SKILLS & PURSUITS

To Build a Fire

Techniques for the perfect campfire

Despite dropping out of Cubs at age 8 and never making it to Scouts, I have always considered myself well versed in the art of constructing and maintaining a campfire. Newspaper was my preferred tinder, and I usually opted for the teepee design. I also felt that I had an intuitive sense for such things as kindling size, and when to add more wood.

Starboard or Larboard

Learning to sail the hard way

And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then

Leonard Cohen

I thought of arriving at tropical islands, cocktails on deck, my hands on the wheel as the ship coursed through the ocean. What I didn’t think of was the terror, not of storms and rogue waves, but of learning something new.

Endeavour and Adventure

An interview with Shaun Barnett

For almost 20 years Shaun Barnett has made his living from writing and photographing New Zealand’s wild places, a career built on his own love of the bush and mountains. He has written best-selling tramping guides, an introduction to New Zealand’s natural history and, together with Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint, a history of backcountry huts.

Camping Friends

Camping with kids

I quickly discovered a number of benefits to camping with children. The first was sleep. They got up early it’s true. The sun poured through the tent sides and soaked their brains in serotonin, and bird song was a deafening if beautiful alarm clock. But they get up early at home anyway, so nothing lost there. They went to bed early.

Lofty Aspirations

Why we climb trees

Visiting my family in the Cook Islands in the 1980s, I was entranced by a man named King Piri Puroto III. He called himself the coconut king and put on shows for tourists which included fire-making, tree-climbing, coconut husking and flirting with the ladies. He was elderly, no one knew quite how old, but he must have been at least seventy.

Pages