Local Heart, Global Soul

July 26, 2018

…Will Never Know Normal Ever Again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our journey south continues, It’s strange for us to not be taking the turnoff after Kaikoura onto the “Inland Route” that comes out on State Highway 7 leading to the West Coast and Nelson.

The road to Hanmer Springs is a small detour from that road, and our favourite little house just a short walk from the Hot Pools.

The house was already booked for Christmas / New Year, so we are booked to get in instead on the 2nd of January 2018, and take the opportunity to visit more friends and family in Christchurch before (literally) heading for the hills.

The road is busy at times but we are taking our time, pacing ourselves and in no hurry.

I first thought that what I was seeing along the coast was mist thrown up by the fairly stormy waves, but it can’t be co-incidence that this “mist” is particularly massive around the big landslips, so probably I am wrong and this might be dust from the slip, even over a year after the 7.8 quake that hit in November 2016. It can’t be dust being generated by work crews either because they are sleeping during the part of the day the road is open to public vehicles, and will be working only later during the closed hours and during the night.

As we drive we are slowing heading away from the worst of the earthquake destruction so the long lengths of traffic cones become fewer, as do random work crew sites and heavy machinery waiting for the night shift to mend everything from small bridges, culverts, road edges and barriers: cracks of all sizes in the road and height differences the quake generated have long since been filled in, evened out and paved over. The vista of a less scarred landscape takes over and projects a feeling of normal to an area that will never really know normal ever again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The white structure is the outside of a train tunnel: the blue signs on the side say ” Thank you for your support”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 23, 2018

Seal Mystery And Watchers Watching The Watched…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Travelling south from Kaikoura, New Zealand at the end of December 2017, we were pleased to see that the local seals had taken up residence on some of the newly uplifted sea bed that rose up to six meters after the massive earthquake of 2016.

When we stopped for a break and breath of fresh air at the Hikurangi Marine reserve there were not many seals to be seen but for me it brings up  questions:

Were the seals going to traditional places where they knew the landforms to be best suited to their needs?

Were they coming ashore anywhere at random that had these qualities?

Do they adapt as landforms change or might it be a mixture of all of these?

As far as the “seal nursery” at what used to be Ohau point it is definitely the first option, but now that baby seals have been sent back there, maybe the seals have adapted too. There were seals on rocks too far out for my telephoto lens, they had been spotted by other visitors who walked further out on the rocks in order to take photographs. I could zoom in on them, but the seal they are taking photos of are a bit harder to spot: they are close in between the pair but closer to the lady on the right. I have heard that seals can move surprisingly fast on land, so what these two are doing seems rather foolhardy.

I kept my lens on the two closer to us and whist the shutter was clicking on fast shutter speed on the “sport” setting, did not notice anything special. Looking at the photographs on the computer later though I saw something I did not expect: the apparently sleeping seal suddenly raises it’s tail flippers, and a large round,red protrusion can be seen at it’s rear end, it’s not possible to see if it is relieving itself but a Nano second later the tail is back down, it lifts a front flipper to scatch it’s back and resumes the position it was first in, apparently without stirring much from it’s sleep. It’s the wrong time of year for pups so this can not have been a birth… I have no clue what I have seen here. Meanwhile the tourists on the rocks were still taking their pictures leading me to further wonder exactly who was being watched here?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

KaikoraSeals 2

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 22, 2018

Kaikoura Heading South…

A Photographic post today. It was the end of December 2017, Kaikoura heading south…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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Photographs of the sea whilst in the queue waiting our turn on one of the single lane stretches…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 21, 2018

Fed, Watered And Ready For The Road…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Visiting Kaikoura in the last days of 2017, and seeing how the town is recovering from the earthquake that shut down State Highway One to both the north and south, it hit home that when things are easy and we only have the “little stuff” to worry about, we should be grateful indeed.

There has been financial hardship, some people have left for good, there is still a way to go with the rebuilding process.

For all of the negative things that have happened here though, the overwhelming feeling I got during our visit is one of positivity, a strong sense of community and a resilience that even a 7.8 earthquake could not keep down.

The tourists are flooding back and speaking to family and friends they all intend to take rest stops here when they travel so that visitor money goes back into small businesses and the Kaikoura community.

We have appointments in Christchurch so can’t stay longer, our route out of town was via the (for me) familiar tree lined waterfront road along the bay.

