Friday, September 30, 2011

ON OUR WAY TO CHRISTCHURCH




Friday evening.

We began our drive to Christchurch about 11 am yesterday. The weather stayed fine so we were able to get our last minute laundry, sheets and towels, on the line early and dry enough to fold and leave in the hot water cylinder cupboard to thoroughly air. We steadily worked at all our last day tasks and I was happy we left the house in good order for guests who have booked the house for Labour weekend, 23-25th October.




We did have a few more things to do than was ideal but we'd spent the previous day with Mum, not arriving home until after 8 pm.

Packing the car is an art and John did a great job considering there was so much stuff we thought we would need. We expect to be away 6-8 weeks so need clothes for snow or freezing, swimsuits! ... and everything in between. It's a pity our bus is not roadworthy. That would have made packing a lot simpler. We even have the breadmaker!!! I promise we did not pack the kitchen sink but I did fill the back seat of the car with a heavy case of books which my daughter-in-law is going to help me sell on TradeMe.




We stopped briefly at Mum's to drop off a couple of forgotten things then stopped again at Colenso, a roadside cafe with awesome food and coffee. It was just on 4 pm when we got to Rotorua and found Greg at the Community Centre where he has recently become a volunteer. We met some of his friends and had BBQ sausages, steak and pork with a variety of Korean style salads. The only thing I liked was a pickled vegatable which might have been cucumber and onion salad in a sweet sour dressing spiced with chilli. We were tired when we finally were able to go to bed at Greg's in a comfortable bed.

Crossing the Thames at Kopu on the old one way bridge controlled by lights. This bridge is 500m long, built in the 1920s. The centre span pivots to allow tall boats to navigate. The new bridge alongside is almost completed.

Greg and his Chinese flatmate
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We stopped briefly at Mum's to drop off a couple of forgotten things then stopped again at Colenso, a roadside cafe with awesome food and coffee. It was just on 4 pm when we got to Rotorua and found Greg at the Community Centre where he has recently become a volunteer. We met some of his friends and had BBQ sausages, steak and pork with a variety of Korean style salads. The only thing I liked was a pickled vegatable which might have been cucumber and onion salad in a sweet sour dressing spiced with chilli. We were tired when we finally were able to go to bed at Greg's in a comfortable bed.

This morning there was more time to talk to Greg before he headed off to an appointment with his ACC, Accident Compensation, case manager. Today it's 19 years since his motor bike accident when he sustained a serious back and less serious head injury. I'm guessing that in another 10 years injuries such as Greg's will be repairable. He had a crush and fracture at T12 and is termed a partial paraplegic because there is some muscle recovery and some nerve response but apart from being able to stand with crutches he is for all intents and purposes a paraplegic living from a wheelchair.

First we went to the supermarket and bought salad and rolls for lunch. There was enough for our tea tonight and still salad for tomorrow. It was about 11 am when we left Rotorua. It's been a beautiful day following a good frost, only a few fluffy clouds in the azure sky. We enjoyed driving on good roads with light to medium traffic. It was a pleasure after our narrow winding Coromandel roads. The mountains, Ruapehu, Ngarahoe and Tongariro were well dressed in gleaming snow, as were the Ruahines to the east of us. The atmosphere was so clear the mountains seemed almost close enough to touch. I think it was one of the nicest drives I've had across the Central Plateau. We had intended to stop along Lake Taupo for lunch as there are so many beautiful scenic spots but we were making such good progress we decided it was too soon to take a break. Finally we stopped at the Waiouru Military Museum. Plenty of parking. beautiful timber tables and seating, sunshine, mountain background and conversation with an English Rugby World Cup follower/tourist all made it a good stop for lunch. Our rolls were fresh and crunchy and yummy as we filled them with our personal choice. We didn't have time to go into the Museum but we have been before and can recommend it as it covers all of New Zealand's military history from the first settlers to now. This is our National Military Museum and being a small country other museums only have snippets of stuff.

We continued our drive and finally stopped for the night in Palmerston North where we booked into a Motel in Fitzherbert Street. There is a group of Georgian Rugby tourists and anther smaller group from Argentine. New Zealand is in the grip of World Rugby cup fever and although we are not "Rugby Mad," we aare lying on our comfortable bed watching Samoa play South Africa. It's a hard game but the score is all going South Africa's way.

