Following yesterday’s post, Family Kiwidutch have left Kaikoura behind and are heading towards Blenheim and then Picton, so that we can catch the InterIsland Ferry.
These photographs were of course taken three years ago, but in recent months a series of exceptionally large earthquakes have shaken Kaikoura, most of them having their epicenter in this northeastern area of the South Island.
New Zealand is of course no stranger to earthquakes, but have experienced many more than average since the large quakes that have rocked Christchurch since 2010.
This area is lucky in that it is sparsely populated, a magnitude 7.8 followed by the many aftershocks above 5.0 in a densely populated area anywhere in the world would be certain to cost lives.
Livestock were lost to the quake due to landslides and to that fact that in a few places the ground quickly opened up and then closed again (a terrifying thought but a mercifully quick death). This area is still somewhat isolated because of landslips on State Highway One on the northern side of Kaikoura, the slips to the south having been fewer in size and number and having been cleared in recent weeks.
The northern slips are predicted to take at least two months, so all traffic between Wellington and Christchurch is currently having to take the only other road north, the “inland route” , a journey that now takes at least seven hours.
Fortunately back in 2013 we didn’t need to take the Inland route and between three and four hours later were in Picton where the ferry awaited.
The crossing to Wellington was stormy and rough so we kept near the upper decks, I kept far, far away from food and we all got through the crossing intact.
There was a magician on board (for the Christmas school holidays) and he kept a lot of the kids distracted from the rolling of the ship with jokes, magic and balloon animals and shapes, Kiwi Daughter likes monkeys so was delighted that the man was able to fashion a monkey in a tree, Little Mr requested a bike, both kids were satisfied customers.
I’ve been in a far worse crossing in my youth and survived that (the chairs weren’t bolted to the floor in those days and with very roll the unoccupied chairs would start skidding towards the low side. When the opposite roll came they would repeat their movement in the opposite direction, as soon as I got in to Wellington that trip I found out that the ferry sailing in the opposite direction had been cancelled because it was deemed too rough to get through).
Luckily this storm was nothing on that one, but that said it was a very different experience to some of our other near-millpond crossings. We peered out of the porthole at the InterIslander’s sister ferry going past us near the Wellington Heads… they heading into the worst of Cook Straight weather and us about to shelter from it. Wellington harbour was a welcome sight, even more so for Kiwi Daughter and I, as anyone who has ever suffered from sea sickness can attest to.