Local Heart, Global Soul

July 27, 2018

Sea Here…

Filed under: Kaikoura & Region,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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The sea has many faces and styles, even in the same area the weather can change the sea from one day to the next. From an artistic point of view I find this fascinating, mesmerizing. Along the Kaikoura coast of New Zealand I photographed many images that show the sea in it’s many guises…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 16, 2018

We Have Lift-Off!

Filed under: Kaikoura & Region,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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I have discovered that I quite like taking photographs of wildlife… well “domestic” wild life too. But with no pets because of asthma and allergies, and living in an apartment, I don’t get the chance very often. The only real “creatures” I get to see regularly are birds, so here is a post all about birds. In this instance the birds in questions are the sea gulls hanging out at the Beach house Café in Kaikoura, New Zealand. a couple of pics are a tad fuzzy, but they show that elusive moment when birds take off, the mini seconds between standing in one spot and flight. These are less than perfect shots, but I continue to work on them.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It begin with a crouch…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then crouches down more…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And more…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then launches into the air, just as another gull comes into land just behind it…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The “flaps” are out as he comes into land…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 31, 2017

Oh Buoy …Hauled Out Of The Sea And Onto Dry Land!

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Quirky Sights,TEXEL,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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Unusual things always catch my eye. Sea buoys on land always look impressive because we are not used to seeing them up close. These ones, seen on our 2016 Easter trip to Texel are just quirky enough for a second, third or fourth look. I also want them saved into my “Reference” folder for any future arty projects.

I’m curious too, in their “working” life, did they mark the spot of a wreck? the entrance to the harbour? the presence of a sand bank or shallow water? Did they show the location of farmed mussels? a special diving spot? Who knows. I categorise this as … the beauty of detailed engineering.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 3, 2015

This Became The “Never Again” Moment In Dutch History…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next item in the historical series of “events” featured in the Garderen Sand Sculpture Exhibition is one that cuts deep into the living memory of many Dutch people today: the 1953 Flood Disaster.

In this case, (in my humble opinion), the information board that was alongside the sand sculpture was far too vague and full of insubstantial information to do it real justice.

Instead, I found that Wikipedia gave a far better account of an event, that according to my Father, family, husbands family,and friends living in the Netherlands when this disaster happened,the horror of which was indelibly etched into the Dutch physique, and become their “never again” moment in Dutch history. It is this deep wound that has resulted in some of the most innovative technology ever devised in mitigating and controlling nature’s weather and is a continuing battle, with leading edge solutions being found as solutions to problems that continue to evolve and transform the Dutch landscape.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The 1953 North Sea flood(Dutch: “Watersnoodramp” literally “flood disaster”) was a major flood caused by a heavy storm that occurred on the night of Saturday, 31st January 1953 and morning of Sunday, 1st February 1953.

The floods also struck the Netherlands, Belgium, England and Scotland.

A combination of a high spring tide and a severe European windstorm over the North Sea caused a storm surge tide; the combination of wind, high tide, and low pressure led to a water level of more than 5.6 meters (18.4 ft) above mean sea level in some locations.

The flood and waves overwhelmed sea defences and caused extensive flooding.

The Netherlands, a country with 20% of its territory below mean sea level and 50% less than 1 metre (3.3 ft) above sea level and which relies heavily on sea defences, was worst affected, recording 1,836 deaths and widespread property damage. Most of the casualties occurred in the southern province of Zeeland.

Another more than 230 deaths occurred on water craft along Northern European coasts as well as on ships in deeper waters of the North Sea. The ferry MV Princess Victoria was lost at sea in the North Channel east of Belfast with 133 fatalities, and many fishing trawlers sank. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Realising that such events could recur, the Netherlands carried out major studies on strengthening of coastal defences and developed the Delta Works, an extensive system of dams and storm surge barriers.

At the time of the flood, none of the local radio stations broadcast at night, and many of the smaller weather stations operated only during the day. As a result, the warnings of the KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) did not penetrate the flood-threatened area in time.

People were unable to prepare for the impending flood. As the disaster struck on a Saturday night, many government and emergency offices in the affected area were not staffed.

As telephone and telegraph networks were disrupted by flood damage, within hours amateur radio operators went into the affected areas with their equipment to form a voluntary emergency radio network.

These well-organized radio amateurs worked tirelessly, providing radio communications for ten days and nights, and were the only people able to maintain contact from affected areas with the outside world.

