My stepmother, Trish Marsh, hauled in this huge Bass earlier this year.
So impressed by Trish’s catch, I decided to share her remarkable feat with you. As you can well imagine, Trish is not the sort of person to be messed with, having that certain fortitude and resolve entrenched in New Zealanders.
I am also seizing on the opportunity to enlighten those who have no idea where White Island or Ohope Beach is; my folk’s Shangri-La. Perhaps I am also feeling a little nostalgic and craving a bit of New Zealand.
Dealing with White Island first, or Whakaari Island as it is known indigenously, it is located 48 km offshore from Ohope Beach, on the east coast of New Zealand’s north island, in the Bay of Plenty.
The name Bay of Plenty is somewhat self-explanatory yet rather quaint, coined by Captain James Cook back in 1769 as he sailed through and noted the abundance of food supplies here, as opposed to Poverty Bay, further back along the east coast, to which he had obviously encountered a distinct lack of supplies!
White Island is rather unique in that it is New Zealand’s only active underwater volcano, there being quite a lot of volcanic activity throughout country. Furthermore, it is apparently the most accessible andesite stratovolcano in the world, providing an extraordinary window on a young Volcano’s evolution or mountain building, rising 300 metres above sea level over the last years 16,000 however, the submersed portion reaching depths of 1600 metres and circa 200,000 years young.
The surrounding waters are warm from the super-heated steam rising from the earth’s core, needless to say attracting bountiful fish, as demonstrated by Trish’s catch, along with excellent diving. You can actually take a guided tour of the island for a closer look at the crater, although fishing would be my preference unless you’re a budding volcanologist.
Ohope beach is arguably New Zealand’s most beautiful and user-friendly coastline, particularly in terms of the weather, which is relatively moderate all year round; relative in the sense that a lot of New Zealand’s coastline is glorious during the summer months but can be damn chilly during the winter.
Ohope has that allure of pristine golden sand beaches and crystal clear, magnetically blue waters and with an unbroken stretch of 11kms with panoramic views of White Island and the East Cape, wonderful for long strolls.
It is also one of the hottest surfing spot’s in the country with fast waves breaking along the shoreline when the northerly swells are up along the bay from Matakana Island to the Motu River mouth. Bring your wetsuit in the winter though!
For more information on the region visit www.ohopebeach.info
Also for the fitness-minded you might consider a trip timed with the Ohope Ordeal, held annual in March. It is indeed a gruelling ordeal and yet my father took part in it this year, and he’s 72!http://www.whakatane.com/feature_ohope_ordeal.php
And the fish, well Trish’s catch is a Bass which look similar to h?puku, but are generally a thicker-bodied if not fat fish and make excellent eating. This website is an excellent encyclopedia on New Zealandwww.teara.govt.nz
But what I miss most about New Zealand is our ability to laugh at ourselves, something that is seriously lacking in Asia. Follow the links below for a good Kiwi laugh with Fred Dagg Aka John Clarke, New Zealand’s equivalent of Monty Python in its madness and satire at its best.