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Recharging my batteries.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the poor summer that we have had in our part of the country and the higher-than-average rainfall.
There are some things in our lives that we do for enjoyment, and we need to do them regularly to maintain a level of fulfilment. I don’t know about you, but I find I need to fill my summer batteries to help me get through the winter months when there aren’t so many opportunities to get out and about.
One of the things that Emma and I normally enjoy in the summer months is the opportunity to get out the tent and head off to one of the many beautiful camping spots dotted around. We often talk about doing this more than we actually do it, but there are plenty of opportunities and we enjoy the break when we go.
As this wet summer comes to a close and we reflect on how we spent our leisure time, it would be fair to say that our camping gear has been neglected and underused.
We are part of an online naturist group, the BoP Naturists, run by Glenne and her partner Col. Glenne had organised a local weekend at a campsite about 90mins drive north of us at a place called Opoutere, located at the bottom of the Coromandel peninsular. The Coromandel region had been hit badly by a cyclone that tore through the region, with roads washed out and loss of power for some days. Part of me felt that perhaps we shouldn’t be holidaying in a region so badly affected by a recent weather event, where people are struggling and doing it hard, but the Coromandel relies heavily on tourism, and supporting local businesses is an important contribution to assist in the recovery of the region. The local mayor had even appealed for people to keep visiting the region.
The other consideration, admittedly a shallow one, is that I am a fair-weather camper. The idea of sitting in a tent during bad weather then packing up a wet tent and trying to dry it out in the garage when we get home doesn’t hold much appeal. One day we may upgrade to a camper van, but at this stage, the funds are not quite there to buy a reliable vehicle for that purpose.
The forecast for the weekend was for scattered showers, and we seriously considered bailing out and staying home for the weekend. Torn between the want to stay dry and comfortable and the desire to support local naturist events, as the week progressed our resolve to go camping grew stronger.
The campsite at Opoutere is not a naturist campsite. It is open to everyone and although the adjacent beach has been a known naturist spot for a long time, the rules were that we needed to cover up at the campsite. The campground has several different areas and our naturist group were booked into a pleasant area with multiple unpowered sites.
We left home at about 4.30 pm on Friday and drove the hour and a half to the campsite, arriving in plenty of time to set up the tent and get established before the loss of daylight.
Saturday morning arrived with not a cloud in the sky, and I headed off to the beach with my fishing rod. Some of our group had already picked a spot a couple of hundred meters north of where the regular campers were, so I set up camp close by stripped off and cast my line into the water. Fishing is one pastime that I really enjoy, although more often than not I come home empty-handed. To be fair, they don’t call it catching. It is more about casting a line into the water and then sitting quietly doing nothing for a couple of hours. If I catch a fish, that is a bonus, not an expectation. I have always maintained that a bad day’s fishing beats a good day at work.
It was interesting that while the expectation at the campsite was that everyone would be clothed all the time, the beach was quite different. A few groups of non-naturist people would walk along the beach, smile and say hello or even stop and ask how the fishing was going. All very accepting and non-confrontational. How I wish it could be all the time.
Contrast this with a moment while walking through the campsite with our dishes to the camp kitchen, my sarong loosened and nearly slipped off. After asking Emma to take the dishes and explaining that I needed to refit the loose clothing, a comment was directed to me from a regular camper behind one of the other tents, “keep your clothes on, this is a family campsite!”.
Following a morning of failing miserably to catch fresh fish for our evening meal, Emma joined me bringing a picnic lunch. After eating, we went for a walk northwards along the beach enjoying the fresh air, warm sand and tranquillity of the environment.
At around 4.00 pm we joined the other naturist campers for a happy hour of drinks and conversation which evolved into a potluck BBQ meal and continued conversation well into the evening
As we woke on Sunday morning, to another clear day, and just a slight amount of dew on the tent, we packed up the camping gear and loaded up the vehicle. Although Glenne had arranged for a late 2.00 pm checkout for the group, Emma plays in a Samba band and had a practice session for an upcoming gig, so we needed to break camp and be on the road by 9.00 am.
As Emma went off to band practice, I took the opportunity to clean, dry and repack all the gear. Finally, it looked like we might be able to enjoy some nice weather in the dying stages of summer. Later that evening there was a flash in the sky, a loud clap of thunder, and 89 mm (3.5 inches) of rain.
After such a disappointing summer it was nice to partially recharge my summer batteries, my fishing batteries, my camping batteries, and my social naturism batteries all in one weekend.
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.