This is a great way to end a wonderful travel day. We've had a soak in the spa bath and showered washing hair and now it's nearly time to go to sleep. We still have 2 hours to drive to Wellington tomorrow to catch the Ferry to Picton. It takes about 3 hours to cross Cook Strait and we are hoping for more good weather. On Sunday we will complete our drive to Christchurch. We haven't driven down for four years so while very familiar it all seems very fresh. Spring is springing and the green paddocks are decorated with ewes and lambs, so cute, and cows and calves. Willow trees are delicately green and blossom trees show off in pinks and white. Other seasons can be stunning but I think spring is the prettiest.

I never travel in New Zealand without being in awe of our landscape. We are truly blessed. It's been wonderful that our weather has been mostly good whily Rugby World Cup followers are touring. Makes one feel proud to be a Kiwi.

I'm sorry this is not up to my usual editing standard. It's taking too long to sort out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

DISAPPOINTED. SNOW EVERYWHERE BUT NOT HERE

That will sound odd to some folk but we live in a mainly sub-tropical climate with the odd frost between late May and October. New Zealand has been subject to an icy blast and Auckland experienced a flurry of snow for the first time since 1939. There is a dusting on the high spots of the ranges but nothing down here on the coast.

Christchurch is a different story. There was a video on the news of someone skiing in the snow on Sumner Beach. Our daughter-in-law is supposed to fly to Wellington today. I don't fancy er chances. We have so little snow disruption that it's not cost effective to be fully equipped with anti freeze and snow equipment. We use grit trucks and sweepers on the most likely to be affected busy/essential roads but where snow is a rare occurrence the roads are simply closed.

Snow in Wellington is also unusual. Enjoy the video link.

http://vimeo.com/27709878

Friday, July 1, 2011


To date there have been 7760 shakes in the Canterbury region. 25 were 5.2 and stronger with 3 major quakes. Based on the Richter scale there was a 7.1 on September 4th, 1010. 6.3 February 22nd, 2011, and another 6.3 on June 13th.That's a whole lot of shaking.

It has been a trying time for residents, city administration and everyone involved in infrastructure recovery.

This week the official Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, Cera, has released a map depicted the zones where people can rebuild or must demolish. The Red Zone has 5100 houses which are to be demolished in the next two years and the area will not be rebuilt on for many years if ever. Houses in the green zone are repairable The orange zone is still to be decided as is the white zone. Both areas need further investigation by scientists and engineers.

It's hard to see the damage in this photo but the ridges have slipped and there was a big slump in the roof making it no longer waterproof.  The roof has been covered with tarpaulins twice. The first time wind ripped them loose. While we were there, late May, two heavy duty tarps were delivered and put in place, all done under EarthQuake Commission, EQC, a Government organisation  working with individual property insurance.When we take out property insurance a portion of the premium is paid to EQC. It works for us although it does mean another layer of red tape.

Our city son and his parents-in-law are in the green, less than 500m from the red zone. We expected this. Wayne and Amanda have a new roof courtesy of EQC. The tiles have been replaced with grey colour steel and looks very smart.

Many older buildings are being demolished. It's so sad and there will be gaps in once busy streets for years to come.

Christchurch and some other Canterbury civic Councils are having trouble renewing their Insurance. It's proving almost impossible and is very costly when they do find limited insurance.

The following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Key's address when the official earthquake damaged zones were announced.

"To put this in context, Treasury has estimated the combined cost of the first two Canterbury earthquakes to be equivalent to about 8 per cent of New Zealand's GDP.

Damage from the 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan was just over 2 per cent of Japan's GDP, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 cost about 1 per cent of US GDP, and March's Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster was an estimated 3-5 per cent of Japan's GDP.

This has been a major event and the government is committed to getting things right for the people of Canterbury. We're moving as quickly as we can to give some certainty to those affected," Mr Key said.

"Based on conservative assumptions, Treasury has estimated the net costs to the government to purchase all of the around 5000 properties currently in the residential red zone to be between $485 million and $635 million."


The earthquakes have been compared to eight or 9 Hurricanes Katrina. That's a huge impact, socially and economically on a small city, by world standards, and our nation.

But there's lots of good news too.

There are many heartwarming stories. The SPCA is re-homing pets, many are going outside the quake hit area to live in peace again. There have been some substantial donations. The latest is 5 million dollars to be used exclusively for the benefit of children in the hardest hit areas.




These women are having soooo much fun.



