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Andi Willsher's Website

In memory of, and dedicated to, Andi Willsher

NZ Feb 18th 2006 onwards!Page TWO.....

Well, it had to happen, the first NZ page got too large, so I thought I'd be inventive and actually add a second page.....same as the first page, only next!


If anyone actually reads this crap, please let me know, I like to think that my existence in cyberspace doesn't go totally un-noticed.


Feb 18th 2006

One of the greatest advantages of living in Auckland, despite the fact that it's where all the work is and it's about as far as you can get from the currently crap UK Winter, apart from those things anyway, is that it's only just over two hours from Tutakaka.  Tutakaka is on the coast further North and is the gateway to the amazing Poor Knights Islands, a true sub tropical diving paradise, cited by the great Jacques Cousteau as being one of the top ten dive sites in the World! some recommendation eh? being this close to somewhere like this and the fact that we are now living in a country that actually has a real Summer, it would be a great shame to not take full advantage of it.  I have made a few trips North to dive here, the wrecks of the HMS Tui and HMNZS Waikato are also found just off the coast here as well. I have just returned from a day diving the islands, there are over 50 documented dive sites, the whole area is a marine reserve, so everything is left alone to live as it should, no feeding is even allowed so you can observe life in the ocean as it should be! Visibility between 12 and 25m is common, and so far I have seen numerous fish species, sting rays, morays, orca, octopus, crays (bit like Lobster), nudibranch,  etc, well worth a visit if you have a spare day here, when some of you actually visit that is!


12th March 2006

We have just returned from a week in the Cook Islands, Rarotonga to be precise, the largest of the Southern Cook Islands, somewhere I've always wanted to visit, but lets face it - blooming miles from anywhere! but when you live miles from anywhere, it's not so lies a short four hour flight from Auckland, although a full day behind, due to the unfortunate location of the international date line, so we left at 0900 on Saturday and arrived at 1400 on Friday! how to cram an eight day holiday into a week!


Lots of eating, drinking, travelling around and diving under was done through our stay, 8 nights in what is truly and island paradise, even if it was about 30C of 90% humidity all week. The diving was awesome, visibility up to 55m, try that in the UK, and all in a 3mm shortie wetsuit on account of the water being 29C, I also did some deep dives and dived to 54m on one day, you could still see the silhouette of the boat and the sun above it! There were also some huge Morays about as well.



8th August 2006

Well, it's been ages since I did any updating, but then as no one reads my pages, no one will notice!


What's been happening then? there was another 12 hours of pain in the shape of the Rotorua 12 hour "Moonride" race, fantastic, if not chuffing freezing, weather saw loads of mad people racing through the forest whilst avoiding the boiling, volcanic mud pools (given away by the smell as you got near!) JJ was here as well, his team were totally off their heads and did the 24hr race (he broke his backside again!! but it was ok, a tree broke his fall) we decided to concentrate on quality!! so team "Big Nuts" managed a respectful 13th out of 67 mixed teams, not bad, we think so any way.


There has been loads more diving.....I'm now qualified as a Rescue diver and have my Nitrox speciality, I also managed to tick another thing off my "to do" list, I had a close encounter with a shark....a wild shark....a 2.5m Bronze Whaler Shark, at 13m down, at night - about 3 feet away, a large proportion of my air supply was used at that point, awesome sight, not too sure how keen I am to repeat it though!


I also managed to snowboard the South Island - still weird to board in July! Team "Cycleworkz" (Me and Cam) had a day on Mt Hutt, more snow than you could shake a stick at (though why would you?) and some cool wipeouts from Cam, great day.


The biggest thing that we've done is return to the UK for three a heat wave, what was all that about? I'm glad to say that we've returned to the Auckland Winter, cold, driving rain, high winds.....why did we move here again?


UK Trip......To FINALLY See Tommy K (is a DJ) (See below....) snatched from the  jaws of batchelor-dom.....Thanks Linz.

Way back in October last year, we booked our flights back to London, as soon as the "cheap" seats were released, I use the term cheap rather loosely. Cheap from the UK is not too bad, try doing it the other way around! the airline industry has cottoned on to the fact that Kiwi's have to travel to go anywhere, and with limited competition, they charge loads, but hey, we wanted to come back, I was Tom's best man on July 29th, wouldn't have missed that for anything.


We left NZ on Thurs 13th July, at about 2230pm, and, due to the magic of time differences, landed at Heathrow at 1500 on Friday, what a difference, we left Winter and arrived in 34C in London! London can't cope with heat, or cold for that matter, and it was heaving....not missed all those crowds!


The first weekend was spent a) catching up with family (thanks for all piling down South guys), b) getting over jetlag and season change, and c) starting the BBQ and beer fest that was to continue for the next three weeks! it's the law to put on weight whilst on holiday.


We picked up the smallest hire car we could find (the Dollar vs. the £ has gone the wrong way when you're paid in $'ss!) a Toyota Aygo, at least we could pick it up and carry it if it ever broke down, and it had NO air con, well, why would we need air con in the UK in July, never needed it when we lived there! we drove over 1400 miles in three weeks, visiting as many people as we possibly could, sorry if we missed any of you, but we spent an average of one night in each place, mainly with Wendy and I in different places most of the time. Bracknell, Grimsby, Peterborough, Chester, Sandiway, Bridgnorth, Bath, Frome, Calne, Newquay, Worthing, Bognor, Angmering and all the miles of congested motorway and A roads inbetween, mainly hot and sunny, did some fishing, shooting, eating, drinking (lots), had a "Faulty Towers" experience in the worst hotel in Newquay, saw most people joining in the baby thing and generally had fun. It's amazing how quickly three weeks can fly by.......


