Conger eel (or something like it)

Mission Students’ Camp,
Waimarama Beach,
Via Havelock Nth.
Wed. 14th Jan. ’70.

Dear Mum & Dad,

Well, I have already had 1 week out at Camp. Note the above address – you can send mail to that address & it will reach us faster.

At the moment I am sitting next to Brian Wilson’s cockatiel. It used to be his grandmother’s & apparently she was not a very good singer, because she taught it to sing “It’s a long way to Tipperary” & it sings it flat. It is trying to sing it at the moment.

The first few days of Camp were fairly cold. On the Friday I went for a Conge with John Walls & Murray Cox to Kairakou – which is about a 3 hour walk. It is at a beach. We saw the Shernings & I met them all – including Brendan. Brendan said that he had just written to Leo, so I suppose he has got the letter by now. Although Shernings’ are about 10 miles away from Waimarama as the crow flies, they are about 50 miles away by road. So please tell everyone that I walked to Kairakau & back in one day, which is about a 100 miles journey!

By Saturday the weather was very hot, & now my nose is peeling.

On Sunday I went with Mick Wooller & Michael MacManus to Cray Bay to go cray-fishing. It is about a 40 minute walk (at Mick Wooller’s speed). Up until this year, the bay had been good for crays, but it seems to have been exhausted. “We” only got 1 crayfish as a result. I potted round all afternoon in goggles & snorkel in sea-weed up to my waist & when I wasn’t drowning I was worried about getting bitten by crayfish & crabs. Mick Wooller said that he had only ever had one fright & that was when he trod on a Conger Eel. However, the day ended quite happily, the only mishap been that I had been stung on my left ear by a Blue Bottle Jellyfish.

Getting stung on the left ear by a jellyfish was quite funny because on the way home from Shernings’ I was stung by a bee on the right ear, so it kind of evened things up.

Frs. Gordon (from Silverstream) & Ewart (from St. Pat’s Town) spent the weekend here at Camp. Fr. O’Donoghue (from St Pat’s Town) is at Camp at the moment. Fr. Bonisch is in charge here at Camp until Sunday.

Yesterday (Tues.) was another Conge Day, so Robert Devlin, Maka Tatafu & John Lomu & myself went to “Three Pin Point”. This is just a disguised way of saying you are going to spend the day with the Electric Toaster & Jug at the 3 Point Plug down at the Beach Domain & Foreshore – 100 yds. Away! We spent the whole day eating Tongan cooked shellfish & Tongan cooked fish soup, & we didn’t even get as far as the water for a swim!

Yesterday I spoke to Nola for a few minutes – she was driving past, but I will see her at Sunday Mass. The Hallagans are holidaying out here at the moment - & Mrs Hallagan sends her regards (she is the only one I’ve seen so far).

Well, I think that that’s all the news.

Love from

P.S. I cooked Tea last Thursday & they had stew. It tasted alright.

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