I took the children to town today. There was a Bookarama–a huge book fair–and I decided we would go secondhand shopping, as well. There are four secondhand shops in Greymouth, and I don’t get to them very often, but thought today would be a good time. Elijah was working in town, laying carpet or vinyl in a house (I forgot to ask which), so I asked him yesterday if he would like to eat lunch with us. I was just planning to take along sandwiches for us, but he decided he wanted to order pizza, instead. So, he ordered it and I picked it up. Then, we met at a beach about five minutes’ drive from where he was working, and we had a picnic. It was sunny and not too windy, although not very warm, either. The waves were gorgeous, and we had an incredible view of the Southern Alps, which were covered with a fresh layer of snow. It was a nice time together. I enjoy getting to spend time during the day with my adult sons who work! The cloth we sat on, by the way, is a sheet I had just bought at an op shop. Little Miss loves that set. I’ll be putting them on her bed tomorrow.
On Christmas Day, we went to the same beach we’ve gone to the past two years, and had a picnic in our favorite grove of pine trees. The trees make a lovely shady spot, and their needles make a soft, springy floor to sit on.
After lunch, we headed down to the beach. Some of us sat on the shore and watched, and some spent the whole hour or two in the water! We laughed a lot at the boys at times, as the large waves picked up the inner tubes and dumped the boys upside down on the beach, sometimes piling all three of them together! Unfortunately, I didn’t think about taking pictures until just as the tide went low enough that the really funny antics weren’t happening anymore.
I told Simon he had grown a beard, so then Mr. Imagination tried to make one, too. Is it any wonder that I was scooping gravel out of the washing machine the next day?
Here is a video clip showing the fun the boys were having. It was a wonderful day!
One Monday afternoon a few weeks ago, we needed to be out of the house for awhile because our landlady was showing a potential buyer through the house. We decided to go out to Port Robinson; a few weeks before that date, Gayle had taken Mr. Diligence out for a picnic and fun time together, and they discovered the trail leading down to the old harbor. The rest of us wanted to see it, too, so we went there on that beautiful, sunny afternoon.
The path down to the beach parallels the old slipway for awhile. It’s pretty overgrown.
Gore Bay from the trail.
This is what’s left of the bottom of the slipway. Approximately 120 years ago, the way I understand, this was about the only way to get goods in and out of Cheviot. They had a surfboat which they lowered down the slipway from the top of the cliff and out into the bay to where ships would anchor, to ship wool out. Supplies were brought back up in the surfboat with a winch.
Mr. Intellectual and Mr. Sweetie
That red blob is a sea anemone.
I was intrigued by the swirls in some of the rocks.
When we saw this flock of seagulls feeding just offshore, we wished we had brought our fishing poles! There would have been big fish there, too, feeding on a school of small ones.
There are two paua, known in California as abalone, in this picture. Can you find them?
We enjoyed finding these two large starfish!
Mr. Diligence was fascinated by the way the starfish held on to him.
Mr. Intellectual and Mr. Sweetie, with Mr. Imagination in the foreground.
We even got to see a jellyfish!
When it was flipped over, we discovered that it was feeding! A couple of the children were able to see its stomach being sucked back inside after it let go of the snail.
This was a very fun afternoon—don’t tell the children it was a field trip! We ended our time with a stop at Gore Bay to play in the water for 15 minutes. I’m so glad I didn’t twist my ankle until after this trip and the one to Hurunui Mouth several days later.
I have linked this post up with other homeschooler’s posts, here.
Gayle took the boys fishing one Sunday evening about a month ago. They were very excited to come home with 14 large kowai! Mr. Diligence had a birthday the next day, so we had fish for supper.
Today, we tried again. We all went out this time, hoping for a repeat—but not even one fish was caught this time. Oh, well. You never know when a school of fish will be coming in the river. It was a beautiful day out there anyway! This is what the Hurunui Mouth looked like today; quite different from the last time I was out there. We walked all the way around the lagoon to get to the mouth this time.
These gulls were flying around making quite a fuss. We found out why when someone discovered a nest!
I saw these ducks swimming in the lagoon.
A lupine bush. What a wonderful smell!
It was interesting to notice the variety in terrain just on that short walk along the lagoon. Here was a rock cliff; soon there was a patch of white limestone; and a lot of the time the hillside was covered with grass and bushes!
I wish I could share more of the experience with you. All I can do is give you a little glimpse of the scenery. There is so much more to it than that, however. There are the sounds—gulls screaming, waves crashing on the shore, and ripples lapping on the rocks and shores around the lagoon. There are the smells—the sea smell and the wonderful aroma of the lupines. There are the sensations—the hot sun, the cool sea breeze, the hot rocks and sand under foot. There is even taste—salt on your lips from the spray blown off the tops of the waves! And of course, the scenery is so much bigger and more beautiful than my camera can capture.
