t work as planned. But I had enough.

My mate suggested. “Hmmm, have you beaten it?” Me:”Yes”. “Hmm, use your muscles this time. Come on, hit it hard”. My response:”Mate, believe me, the outer tyre will not break off the rim.” “Hmmm, do you want me to have a look?”. “Yes, please.” So my mate went on and did all the things I had done, realizing that the rings on the rim – those that stop the tyre from coming off it – had seized up and had “rusted into the tyre material”. So the solution was to use the forklift. I had another go for 30 minutes or so, nothing. What next. Drive over it with the forklift and while doing it, curse at it. Okay, again nothing. It didn’t move a millimeter.

Next, one of the guys used the excavating digger, put the blade onto one side of the tyre and pressed the bucket onto the other side. Again, absolutely nothing, the digger just went up, the tyre didn’t do anything. So, another digger came into the equation and finally, after 4 hours – I was ready to go home and say:”Sorry, but this tyre is xxcked.” But I learned once again, that I give up too easily. You gotta work things out over here. So yeah, from 900 in the morning until 1800 in the afternoon, I was busy with these two wheels, patched the tubes up and reassembled them.

After all that, I got a compliment. A good one too! “Ben, I think your hands are growing.” Seriously, the boys have hands that are twice the size of mine, those guys that are the thinnest, have the strongest hands (they do all the work…). A good compliment after a hard days work and it is good to see that I’m starting to fit in.

Here are some pictures from around my place.

Some planks and building material I scored from the yard.
I'll be using this to build my shower and toilet. Maybe some planks for future decking.
Germinated seeds. It is looking good. Just got to turn over the ground in the garden patch and replant the seedlings in a week or so.
Carrots or onions and broccoli.
And my babies. Tomatoes. Grosze Lise, Heirloom and Roma. I've got perhaps another 500 tomato seeds. Used to eat them in kilo amounts per week, haven't bought a fresh tomato for 2 months; too expensive.
Climbed up a pine tree - there are 8-9 big ones on the property - to take this picture. The juicy hills of the tip Coromandel Peninsular in the background and the rock I fished off near the wharf. I noticed pig marks around the pines and up into the bush. They were as close as 30 meters to the A-Frame. Perhaps I should spend a night in the pine trees and see what happens.
Another tree, this time a bit higher up. You can see all of Tryphena Harbour.
My favorite views taken from where my shed is. You can see Channel Island and in the distance - not the clearest day - Rangitoto Island. I need a better camera....

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