Day 19 on the Road
Feeding the Eels at Raglan Eel Farm
It’s Day 19 on New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year where we are doing 365 Days: 365 Activities. Today we are checking out the Raglan Eel Farm, as well as exploring Raglan town.
So today I’m pretty pumped because we are going to visit a sustainable eel farm. I really like anything to do with animals I like them so much and I like fish and I like snakes so this is a fish snake and this is an animal and this is about sustainability and all of that so I am really excited.
We are going to the eel farm. We need to follow this for 2.4km until you get to 224 Horitira Road. You’ll see a red mail box on the right. This is very easy to miss.
224 that’s here. We’ll meet these people and ask where can we park. Cos we can’t get up there. Of course, we can’t. Yeah, exactly.
So we arrive there and we’re sort of waiting at the red mail box. Eventually, a lady in one of the those four by four comes down the road and we go up to her and like: “Hey, we’re here for the eel farm.” She’s farming the eels – she’s eating the eels. She is selling them for export but she’s doing it in a sustainable way. She is actually one of the only person in New Zealand, I think, to do that, which is pretty great because New Zealand eels are a delicacy in many many parts of the world and they’re really well known. So she does that not in an industrial way but in a sustainable way. Which means she only keeps a small quantity of them, She lets them grow to maturity instead of killing them young. She lets them reproduce. She reintroduces some in some rivers and all of that. So she basically does the whole work.
So we are in a [Raglan Eel] farm which is like two small ponds where the eels come from the river right beside it. but the whole farm itself is further upstream. Jan keeps these two ponds so she can show people the eels and stuff like that. And she’s brought with her a few Tupperware boxes of steak so guess what we’re going to do! We’re going to feed the eels, which is a really cool way to actually see them really close. Despite them being blind, their instincts are so good that they just smell it in the water. And they slither up to the steak and you can put it just a little bit higher out of the the water and they’ll slither their way out of the water and take it from you and even have a little tug-of-war with the steak. That was really cool to see that.
Did you see that? Oh, it’s so cute!
The populations are still high because she’s just using some of them from the river and not using all of them for farming which other places would do, so you know, she’s just taking a little bit at a time, farming the eels, sending them to Asia and places like that which really appreciate the New Zealand eels as a cuisine.
Now you have to be a little bit quick because eels have very strange kind of teeth. So this is the eel mouth and the teeth of the eel, instead of being straight they’re actually facing backwards. So if they bite you and you try to pull you’ll only hurt yourself more.
Alright, so that’s pretty much it for the [Raglan] Eel Farm. Our tour was about 15 minutes, but honestly we learned a lot and we had a lot of fun.
After our time with Jan and the eels and the ducks, we then head back into Raglan. We just sort of potter around the town a bit. It’s a surf town so every street corner seems to have a Rip Curl or a Roxie or a Quicksilver or a any other sort of surf brands. They’re all there. Cos Raglan is like a top surf destination in the world. Who decided to put a cone right here and how did they get it up there? Please explain.
There’s like a few historical buildings, a bit of artwork here, some sort of back alleys, which you don’t expect anything to be down but it actually some sort of hipster joint where people are just having a coffee down an alley and it’s like a tiny little coffee place. People are just hanging out. Just enjoying each other’s company.
We go back to Raglan Backpackers and they have a spa pool and we’ve being eyeing up this spa pool since we arrived yesterday and we were like, “we are getting in that spa pool!”
It’s really nice. Obviously, it’s a spa pool. But I feel like within five minutes I’m burning a lot. I’m not very good with the heat so I’m just there like cooking like a lobster, Robin just chillaxing for the whole time like: “oh yeah, so nice,” and I’m literally like the top of my body is white and the bottom is red. It was hot but it was welcomed. It was comfortable… for five minutes.
So after our spa pool sesh, we sort of have some food and get ready for our pub quiz. And we’re meeting one of the guys that work in the hostel and he says: “Yeah, come to the quiz. It’s the first time this quiz if going on so I don’t know what it’s going to be like but let’s, yeah, we’re going. Come with us.”
We’re answering all the questions, we’re having a blast, we’re chitchatting with the locals. I’m drinking beer too because I’m not driving tonight. Robin is like killing the quiz questions because he’s such a freakin’ nerd. The we’re with are just like: “Whaaaat?! We are so glad we have you on our team!” I mean, I obviously answer quite a lot myself because I’m really the brains behind this operation. We lost for half a point. Now one of the questions the answer was twice the same word. We would have got this half a point. Ohhh Gad. Anyway, it’s fine I had fun and I’m not winning. I’m a bit competitive.