Ballantynes, an iconic Christchurch department store, a little like Macy's has found a fun way to keep it's customers happy. They have a shopping bus twice a week transporting people, mostly women, to their Timaru store, about 100 miles or 165 km from Christchurch.

Read more here

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ANIMAL STORIES ARE ALL THE RAGE LATELY

First is was the sad story of Shrek the merino sheep which was euthanased due to failing health and old age.

HAPPY FEET
Photo is from here taken by Mark Mitchell

This week we have penguin stories. A young Emperor Penguin was found on a popular beaches on the Kapiti Coast, near Wellington. These penguins belong firmly in the Antarctic and he was soon sick with unaccostomed warmth and lack of proper food. He filled his stomach with sand and sticks. Wellington Zoo rescued him and first pumped most of the sand out of his/her stomach. Yesterday a gastric surgeon came to the rescue with an endoscopy and other tool and removed a heap of sticks and dried tangled roots from HAPPY FEET'S stomach. Today he seems to be recovering while a committee is formed to decide on the best way to release him back into the wild. I hope you can view the videos TV news a couple of nights ago
Latest news 

Should he/she be dropped off at Bluff and left to swim back to antarctica or should the offer of of one of NZ's philanthropists deliver him by boat or maybe he can be flown down on one of the Antarctic shuttles next summer? Big and important questions.

And then there is this little fellow. Morgan, a little penguin was found wandering and disorientated on a farm. He was taken to the Antarctic Centre in Christchurch but refused to swim. After 56 days he's now doing what penguins are supposed to do. I hope you can watch the video. Too cute.

On a curious note, for some reason no-one is able to sex the Emperot Penguin. Not sure whether it's because he is young and maybe immature but I think they are waiting on DNA testing to determine the sex of Happy Feet.

Today a helicopter was out searching for a Humpback Whale which had apparently freed itself from a lobster trap it had been seen caught up with.

Our daughter is going to Christchurch for a holiday with her brother and sister-in-law in a few weeks. There are many traumatised pets needing to be re-homed away from the earthquakes. I'm thinking of asking her to see if there is one for us.

On the political front there is another crazy scenario playing out. Democracy in New Zealand means we have a multitude of parties and now Maori have split their votes again. It's quite fascinating to watch but also maddening as these 'worthy' MPs, (Members of Parliament), vie for popularity. We have Conservatives, extreme right and centre right, Socialists, extreme left and centre left, Greens, and at least three flavours of Maori from activists and somewhere left of centre to those who want to completely control NZ. Recently our local TV picked up this of Jon Stewart on the Daily show fell of his chair with boredom at the mention of NZ politics. I thought it was really funny but then he doesn't live here. It might be insignificant in World terms but New Zealand politics are fascinating.

I guess if I'm anything, it's conservative, but more important to me is the character of the man/woman. Good governance needs people of sound principles. We can but hope that all the various colours and flavours keep whoever is in the Government honest without choking it with political correctness. This is election year so whatever shenanigans go on it is important we make wise choices as we are pretty much stuck with them for the following three years.

I'm just happy to cosy up to our heater for the evening watching Tv between Blogging.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

MEMORY LANE FLORIDA KEYS 2005

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I've posted here

Last week and again this week our skies have been charged with volcanic cloud from the Chilean Puyehue-Cordón Caulle eruption. Mostly the ash has been high in the atmosphere and Air NZ has continued to fly most routes, most of the time at a lower than usual height, but still well within safety limits. Today Quantas and Jetstar cancelled flights again.

The cloud has given us some interesting skies although much of the time the weather has been non-co-operative as well.






Here are a few photos. The first three are shots from last week on the beach at Mum's and the rest this morning from our deck.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

EARTHQUAKES ARE ALMOST TOO COMMON TO BE NEWS


I've written a new post here. It's a little more personal. I find myself being fearful of so many things. In particular I am anxious about Christchurch and the ongoing earthquakes.

The severe earthquake last Monday caused more damage to the Catholic Cathedral. The cross on top of the dome has now been removed and the dome in being cut up so it can be removed. Prior to last Monday the work had begun to remove the copper dome in a single piece. Men working from the crane above watched the dome shake like a jelly.

Last night we watched an elderly couple on Campbell Live, who do not want to leave their home and community. They live in a beautifully furnished place which once had a garden, now covered with liquefaction silt. Terrible situation for elderly, infirm and young families.

Tomorrow there will be an official announcement about the areas that are going to be abandoned for housing. It is going to be heartbreaking for everyone from our Prime Minister to the least able to cope.