An estimated 30,000 animals drowned, and 47,300 buildings were damaged, of which 10,000 were destroyed. Total damage is estimated at 1 billion Dutch guilders.

The Schielands Hoge Zeedijk (nl) (Schielands High Seadyke) along the river Hollandse IJssel was all that protected three million people in the provinces of South and North Holland from flooding.

A section of this dyke, known as the Groenendijk, was not reinforced with stone revetments. The water level was just below the crest and the seaside slope was weak.

Volunteers worked to reinforce this stretch. But, the Groenendijk began to collapse under the pressure around 5:30 am on 1 February. Seawater flooded into the deep polder. In desperation, the mayor of Nieuwerkerk commandeered the river shipde Twee Gebroeders (The Two Brothers) and ordered the owner to plug the hole in the dyke by navigating the ship into it.

Fearing that the ship might break through into the polder, Captain Arie Evegroen took a row boat with him. The mayor’s plan was successful, as the ship was lodged firmly into the dyke, reinforcing it against failure and saving many lives.

The “Afsluitdijk” (lit: “closure dike) across the entrance of the Zuiderzee was said to have paid for its construction cost in that one night, by preventing destructive flooding around the Zuiderzee.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Wikipedia: North Sea flood of 1953

Sand Sculpture Garderen / Zandsculpturen Garderen

July 28, 2013

France On the Horizon … But Where is the Horizon?

Filed under: ENGLAND,Folkestone,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A short drive away from the harbour in Folkestone we start to climb the steep hills that make up the local terrain and include the white cliffs of Dover, only 7 kms away.

What’s maybe lesser known is that France on the other side of the channel, has it’s own matching set of white cliffs, and both are of course a natural geological continuation of each other.

Sadly although we have a beautiful sunny day in Folkstone when we visited, there is a sea mist above the channel and France is somewhere behind the haze.

Instead we turn around to admire the view in the inland direction, part of which is dominated by a truly enormous building that was formerly the Folkestone Metropole Hotel.

These days it houses apartments on the top levels and an art/ exhibition gallery on the ground floor. It was also once a very grand rival to it’s neighbouring  building just a short distance away…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 27, 2013

Sea Asparagus is Samphire …and Vinegar Gets A Kick!

Filed under: ENGLAND,Folkestone,FOOD,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

From my last Summer’s Diary: We are taking “Velvetine” our Singaporean friend on a whirlwind tour, she barely got her feet onto Dutch soil when we bundled her into a rented people carrier van and headed via Belgium, France and via the channel tunnel to England.

We are spending the night with some friends of ours in Folkestone and they’ve bought us to Bob’s Seafood kiosk at the harbour, which featured in yesterday’s post.

It’s as mystifying to me why the English put vinegar on their french fries as it is to the English why the Dutch put mayonnaise on theirs…  but today my visiting Foodie Friend and I saw something that may completely vindicate this strange habit.

The vinegar at Bob’s Seafood has been infused with chilies!

If I were French it would be Oh La La… this place has surely found a way to make vinegar very very interesting indeed. We were so busy enjoying the fishy dishes we completely forgot to be bold enough to ask for the recipe, but if some of my other infusion recipes are anything to go by, the just plain simple method is probably the best… I’d hazard a guess at it being: Vinegar + Chilies + some decent infusion time!

The harbour at Folkestone is also very much a working fishing port as well as a tourist attraction.

There are  shops for daily caught fresh fish along the quay and our Singaporean friend is very keen to sample a local delicacy:  Samphire Himself really likes Samphire every now and again but I know relatively little about it so looked up Wikipedia:

“Samphire is a name given to a number of distinct edible plants that grow in some coastal areas. Rock samphire, Crithmum maritimum is a coastal species with white flowers that grows in the United Kingdom.

This is probably the species mentioned by Shakespeare in King Lear. Golden samphire, Inula crithmoides is a coastal species with yellow flowers that grows across Eurasia. Marsh samphire is another name given to the edible glassworts, genus Salicornia. Samphire is commonly used to describe plants from the Australian genus of succulent coastal plants Tecticornia, and from the cosmopolitan genus Sarcocornia.

Originally “sampiere”, a corruption of the French “Saint Pierre” (Saint Peter), samphire was named for the patron saint of fishermen because all of the original plants with its name grow in rocky salt-sprayed regions along the sea coast of northern Europe or in its coastal marsh areas. It is sometimes called sea asparagus or sea pickle. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In Norfolk it is commonly called sampha [sam-fa]. In North Wales, especially along the River Dee’s marshes, it has always been known as sampkin.

