Saturday, 20 April 2013

Oyster Farming... At Lemon Tree Passage

This is my friend Raewyn who I went to visit.
She and her husband Clive, who is an oyster farming consultant...
Were oyster farmers in Russell, Bay Of Islands, New Zealand...
And expanded to Australia

This is the overall Port Stephens area...
It's a big harbour...

Tilligerry Creek is part of the bigger harbour.
The star * marks where they are...
The little orange house is where the camping ground
that I stayed in is situated.

It was a short 5 minute walk along this road
to Raewyn and Clive's oyster processing sheds and
water access and where they live.

Their's is the first property...

Other oyster farms continue along the road to the end.

Raewyn and Clive hard at work.
Their life is governed by the tides...
When they can go out and lift the oyster
baskets and when they can put them back.
This is the grading table.
The oysters get covered in what is known as
'Over Catch' the wild spat oysters.
This needs to be scrapped off with a very sharp knife,
they are then graded into sizes to either sell or go back in the
water to grow some more.

These are how Raewyn and Clive buy their
oysters from the hatchery.
They can be bought at any size but these
 are 4ml to be put into baskets with 3ml holes.
The hatchery sources oysters to breed from
that are big, a good shape and have a deep cup.
They are put into warm water and spat at about 36 degrees.
They spurt eggs and sperm into the water
and join together in the water to form an 'Iyed Lave'
similar to a small tadpole.
They swim around for up to ten days...
They are all males who change to females.
They have a sucker foot that sucks onto a piece of fine
sediment about the size of a grain of icing sugar.
Then they don't move or swim any more.
They just sit and grow bigger.
In the hatchery they are fed plankton which varies
according to the size of the oyster...
And some grows shell, some grows meat.

They are grown to various sizes for various markets
and all have different names.
Clubs... Are the smallest size 32-42ml
Bistro - the next size 42-50ml
Buffet - 50-65ml (the pics above)
Standard - 65-70ml
Large 70-90ml
Jumbo 90-120ml
Grunde - over 120ml

These are standard...

These are Grunde - compare them with Raewyn's hand!

And this is the treasure hidden inside the muddy shells...

This crate is cleaned and graded ready to go back into mesh
baskets and into the water again.
Ohh look... There is one opened for me to eat!

I dont' need to be offered them twice... I love them.

Yum, yum... Any more?

Raewyn opened these for dinner.
About 4-5 dozen in this pot.
She dried them on paper towels,
rolled them in rice flour and cooked...
For a few minutes only... Delicious.
But I still like them raw best, straight out of the shell.

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Friday, 19 April 2013

Weekend In Port Stephens

Last weekend I went to visit some friends
who live at Lemon Tree Passage
in Port Stephens.
I got the faithful L90 from Palm Beach
to Central Station...

Then  another bus that left from Bay 14 along this walkway
To a place called Salt Ash, which was the nearest
stop to where my friends live.
It's not far on the map to Port Sephens...
But the bus took nearly 3 hours.

I stayed here... In this little cabin at the Koala Shores
camping ground. It was very nice, lots of trees
and beautifully maintained.

This was the sunrise out my window - with a screen on!

The wharf where I managed to get connection
to make phone calls.

There was a cafe with excellent coffee but no food
but one day there was fresh banana & raspberry cake.
It was yummy.

The pool was tempting... But too cold.

One of the interesting things
was the green matting on the grass.
Vehicles parked so it became their outdoor space.
There were big drains set into the grass...
Must be for when there is heavy rain.

The weather was beautiful which made my stay very pleasant.

The other interesting thing... Most people travel in
caravans. I saw very few motor homes.
There were a few very small rented vans
and no house buses...
Certainly not old ones like mine.

These are Ibis... That wandered the area.

At the edge of the camp ground is Tilligerry Creek.
It's a very wide 'creek', quite tidal and
where there are a lot of oyster farms.
More about those tomorrow.

There is a board walk that goes a long way round the shore
or at low tide can walk around the sand.

Lots of boats of various sizes moored...

Lovely homes amongst the trees...

And dinghy's to go fishing.
I really enjoyed my stay there.

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Thursday, 18 April 2013

Home and Away... Film Set...

This post is especially for my young friend Charlotte
in Christchurch who is very envious that
I am staying so close to 'famous' film stars... 
and where the TV program 'Home and Away' is filmed.
Have you heard of it?
Well it is filmed at Palm Beach...
In the program known as Summer Bay.
My daughter is an 'extra' in it.
Filming was yesterday...
So we went to have a look.

This is 7.30am... We had enjoyed coffee
then walked along the beach.
These are the big trucks with all the gear...
The catering truck...
The wardrobe truck...
The green room truck, don't know what they do in there!

Not much action... A few people are getting
ready for the day.

This is my daughter Penny... Ready for her part in the day.
She was required to take five summer outfits and
two evening outfits.
They are inspected by the wardrobe person
who selects the outfit for each scene.

This is the Boathouse cafe...
Where the filming was happening for the day.
As you can see no activity...
So I went home and went back later in the afternoon.

It was all activity... Camera crew and sound people...
The director...

Cameras and long cords as they moved up and down the beach.

They stopped and started... Lots to get organised
for each scene that is filmed.

These are the two main actors of this scene...
I don't know their film names...
The director gives instructions calls out 'rolling'... Then 'action'

And it's all happening...
I think they filmed this small part at least 6-8 times.

More consulting and instructions...

The sound  getting adjusted...
And they needed some 'extras'
sitting on the wharf in the background.
It was quite cool but in the story it's mid summer...
So they all look summery and hot.

More adjustments to the sound...
The director checking the 'extras'
who are sitting in the non-existent sun
swinging their legs and chatting...

Here they are... A bit of a fuzzy zoomed close-up.

And it's all filmed again... And again...
Until the director is happy...

And again...

The light was fading so the crew hold black screens...
Something to do with the light.
This time the camera filming from a different angle.
And hurray... It was all done.
Dinner time then more evening filming...
For Penny and the others it was a 13 hour day.
I went home for dinner.

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