We go over the hill that links the peninsular to the mainland and head towards the airport.

This tiny aerodrome has good memories for Himself and I regarding a trip here when we had Mark’s mother with us:

Whooo Whooo …catching a train, and dolphin (with a car and a helicopter!) https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/new-post-testing-links/

When we passed here in 2017, things were busy, lots of planes and a few helicopters on the strip. It’s good to see. Now we are fed and watered and ready for the road…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 20, 2018

Acknowledging The Friendly Wave…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One thing that I miss when I leave New Zealand is their level of friendliness.

It’s customary to give a quick wave of acknowledgement when passing other vehicles on country roads, to road workers as you go pass them in speed restricted areas, to waiting vehicles when you have had priority on one lane bridges, to someone in the city who lets you into a busy stream of traffic from a smaller side street, the list goes on.

It was therefore interesting to see that all of the Kaikoura workers on the newly reopened road were also acknowledging the drivers as they went by.

In some places it was hard to photograph, others like here easier, but all gave us a wave and a grin.

We remarked that this was only the first three weeks the road had been open, and wondered about the heavy summer holiday traffic and if they would be adhering to this unwritten “code of acknowledgement” in three months’ time, or longer.

What’s lovely about the situation in these photographs is that the road worker not only gave each of us on his side of the road a friendly wave once his “Stop” sign changed to “Go”, but in the meantime also gave a friendly wave to each vehicle passing in the opposite direction. (it’s a bit hard to see in the photographs because he is waving with his left hand, but this is a proper wave, not just raising his hand in a stiff manner.) We saw by the smile he gave us when we passed by that this is a genuine friendliness too, there are subtle ways of telling when people are just “going through the motions” and when they are not.

If we crawl past a road worker with a sign in the Netherlands, and I lift a hand in acknowledgement, both my kids will let out an exasperated “Mammm, No one does that here!”, or “ ew… stop that, it’s embarrassing!” and more often than not the road worker will give me a puzzled stare. Old habits are hard to break though, and if anything I think that anything that gives a touch of friendliness to strangers sharing our roads, city life and public spaces should be encouraged rather than rejected as a waste of time. Make someone smile, start a trend, whenever the moment is right, why not just acknowledge someone with a friendly wave?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 15, 2018

Hopefully Not Hung Out To Dry…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

On our trip north to Wellington we stopped for lunch at the“Beach House Café”, located on the main road that goes through Kaikoura.

By chance I found a charming little business right next door, called “The Little Laundrymat”.

Kaikoura is a tourist magnet because whales come in very close to the shore, seeking out the plankton rich area created by the Hikurangi Trench.

The town is a popular stop with backpackers, campers, long distance cyclists, as well as other New Zealanders passing through on their way to, or from Picton.

Travelling on the budget, and for longer periods of time it is always nice to find somewhere where you can do your laundry.

This little laundry mat is the perfect solution and is clearly a response to a need.
A an official lover of quirky sights, I love use of the old washing machine as their street-side signpost and the wringer guide as their letter box. (It’s for this reason that I have also added this post to my quirky letterbox collection on this blog). I’m sure that this will be a very handy business to have in the town, so I hope that they lather up an excellent success and do not get hung out to dry.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 14, 2018

Heavy Machinery Road Sharing With Public Vehicles…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post I continue to document our December 2017 journey from Blenheim to Kaikoura.

This part of New Zealand is long known for its dramatic coastline, which was intensified and shattered after the massive November 2016 earthquake.

The road, which has been closed for just over a year, was opened for limited daylight hours to the public.

The road is closed again at 20:00 allowing the road crews to work into the long summer day, and then into the night.

At 07:00 in the morning the road reopened to the public and all of the machines are lined up neatly in groups all along the route.

Two of these groups were huge; I took one photograph after another as we kept driving past them.

The line of heavy vehicles seems to go on forever. I

t’s obvious that entire stretches of road spring to life with diggers, graders, cranes, trucks, and heavy vehicles of all road working varieties, which become a hive of industry as soon as the last public vehicle departs.

