The implementation of cautionary measures is escalating daily here and life, as we’ve known it, is changing rapidly. They have—so far—not been as drastic as in other places in the news, but the status is no longer quo. Internationally-arriving passengers are required to impose 14-day self-isolation (and are promptly deported if they don’t comply). All international travel is most strongly discouraged. Air New Zealand direct flights to Chicago and Houston are cancelled. Anyone over 70 is not to undertake any unnecessary travel, but to stay at home. The meetings of my Devonport Folk Music Club and the Auckland Bluegrass Club are cancelled until further notice.
All meetings and excursions planned by my North Shore Fly-Fishing Club have also been cancelled—however, I was able to participate in a trip to fish the Whanganui (fong-a-NEW-ee) River near the town of Taumarunui (toe-ma-roo-NEW-ee) with good conscience last weekend, before conditions tightened. It’s a 5-hour drive south from Auckland (leaving on Friday afternoon in peak traffic). The weather couldn’t have been better, but the stream conditions were rather too challenging for my artificial knees and my 75-year-old cautionary sense of balance: I estimate that the river was, on average, 40 meters wide and armpit-deep, and the river bed was composed of very-slippery rocks ranging from plum- to VW-beetle size, with most of them larger than bowling balls. I use a wading staff, of course but, under these conditions, each step had to be carefully analyzed well in advance and executed with utmost caution, because I had only one hand for the staff (the other was holding my fly rod). Having said that, the rest of my report must include that I caught no trout, though a fellow (much-younger and considerably more spry) Club member caught four that were over 60 cm (24 inches). But I had my camera with me and was happy to come away with some good photographic memories. One can only wonder when such an opportunity to fish with these friends may arise again. In the meantime, may we all keep the necessary distance in mind, cherish the active memories, and support one another in every way that we can. Please stay safe and stay healthy!