All the plants bearing the name are annuals that begin growing in late autumn and vegetate throughout the winter until the first warm weather arrives.

Then the first stems and internodes form, and by mid-spring the plant measures 6 to 8 cm. Marsh samphire ashes were used to make soap and glass (hence its other old English name, “glasswort”).

In the 14th century glassmakers located their workshops near regions where this plant grew, since it was so closely linked to their trade. Samphires of all kinds have long been eaten in England.

The leaves were gathered early in the year and pickled or eaten in salads with oil and vinegar.

It is mentioned by Shakespeare in King Lear: Half-way down Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade! (Act IV, Scene VI). This refers to the dangers involved in collecting rock samphire on sea cliffs.

Marsh samphire (Salicornia bigelovii) is being investigated as a potential biodiesel source that can be grown in coastal areas where conventional crops cannot be grown. Samphire is gaining popularity in the UK, being served more often in restaurants as an accompaniment to fish dishes, and is also found more often in supermarkets. On the west coast of Canada the plant is known as “Sea Asparagus” and is served in restaurants and specialty markets.

I like to see that the fish is caught by their own boat and then sold on the quayside of the harbour… as far as buying your food as close as possible to the source, you can hardly get fewer “food miles/kilometers” than this!  At the end of the harbour area is a bridge, the low arches of which we need to go under ro get back into the town. Then it’s one last look around and a few quick views of the harbour before we head away. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

around Folkstone 1s (Small)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samphire

September 13, 2012

The Sea Waves Back…

Filed under: ART,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The North Sea close the the Hague might get a bit of a decent surf up on some stormy days but since it’s all consists of sand, real “crashing” of waves as in the sights and sounds you get whilst standing on a rocky beach are impossible to find.

Here on the Kaikoura coast the foul weather has been left behind in Cook Straight and we are enjoying blissful sunshine and a very warm day.

(We learn later that our friends in Wainuiamata endured several days more of torrential downpour and high winds whereas here in the South Island the weather had been not only picture perfect for weeks but continued to be so for the week following too).

As is customary when travelling with kids in cars, the inevitable  little voice in the back seat piping up “I really need to pee pee” means parents begin scouring the road for suitable rest stops or at the very least suitable bushes or trees to pull over at. Luckily a small bay with a grove of long grass and easy off road parking appeared around the second corner so we pulled in and Little Mr. removed himself from the van in great haste and quickly made for the tall grass cover to relieve himself.

Kiwi Daughter and I have been doing really well with the arm bands but the stop is still a welcome break from being in motion, especially after the Ferry  so when she asks if she can step out and get some fresh air I suggest we all do.

Once again I’m interested in trying to catch some waves… not on a surfboard of course, but with the camera.

During this drive we were on the lookout for the baby seal ‘creche” at Ohau point  (the one we missed on the trip north) which I figured couldn’t be too much further down the coast… I was right and between each of  these two beach stops I managed to get some  good “wave study” photos for my arty album.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 10, 2012

Farming… (Something) But I’m Not Certain What.. Any Ideas?

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As the Ferry makes it’s way further into the Marlborough Sounds, we come across a bay that at first I thought just had a very fancy jetty reaching out into it.

Then I wondered if it were some kind of floating pontoon… an anchourage for more boats perhaps?

Then, on the right hand side of the same large bay I see parallel lines of buoys in the water… mussel farming? fish farming? lobster ? something else?  I’m guessing wildly because I have no clue what’s being farmed here, although clearly “something”  is.

The Ferry of course stays in the deep water in the middle of the Sound, so I have to make do with zooming in as much as I can, but as we go past I can make out some square-shaped pens that appear to be at the end of the long pontoon “thingy”, (technical I know! LOL)  so might there be more than one kind of farming going on here?

I’m curious but clueless… so  if you have any ideas what this stuff in the water might be I’d love to hear your comments…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 15, 2012

When a Piece of Plastic Stopping You From Going Green… Is a GOOD Thing!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since this a car journey that features mostly winding roads, hills, trees and both inland and coastal views, landmarks that are a bit different are welcomed by kids looking out the windows.

But one of the most noticable differences between the generations sitting in our vehicle is that our kids have Nintendo games to play on long car journeys and prefer this to looking out of the window.

