Sunday, April 25, 2010

Picking Glass

We weighed our glass from New Zealand: four pounds. It is now in jars, above.

We kayaked over to Ten Pound Island yesterday, and 65 minutes yielded eight pounds of glass. I can now mosaic my way through the unemployed summer.

Back to Life

Back to reality...
It would seem that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is washing ashore.

Monday, April 19, 2010


This is the very last picture that we took in New Zealand. Quite near the airport, we stopped to go through a bag of shells that I'd been collecting since our arrival.

Some of them smelled so bad. At various stops along the journey, I'd been flinging away whatever looked smelly or had low-tide muck stuck to it.

At this point, I was hoping that, after sorting them by type of shell, we could eliminate whatever type it was that still stank up the collection. However, it turned out that select items within clusters were smelling up the group. Poor Victor had to sniff out the yucky ones.


We had our last lunch in Auckland, at a wonderful Spanish place where I had not only a smoked fish salad with my crispy chicken-almond main dish, but also a steamed chocolate pudding for dessert. Echoes of England.

At top, I hope that the sea of masts is visible around the city, dubbed (if I remember rightly) 'the City of Sails.'

At the seahorse bookstore, I dropped a good bit of cash and requested that my purchases be shipped. That turns out to be pretty costly! But our bags would have been crazy heavy if we'd tried to carry the new books with us on the plane. Mostly shipwreck ones, of course.

Auckland: Pics

Piha Beach

This was the most spectacular beach we visited in New Zealand. On the West Coast, opposite Auckland, it is billed as singular in having a lookout up above. Quite a spectacular lookout.

There were surfers determinedly surfing even after the red-and-yellow flags went up. One drifted off into a gap, panicking me, until I read in our Frenzy guide that there was a calm beach down that way. I can't argue that it isn't a great surfing beach. The wind is very strong here, blowing flecks of foam everywhere.

There's a rock on the beach shaped like a lion lying down; it's in the lookout photo. A track runs up that rock, and there's a Maori monolith about halfway along the track. We had NO interest in the climb, but several people were making their way up the lion.

Victor took some film of the waves crashing on the shore. I promise that, this week, I'll post links to that film, to one of the bubbling mud in Waiotapu, and to one of seals frolicking on the shore north of Kaikoura, South Island.

Piha Beach: Pics

Snells Beach/Warkworth

Can you see the masts on that ship? Still don't know what it was doing there.

We stayed in Snells Beach and breakfasted in Warkworth. That breakfast turned out to be our favorite one during our stay. It also was the only one to have genuinely "crispy" bacon, though not crisped like American bacon; more like fried ham.

Have I mentioned yet? Dinners were, overall, superb. In Russell, I had an amazing lamb leg that had been wrapped in duck fat and cooked in a slow oven overnight. The fat had become crispy on the outside and left all the meat on the inside moist and delectable. Mmmm.


We went to an eastern beach in Northland that was almost Utah-like. The sand was hard as cement and billed as completely drivable with a 2WD vehicle. The vehicle depicted is the one we'd been driving since Gisborne. (Did I mention that Gisborne has regular earthquakes, including several mild ones during the morning just before we got there?)

In the Hawkes Bay/Gisborne area, the sandstone jutted into the water, a la Tolaga Bay. Here it fringed the beach and had more of a structural than cliff-like feel. Also, Tolaga's were more gray, and these are more brown. Both show significant effects of erosion from wind and water.

Baylys: Pics


We had lunch in Whangarei, next to the marina. We did not visit the Clock Museum, but thought it deserved a picture!

Just outside town were the Whangarei Falls. Truly lovely, but we decided against the billed-as-1,250-step walk, down and alongside the falls, toward a kauri gum park (as in gum tree).

We did see a cool vehicle, a pedal boat that didn't seem that hard to propel. The little boy at bottom was whizzing around, having the time of his life. I want one.

Whangarei: Pics


Driving south toward Warkworth, we kept passing lumps. I hadn't seen one since Billinge Lump in the central UK. Not significant, perhaps, but odd.

Hundertwasser Loo

I needed to go, and a brown sign on the highway directed us to Kawakawa. There we realized that the public facilities were the very ones described in an in-flight magazine from Air New Zealand.

The loo--designed and created by an artist, now deceased, with the name Hundertwasser--had grass growing on top and used mosaic over an astonishing amount of surface space. I actually enjoyed using a public bathroom.

Hundertwasser Loo: Pics


Kawakawa is a lovely little town where we stopped because we had to use a bathroom...

If we ever get back to NZ, I think it deserves more of our time. It had historic railroad significance and loads of flair. It featured art spaces that were there just in case you enjoyed unusual displays of balanced lines and colors, right there on the main street.

Kawakawa: Pics


Where we stayed Friday night, in Russell, is just the other side of the hedge in top pic, below. Next pic down shows our door, with Vic's reflection and my back. The B&B was set in the side of a hill, overlooking the Bay of Islands: views in the next two pics.

Traveling down the hill into Russell was so pretty, yet Russell had so little that was useful! (Unless you had booked a boat tour of some sort.) It contained prickly fruit of unknown heritage, and an odd golf cart-like thingie that was parked on the sidewalk during our visit, never moving.

We left on a ferry, from which the bottom two pics were taken.

Russell: Pics