This “road sharing” pattern is of course in its early stages since the road has been open less than a month, but solves the problem of needing to get the road open as soon as possible and the lack of space and safety issues that would occur if heavy road repair vehicles would attempt to share the road with public traffic. Kaikoura soon appears, first as the familiar peninsular and then closer in, as the first buildings on the outskirts of town. Time for a break…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 13, 2018

Stormy Weather Building On A Beautiful Day…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Travelling south down the Kaikoura coast from Blenheim to Christchurch in the last days of 2017, we saw the sea a lot less tranquil than during our journey north.

A “Southerly” (the main weather front that gives the South Island of New Zealand its rain and cool temperatures) was moving in and we were riding in a good weather window just ahead of it.

The temperature was still a fabulous 28 C (82.4 F) and we were enjoying the excellent New Zealand summer.

After passing through several no stopping zones and having weaved our way around the coast for some distance, I was getting impatient for a stop for some fresh air.

The rest stop that we pulled into was a leveled out area past the road works where people could pull over, get a good look at the coast and take a break.

I didn’t have to walk far, standing near the bonnet of the car with my camera I could already line up some nice shots of the sea and surrounding coast without getting the other pulled over cars in the photographs.

These photos are not just for my blog, I am fascinated about how waves move, roll over, crash against rocks and sprays out, how the spray in some areas produces a sort of misty fog that hugs and envelops the coast. I’m saving these as “inspiration” photos for my arty reference files too. The taste of fresh salty air is wonderful for those of us who have stomachs adverse to long car journeys; having stopped moving for a little while, taken some photographs and enjoyed the view, I was ready for the next stage of the car ride that would take us to Kaikoura.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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July 12, 2018

Regenerated Before Our Very Eyes…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Yesterday I posted about New Zealand’s newest real-estate: the uplifted land on the Kaikoura coast, gifted by a two minute long earthquake that measured 7.8 on the Richter scale.

It was extremely fortuitous that the quake took place at 2 minutes after midnight on the night of on 14th November 2016 New Zealand time (11:02 on 13 November UTC).

Had the quake happened during the day when the highway and rail link were in full use, there would have been significant loss of life.

Sadly there were two fatalities, one in Kaikoura and the other a little further inland in the settlement of Mount Lyford.

I had more photographs than I could use in one post so todays posts are the “overflow” photos, capturing a landscape that literally being changed before people’s eyes.

In the first instance the changes are by Mother Nature and in the second, by mankind’s cleaning up the mess, making the area manageable again for transportation links, employment, recreational activities and to encourage regeneration of natural habitat and return of wildlife.

Even after a year of the road being closed and it being evident that a lot of hard work is being done, it is also clear that a lot more work is needed to bring this beautiful area back to its former glory.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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July 11, 2018

Checking Out New Zealand’s Newest Real-Estate…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Driving up to Wellington I did not get as good a view of the rocks here along the post-quake Kaikoura coast so here on the way back I took a heap of photographs for three reasons: firstly because I find the rugged, craggy, and lunar look of them to be beautiful and fascinating.

Secondly, it took just two minutes of an earthquake to raise this sea floor up to six meters from its previous position on the bottom of the Pacific.

Quakes like these happen when tectonic plates slip against one another, pressure great enough to make an occurrence such as with again will probably not build up for another fifty thousand years.

“New Land” was produced in exactly the same way in Wellington in the mid-19th Century, the road and railway line to the Hutt Valley today built on the strip of uplifted land that was created.

The uplift was so great the Hutt River went from being deep enough to sail large sea-going ships a considerable distance upstream, after the quake the river became so shallow that this inland harbouring point completely disappeared.

In all likelihood the uplifted land here in Kaikoura’s coast is here to stay for millennia to come, but just in case Mother Nature decides to take back what is hers, I am documenting it here.

Thirdly, due to the knowledge gained from the Wellington (and actually Napier too) uplifts of land, the road will be relocated in various spots to this new uplifted land. The main reason, is to create a bigger barrier between the road and railway and the unstable hillsides directly above them. Once all of the road workings have been completed, who knows what parts of this new landscape will disappear under asphalt and railway sleepers? I am therefore recording them to compare many years into the future. Who knows, hopefully I will still be blogging then too. There is a saying in property developing circles that goes something like: “Buying land is a good investment, after all there isn’t any new dirt in the world”. New Zealand has an increasing number of places that defy this idea, the Kaikoura coastline has grown rather substantially, the “real-estate” a bonus for Kiwi transportation links and wildlife.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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