(the fact that our Nintendo’s are exclusively reserved for long car and plane journeys and are not out at other times is definitely part of the attraction)

As kids, Himself and I had no choice but to look out of windows : that and the “I Spy” game were our only entertainment.

Since I have always turned green in cars, I regularly offered my parents the alternative entertainment game of “get the car stopped quick enough to get kid about to throw up out of the back seat and onto the grass to get the inevidable over with” with extra challenges of steep gradients, narrow roads, lack of grass verges, passing traffic and possibly bad weather thrown in.

Ah, “anti-car-sickness pills” I hear you say…

…hmmm that was the other game of “how far can you spit the pill?” since I wasn’t great with pills either.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Nature posted revenge by giving Kiwi Daughter the “motion sickness gene” so I’ve “been there, done that” with the pill swallowing drama and tears from the parental side too and from whoever’s side you look at it, it wasn’t fun.

Fortunately help is at hand from a very unlikely source.

I was allerted to a gadget by a French friend who has the same problem with two of her four children but a more difficult situation because pulling over suddenly in French motorway traffic really is taking your life in your hands.

Not surprisingly also she tried everything and had already been down the unsuccessful pill-with-tears route too, then she found it…

…a piece of plastic that changed their travelling lives.
Like her, I was totally sceptical… come on, a tiny bobble of plastic stuck to a wrist strap…    …that’s IT ???

I stopped laughing when she told me that her boys now had hassle-free car journeys all the way from the Netherlands to the South of France.

Let’s take a closer look at this seemingly silly piece of plastic. It’s a little bobble of plastic, solid, smooth and attached to a one-size-fits-all wrist strap that does up with valcro.

To wear it you place the plastic bobble on the the centre of the inside of your wrist and do it up as tight as is comfortable. This forces the plastic bobble down to press on the pressure point in your wrist and takes care of your motion sickness.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Easy as that, there’s one for each wrist and if for example you are bobbing up and down in a boat feeling bad, then an additional press on the plastic bobble is also said to increase the fight against nausea.

Before we left for New Zealand I dispatched Himself to the ANWB (Algemene Nederlandse Wielrijders Bond = Dutch Automobile Association) to procure us a few pairs. If any piece of plastic against car-sickness needed to be put through it’s paces, then the winding roads and hills of New Zealand would be the perfect place to do it.

In addition to the car journeys there was the added bonus of the Cook Straight ferry crossing since Cook Straight has been deemed one of the roughest pieces of water in the world (after Fouvoux Straight further south and the Drake Passage off South America).

These places can all be found within the infamous “rouring forties” and are the product of routine high winds that circle the globle at this latitude and either a meeting of two vast oceans (Drake Passage) or in New Zealand’s case, the funneling of big winds and vast seas through narrow landmass gaps.

I’ve had experience of Cook Straight in both it’s extremes: from as calm as a millpond and in the most awful storm in the 1980’s (awful as in: I was clinging to a table that was bolted to the floor but the chairs were sliding past back and forth in alternate directions as the boat rolled from one side to the other… needless to say the rest of the ferry crossings that day were cancelled and the ships stock of “amenity bags for the stomachily unsteady” started to run in short supply.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If any stout test is needed to see if these wrist-bands are up to the task, then the comination of road and sea routes that New Zealand has to offer will be sure to show up any strengths and weaknesses.

I’m delighted to report that much to my amazment, these bands really do work!

Ok, we did take rest stops to get some fresh air but we managed shorter and fewer stops than previous trips doing the same route, so much so that we arrived in Picton with just over an hour ahead of our estimated arrival time…

….and  there were no “Mama, I don’t feel good, I think I’m going to be sick” pleas constantly from the back seat, and I personally have never had a less green road journey as this one.

Granted it didn’t cure our motion-sickness 100% but it did help take away maybe 80-90% of the misery and that  for both Kiwi Daughter and I, means that these wrist bands are nothing short of miraculous and we will be packing them on every long car journey from now on.

There is no gurantee that these will work… apparently they help roughly 80% of motion sickness sufferers, to a greater or lesser degree: but if you have suffered car-sickness or sea-sickness, or have kids that do, you will know that a “no-pill” solution that offers any improvement at all is only a win, win, win, win, win solution.

I’m so delighted with these that I want to share my exciting discovery: If you suffer from car-sickness or sea-sickness or know someone who does, then comment on this post before midnight on March 22nd,  2012 and be in to win one of these for yourself!

I have two to give away, so you have two possibilities to win… so drop me a line and be in to win!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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