So many people face tough times. But people are generally resilient. Out of the ashes the Phoenix will rise is a story from the Lebanese Mountains which describes a people who would rebuild more beautifully than before,everytime they suffered at the hands of invaders. This will be Christchurch and the surrounding area towns.



Sam and Donna warned me that my comments are not working. I've done all I know to do and still cannot ake it possible for you to leave a comment. Until I can fix the problem you can email me, it's on my profile, or leave a comment on my other Blog where I can be found more frequently than here.

Well.... Whadayah know? The comments thing is back. Halleluia!

Look forward to hearing from y'all.

Blessings

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NOT AGAIN ..... NEW 6.3 QUAKE, SAME AS FEB.22ND


I'm so glad we were home before the latest Christchurch earthquakes.





In spite of the Prime Minister's encouragement many people will want to leave Christchurch although most of the city is barely affected.





It's all getting too much for most people.










Our family is safe but their road is trashed again and they have some damage to their business stock. It's so hard to know you are starting from scratch again. Power is being restored section by section to the affected area but water and sewerage are a mess again. Portaloos are in action everywhere.


It is so difficult to comprehend.

I want to write about something different here but all I can think about is how this once beautiful city is suffering.

The scientists are saying yesterday's quakes are from a brand new fault.

Monday, June 6, 2011

ONLY IN NEW ZEALAND.

SHREK THE SHEEP GOES TO HIS ETERNAL REST

Many times we have said, "Only in America!" Today we have a story that could only come from God Zone aka NZ


About 7 years ago a merino sheep was found in the South Island high country. That's not news. Merino sheep are farmed in the area. This particular animal had escaped the muster for six years by hiding out in a mountain cave. The shepherd who found him thought he'd discovered a monster. The sheep was brought in and more than 27 kilo or 60 pounds of wool was removed in front of TV cameras with hand clippers. What a job! He was given a red coat to keep him warm after losing his fleece.


The animal, a wether, that is a castrated male sheep, was named Shrek. Despite his years of isolation he proved to be extremely placid and very good around children. He helped put Bendigo Station on the map and became world famous for his extraordinary photo shoots and charity work. He was visited by VIPs and celebrities including Helen Clark when she was Prime Minister.

The children at tiny Tarras School wrote a book and he was always there for fundraisers.

Owner John Perriam has also written two books with royalties going to the Cure Kids Charity. I understand Shrek raised tens of thousands of dollars for Cure Kids. His legacy will linger as long as the story of Shrek the Sheep fascinates.

A publicity stunt. Shearing Shrek on an iceberg off the southern coast

The wool industry reckons his pictures were worth over 100 million dollars to our international export trade. There was also a spin off to tourism.

Today there were emotional interviews with John Perriam and Josie Spillane from Cure Kids. The aging sheep was euthanased this morning as he was beginning to suffer pain. He even had his own care-giver over the last few weeks. Shrek was almost 17 years old, at least 90 in human terms.

Shrek has only been pushed off the top of our national headline news by two substantial earthquakes, a 5.5 and 4.5 near Christchurch today There have been about 19 other quakes today on the same fault as well. It's been a big news day. The first weekend in June is a three day holiday to mark the Queen's Birthday. It is also the time for a variety of honours some from the Crown others purely New Zealand. There are 2 new Dames, 4 Knights and a huge list of others including community/social helpers, a gossip columnist and various sports people.



RIP





View Larger Map

The little town of Tarras is marked if you click to enlarge the map.

I should have photos of Tarras but I can't find them. We stopped for coffee enjoying it beside a lovely fire in the country Cafe. We had come from Wanaka and were on our way somewhere. We parked the bus in a quiet spot nearby and listened to bird scarers from early morning. There were extensive vineyards on the rugged, dry hills. Had we turned left we would have been on a route toward Mt. Cook, our highest mountain. We turned south east, stopping at Lawrence and Kaitangata near Balclutha in Southland.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

OTAMA BEACH HIDEAWAY AND THOUGHTS ABOUT NORTH AMERICA

It was lovely to wake up this morning with the gorgeous view of the sun peering through the clouds over Otama Beach. I'd had a broken night so wasn't energetic enough to get up and take photos. They will come later today.

