Sunday, 21 June 2015

Kaikoura... The Changing View...

I have been in Kaikoura staying with a friend for three weeks now. This is the view from her house
looking out to the Inland Kaikoura range of mountains. It's like the sea, always changing...
From clear and sunny... To the snow that melts and falls again... To being totally obliterated by clouds... And hiding, to emerge again with the next surprise...

Monday, 15 June 2015

Kaikoura... The Esplanade... Today's Walk

 The weather dictates where we choose to go walking each day.
Today it's cold but no wind so Robin and I and two little dogs
walked round the esplanade... If you click on this photo to
enlarge it, you will look round the bay to the University
 of Canterbury Marine Field Station (blue roof)  established in
1962 and is considered one of the best sites anywhere
in the world for a marine laboratory and for investigating
the great diversity of habitats, fauna and flora about the
Kaikoura Peninsula.
A bit further along the road is the historic Pier Hotel. Built and 1st
opened in 1885, situated in the next bay close to Fyffe House,
it was shifted to its present site about 1914,
a major feat in those days.
The wharf itself has had an interesting history. First built for
the whaling and fishing ships, then it had two big fish processing
factories, one employed 140 staff. The introduction of quota's and the 
change from hooks and long lines to setting nets changed
all that. In the late 70s, early 80s, there were 60 to 80 traditional fishing 
 families in Kaikoura and South Bay. These days that number 
could be down around 10. The wharf is just a landing depot now. 
The fish are shipped off to Christchurch.

This is looking north. There have been big seas which washed up
a lot of seaweed and debris. In places the roads were covered
and closed and had to be cleared there was so much of it.

Here you can see the row of historic Norfolk Pines.
I found the information below.

This is looking north to the Hapuka River mouth. 
Apart from the lovely beach we passed several historical
 and newer interesting things...
A real Art Deco movie theatre. It's always been a theatre
but today with being able to download movies at home
it has been continuing community fund raising which
enables this icon to stay in existence.
Last night I went to the movies to see Boy Choir.
I highly recommend the movie but it was also an opportunity
to see inside the building - not as exciting as the
outside but a great small town movie theatre.

This is 'Kaikoura Boutique Hotel'... Built in the 1880's, possibly
 as a guest house, then it was a back packers called The 
White House, with a dubious reputation! Done up and transformed 
by more locals it has been successively leased to various enterprises.
It's now sitting empty should anyone have a vision for it!
 It's interest today, apart from the architecture,  is it still has an 
original hitching post outside.

Further along the foreshore...
This seat -was built in memory of another Kaikoura free spirit...

This is me - looking very scruffy and tired as I recover from
pneumonia - but enjoying being out and about with this
mischief of a dog called Jessie.

This unique sun dial built from local stone in memory of 
Thomas Brent Smith, tragically killed while saving
a humpback whale 16.6.2003 aged 38 years.
I'm told he was trying to free a whale that was tangled in 
ropes from set fishing nets when the whale suddenly dived
 and took Thomas with it. His body was never found.

Here's some more creative Kaikoura talent. This is the
remains of a huge old Macracapa tree. It had been
growing on the foreshore forever but had become
dangerous and amidst much protest was cut down.
Gabrielle Young who has lived in Kaikoura forever
and is well known for her art, took to the tree trunk
with her chainsaw and this is the end result - The Family.
Now... The public toilets.  The murals on these toilets...

And on the end of the public swimming pool fence...

Were painted by two elderly Kaikoura ladies, who bring
their pots of various coloured paints, their own seats, lots
of talent and imagination...And brighten up the town.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Kaikoura... Kowhai River Walk

It was a cold wind today so we looked for somewhere sheltered
to go for a walk and ended up here... The Kowhai River bed.

The Kowhai River is a river of the northeast of New Zealand's 
 South Island. It flows south from the slopes of Manakau
 in the Seaward Kaikoura Range, turning southeast 
as it reaches its narrow coastal plain.
It's a dry desolate sort of place but it was sheltered and
the little dog that my friend Robin owns, that we were 
walking was in 7th heaven with all the smells and 
bushes to sniff and explore.

The lovely river willows in their autumn dresses.

Not a drop of water to be seen anywhere. There has been a 
drought all summer and although the average precipitation
for this area in the winter months is 100mm a month
there has continued to be no rain for a long time.

This walking track is also a bike track but we didn't meet 
anybody walking or biking or any dogs...

In the distance of this photo which is looking to the east
is SH 1 and the bridge that goes over this river...

I found this picture online when the river has got some water 
in it. The walking track goes this far, then under the
bridge to the golf course on the other side of the
road and out to the coast... But we didn't go that far.

We turned round and went back to the car... Other things
to do... I'm not sure what but it was a rather boring walk.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Kaikoura - Seal Pups at Ohau Point...

 One of the things that Kaikoura is well know for is the
various colonies of New Zealand Fur Seals.
This is where I have been today... Can you spot the seals?

 While the parent seals are either sleeping in the sun or out at
sea fishing to feed themselves and their young, the young pups
make their way from the beach up the Ohau Stream to
a waterfall and pool. It's like Seal play school where
the babies practice their swimming and learn to socalise...

I wondered whether this sign applies to people or seals!

 The stream meanders downhill from the waterfall and
it was full of seals playing...

 And hiding... There are about six seals under this rock shelf.

 It's only about a 10 minute walk to this pool. About 20 seals
are playing and jumping and splashing...

 They move so fast it was really hard to get any photos.

 Here are some babies I saw on my walk back... It must be feeding
time and they are making their way back to the beach to find Mum...

The six seals are all in a tangle here as they slip at such speed
between the rocks. They seem to know exactly where they 
are going... Fascinating.