We had a fantastic time, we are very lucky and have some fantastic friends, it was great to spend some quality time with you all, only wish it could be more often, moving 15000 miles and trying to keep in touch really makes you appreciate who your friends are and how important they all are, it was hard to return home, especially as we arrived in NZ to rain, rain, more rain and high winds, isn't Winter great? It would be great if some of you come and visit the other side of the world....


The main event, for me especially, was the honour to be Tom's best man, that meant the stag do and the wedding......First the stag do (details have been omitted to protect the innocent!) .


Tom was very well behaved, we started with a sedate trip to Street, spending money and having a pub lunch, Tom stayed on OJ, not really allowed on your stag do, but we made allowances as he was driving during the day - and saving himself for later he kept saying.....Later - later was a night out in Bath, the scene of many of our drunken nights out, in our younger days of course! we started with a meal at the Lounge bar, well, sort of a meal, there were a few Pizza's about but it was mainly fruit that we ate, fruit that was the garnish in the cocktails you understand, not a health kick meal....the scene was set by beer not being allowed, so cocktails were the order of the night, we spent LOTS of money on alcohol, we were all quite restrained and got Tom home in one piece, he then decided to drink Port - all that looking after him and he goes into self destruction mode! and he did, you have to have a minging hangover the morning after you stag do, and he did.....a right pearler, I'm proud of him. It meant that we had lots of stories for the wedding weekend and enough ammunition to work into speeches if needed. He had a week to recover, and get through the last week of work and all the crap that comes with then trying to have four weeks off.


Yes, that is Tom emerging from the ladies!!

Who let that man drink and then have my camera?

We met in Bath on the day before the wedding, to sort out all the last things and try to remember all the stuff that we had forgotten by killing brain cells the weekend before! not sure about best man, but best "housewife" meant that I ironed his shirt, cleaned his shoes, got his hair cut, cooked him dinner etc etc, I had promised his Mum and Linz that I would look after him hadn't I, couldn't have poor hair or dirty shoes on the photos.


Wedding morning, he was so laid back, as he always is, but he could have made an exception for today! I only just managed to get him out of the shower when the car arrived! A very cool stretch bug, how well his wife knows him.


The day was fantastic, emotional and very special, I'm still honoured to have played a part in it, and it is about time that Tommy made an honest woman out of Lindsey, only Jimmy, Che and Ying to go now - we like a challenge!


Nice! Tom and I, the boys!

Men in suits - check out that car....

Julia, Me, Linz, Tom and Debbie


Tommy K

So, what's this Tommy K - is a DJ all about then? you may well ask, but even if you didn't, I'm going to tell you anyway. It's a song, sung by the very talented "Saw Doctors" from Galway, and who else could it be about apart form our very own Tommy K then! there are a series of actions that also accompany the song......ask any of the lads for details! but they can be seen whenever there are a few of us together and we are mixed with a few beers, and preferably some snow.....


15th October 2006

Well, what's been happening since our return from Blighty then.....well, it's been Winter! whilst most of you have been enjoying the remainder of the hottest Summer in years (we were glad to hear that we saw the best of it during our visit) we have been having the NZ Winter weather that makes Auckland what it is......and at the moment it is mostly wet, windy but mild.


We had great fun meeting Tom and Linz on our side of the world, very strange, and we managed to get a snowboarding session in, was weird texting and talking as they progressed North from the South Island and then we met half way up the North Island and they then made they're way to our house, where they promtly tried to unload four weeks worth of shopping from the camper van and pack it into new bags! Guys, thanks heaps for helping prop up the NZ economy through the Winter! it was awesome to see you...let's hope it's not too long 'till next time and roll on Canada!


Spring has sprung, with the start of day light saving time, although no one seems to have told the weather. It's not stopped us having fun though.  I repeated last years painful 12 hour race - the Day Night Thriller in Taupo, only this time I organised team Tip Top, the Riccocino Frothy Five (in recognition of our sponsors) we managed a very respectable top 10 finish, coming 9th in the mixed team category, despite a puncture and a long run for one team member. As usual the Willsher / Justice clan did our best to increase the Pommie contingent with JJ and Steve also competing. JJ claims they had a faulty transponder - yeah right, more like too many beers the night before, ha ha.......:)


26th November 2006

We finished the month of Mum and Dad's visit with a trip to Hahei on the Coromandel peninulsa, staying in a great back on the hill side with amazing views all over the bay and for miles out to sea, the weather wasn't that kind, the house shook all day saturday with the high winds and rain - I still managed a surf at Hot Water Beach though! but Sunday was kinder, with some sunshine.....walked to Cathedral Cove and then headed home for another week of work.


We spent last night at the long awaited U2 concert in Auckland, originally scheduled for last March! it finally happened last night, well worth the wait! over 49000 people crammed into Mt Smart Stadium to see the biggest light and sound show I have ever seen, the atmosphere, which is usually lacking at a big venue, was awesome, even if it was sooooo loud, must be getting old....the set list went as follows, if anyone gives a toss? I won a bet with the correct prediction of the opening track, Les, you owe me a beer?

City of Blinding Lights
Until The End of the World
Still Haven’t Found What I'm Looking For
Beautiful Day
Angel of Harlem
Walk On
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Bullet The Blue Sky
Miss Sarajevo
Pride in the Name of Love
Where the Streets have no Name

The Fly
Mysterious Ways
With or Without You

The Saints are Coming
One Tree Hill