In the meantime I made coffee and turned on TV. We have Sky here and that's a change for us. I went to the travel channel and watched an Englishman's tour of part of the Civil War Trail. Washington, Maryland and Virginia. This aspect of US History always makes me want to cry. The second program was in Utah, Salt Lake City, not too much, a Cowboy Ranch and the amazing Arches and Monumental Parks.

I felt quite emotional. I have a heart connection with USA. Where did it come from? I've no idea. I just know that as I come to a place of peace regarding the non-possibility of us ever returning to follow our travel dream there, I still love all things North American. It's a little bit weird but I don't mind. There is another place I have this heart identification with. It is the country of my Great Grandfather, Poland. I can become very emotional when Poland is in the news and identify with the people there. I guess it's part of my heritage but that is not the case with North America. There my connection is more spiritual through some terrific churches such as Bethel in Redding, Ca and Catch The Fire in Toronto, Canada. Funny how other aspects of my heritage do not have the same hold. Another Great Grandfather was Swiss, and then there are the English and Irish.

We still hope to travel USA but I'm at peace as to whether we do or not. We've even decided which RV brand, (Lazy Daze), if the opportunity to travel overseas opens up. We are interested in the various trails, eg, Oregon Wagon, Trail Of Tears, Route 66, wild flowers when the dessert blooms, Deep South, Tennessee, North West Coast, Canada, Friends all over, and much more just to give ourselves some kind of focus so that we don't wander aimlessly. On our first trip we kept our "Must Do," agenda small so that we could wander in between as we heard about other places we might like. Our list was small. Grand Canyon, Flamingo in the Everglades, Kennedy Space Centre. Key West became possible as did the Indianapolis Raceway, Santa Fe, Pagosa Springs, Lake Havasu for a giggle and Joshua NP. Our other two trips were shorter so we had to be fairly specific to make the most of our time without exhausting ourselves driving too far.

My RVer's Blog list is far too long but mostly I keep up. I keep telling myself not to add another but then I come across one that's too good to bypass. There are so many wonderful writers and photographers. I can travel along with them whether they be at home, in between trips or Full Timers on the road. It's all interesting and important information is being gleaned for our maybe future trip. Following Blogs is filling a gap and rather than making me more restless is satisfying my need to know more about North America.

Sometimes I wish we'd discovered the RV world when we were younger but Life has it's own seasons and looking back we have needed to be within calling distance of our family. We have found freedom and yes, happiness, within this constraint. Not many New Zealanders have been able to travel to the degree we have, or even see as much of New Zealand. We have paid a price. Our finances for now are Zilch but what memories.

I'm going to start a series on a trip we had in the South Island. I think it was 2008. I need my diary to get it right. It seems like yesterday but a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since that trip. (This too will have to wait until we are home again. See note below.)

Now I will save this until after I've been for a photo walk.

Later:- Ooops! I forgot I'm not using my laptop but a friend's PC and have no idea how to add my photos. They'll have to wait until I can use my wireless internet again.

Monday, April 11, 2011

IT FEELS LIKE WINTER

Our mornings are decidedly chilly. We are supposed to be having sunny days but there's a weird thing happening. The high pressure area over New Zealand is bringing us cool cloudy weather. I love autumn but not this kind. It takes a long time for the sun to burn through ... then it's lovely.

We're getting ready to go over a to a friend's place to baby sit the cats and dog while they have a holiday. It's a view to die for and only 15 or so minutes from home.


Last night I had a chat with one of our South Island sons. D lives in the country S.E. of Christchurch. He drives for a local transport company and this last week was carting fertiliser from the Lyttleton Wharf to a depot. It's a job that has to be done as quickly as possible so the ship can be turned around. It's all trucks on the road, or as many as are available and D was called back to work on the last day of his holiday. I asked him about the roads because I'd been reading a news item. He said the road is very rough. They have to go over the Evans Pass Road which is quite steep. Not sure why they can't use the tunnel because it's open in spite of the damage. He also said that while the Ferrymead Bridge has been strengthened he has some reservations about the approaches. I have spent far too much time making a map and losing it and trying to source a photo of the Ferymead Bridge. I know there are some goo one's on line but where????








It's difficult to live in a city where 150 years of development is destroyed in a minute. Thank goodness it was only a portion of Christchurch but 0f the 2000km of road 1000 km is damaged. The earthquake on September 2010 caused about 1200 road defects. After February 22nd 3800 cracks, slumps, humps need repair, not to mention the cordoned off area in the centre of the city.



People are becoming angry and frustrated with the rate of progress but the reality it that it's going to take a very long time to rebuild or restore. You don't just pick up 150 years of growth and put it back in place. There is planning and organisation and money and manpower required. There is an order which is not always apparent those far off let alone those close up. My heart goes out to those who are badly affected but the truth is they have to find a way to pick themselves up and get going again even when they cannot access information, records and other stuff they want.

The building is the Carlton Hotel, an historic building. Everyone in Christchurch who drinks beer is likely to have been in this Pub.

I hope I don't get into trouble for pinching these photos from various places. I do look for copy write but it's not always obvious.






Time to hang the washing on the line and here's today's sky to brighten things up.

Not the prettiest sky so how about the cows over the road from us. We watch them from our kitchen.

Monday, April 4, 2011

LUNCH IN WHITIANGA

















Last week John and I reached a mini milestone To be precise March 30th was our 48th Wedding Anniversary. How on earth did that happen? I can't say it feels like yesterday, there's too much living, a lot of joy and some grief for that to be possible. Even so the years have kind of crept up on us

We don't usually make a big deal of anniversaries and this one was no different but we did make it an excuse for a leisurely lunch. Wednesday was our designated shopping day this week so we chose one of the Cafes near the wharf. The day was pleasant enough to eat outside and we were pleased to find a table with warm sun filtered through the green leaves of an overhanging tree. John ordered a hamburger. It was huge and filled to the brim with healthy salad and trimmings with lovely fresh fries on the side. It looked delicious he didn't leave a morsel. My meal was a tasty but a not quite satisfying beef hotpot with s tiny side salad. We completed our meal by ordering cappuccinos and dessert. We both chose affogato, vanilla bean icecream with a hot double shot of espresso to pour over, drowning the icecream. Talk about a caffeine hit.

After lunch John wanted to get his hair cut. I decided to sit and wait in the sun. It wasn't long before I realised I needed our camera. I enjoyed the short walk back to the car. The time flew by while I watched boats swing on their moorings, seagulls squabble, and passengers embarking and disembarking from the ferry. There really should be a bridge but the population is just too small warrant the cost. Instead a small passenger ferry plies back and forth. People who live or work on the otherside often keep a car both sides of the estuary. Our daughter is one of those people. She begins her work day on the other side so she parks her car and catches ferry. On the otherside she collects the work car from the carpark where it has been left the previous night by another nurse. The two nurses job share, working different days. They are on call one weekend a month because they share weekends with the nurses from Whangamata, the next town south.

John returned looking somewhat shorn and we wandered over to the wharf intrigued by the collection of masts standing tall above the wharf. It was a few minutes before the penny dropped. These yachts were part of a flotilla on their way to Gisborne to protest against off shore testing for oil.

In June last year our Government announced it had made an agreement with international giant Petrobras to test for oil off the East Coast of New Zealand. The Brazilian company is the first exploration company to be awarded a permit to test the Raukumara Basin off East Cape. They have been awarded a five year permit to explore this area which was identified by Crown Minerals as having large reservoirs. Yesterday the Orient Explorer, a Petrobas ship left Tauranga harbour heading for East Cape, where it will begin seismic testing to explore the ocean for oil sediments.

Greenpeace and local Iwi, (Maori), have joined forces to protect our waters from this oil exploration. I'm no researcher so I only find what is there for all to see. The little I did find is either hilarious or extremely disturbing. I found this website today. It is subtitled Revolutionary Colonialism and Anti Capitalism in the Pacific. Apparently the call went out from Greenpeace for the protest ships to gather. While I have reservations about the wisdom of deep sea oil drilling I do not believe aggressive protest is the answer. Perhaps I'm a hypocrite. I am happy to keep New Zealand nuclear free and without deep sea oil drilling but I don't have much time for protesters. Maybe there's a place for them but don't ask me to join them.

The oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico almost a year ago, should make us very cautious. My confidence has not been improved by the decision not to install a tsunamograph because the cost is too great. This fairly sophisticated device, which helps in the forewarning of Tsunamis not only costs lot install but is high maintenance. We are a tiny island nation with limited resources. But this seems an extremely shortsighted decision especially when you consider it in the light of our vulnerability to earthquakes and Tsunami. It seems pretty stupid to risk spoiling the clean green image for which we are known around the world.

Politics aside the yachts made a pretty picture.

We ended our day by having a roast chicken dinner with Mum and our daughter. The cats, Lexie and Katie are fine and decorative too.