Simon came home for a few days a couple of weeks ago. We loved seeing him again, and spending time with the family he lives with, as well. We took them out to Gore Bay, since the weather was so lovely. I don’t think I had been out there since January! Everything was so clear and gorgeous.
One of the must-sees in Cheviot is Cathedral Lookout, above the south end of Gore Bay. I never tire of seeing this place. I couldn’t decide which perspective I liked better, so decided to use both pictures.
Gore Bay was so beautiful that day, too! This is the south end, looking toward Port Robinson. It was high tide, so we didn’t go down to the rocks at the point.
Mr. Intellectual kept busy a long time building this tower.
Does it look like Simon is happy to be with his family again?
We went to the playground, too. I felt dizzy just watching the merry-go-round!
One Tuesday in April, our homeschool group went out to MacKintosh Beach, near Amberley, for a picnic and to explore after reading the stories the children wrote, which gives us our excuse for getting together. We had never been out there before, so we enjoyed the spectacular scenery. Even though it drizzled a bit, it was a fun afternoon!
On our second trip to Kaikoura after the earthquake, the second Sunday of January, we went to the Peninsula to see what it looked like at high tide.
Here is the same spot at high tide several years ago:
We saw this on the way to church. The earthquake caused the side of the road to slump down.
After leaving Kaikoura, as we started driving along the coast we saw this fresh slip, with the digger just starting to clean it up. We got through—but the road closed early that night. (Part of the highway to the south of Kaikoura, the part that was damaged the worst by the quake, is closed every night from 8pm till 6am the next morning.)
This spot looks like an entire section of a hill dropped down, creating a new gully.
The Oaro overbridge—the bridge with which the highway crosses over the railroad—suffered a lot of damage in the quake. We stopped to have a close look.
At both ends of the bridge, the road dropped about a meter. Apparently, the gravel used for fill under the ends jiggled away during the earthquake. Most of the bridges around dropped at both ends, but most only a few inches. This, of course, is unusable; you have to detour around this spot.
During the earthquake, the seafloor rose from one to two meters above the former level. This has dramatically changed some parts of the coastline; in Kaikoura, high tide now is approximately where low tide was before the quake! There are rocks visible now that no one knew about before. We went to the Peninsula last Sunday afternoon, around low tide, to see how different it was. This is how it looked just above low tide in 2010, and up until the earthquake:
This is taken from approximately the same place, now, at about the same stage of the tide:
We walked out to the distant rocks, which we were never able to reach before; there was a channel deep enough to snorkel through even at low tide before the quake. Out there, we discovered a colony of baby seals flopping around on the rocks, making a lot of noise. We saw a few of the mothers come in to feed their babies after several days fishing out at sea. It was just amazing to get to see all that—and then, when we returned to the van at the carpark, we got to see a pod of dolphins jumping offshore. I took several videos of what we were treated to, and Esther helped me put them together, so you can enjoy a tiny glimpse, too.
Here are several more pictures of the Peninsula at sea level:
Most of the family also climbed to the top of the Peninsula; I stayed in the van with the two littlest ones. Here are some pictures Esther took from up there; the first is from several years ago, and the second is the same place now.
We actually had our Christmas Day picnic the next day, since Christmas was on Sunday. We went to church that day and visited the family from whom we acquired the kittens. On Monday, then, we went to the beach for a picnic. We ate lunch in a grove of pine trees; the needles make a lovely floor to sit on. The boys played in the water, and then buried each other in the tiny rocks that covered the beach there. We had two extras that day, our nephew and a friend of our boys.
Mr. Inventor stepped on a bee as soon as he reached the beach. He put plantain on the sting and kept in on for a long time. He was quite pleased that it didn’t swell and itch like normal.
After the sting stopped bothering him, he did some beachcombing. I was quite pleased with some of his finds. The starfish washed up just as he was walking past! The orange thing is some sort of sea slug. There were also a couple of nice sponges.
We walked across the railroad track to reach the beach, and on the way back investigated the unusual curves and twists that resulted from the earthquake. I couldn’t get a picture of what we saw in the gravel under the track, but it looked like the earthquake had shoved the track back and forth, pushing the rocks out of place, and the track ended up about half a foot or more to the side of where it started out. We could tell by the rust on the rocks. It was quite interesting. We spent a little time picking cherries on our way home, beside a railway bridge. The bridge either rose, or the tracks on both ends of it sank, because they obviously drop at both ends. The gravel was gone under the end on which we were standing; it had fallen down the hill under the bridge. Kiwirail has a big job to do, repairing the tracks from here to Picton! These pictures show some very minimal damage compared to where the track follows the coast on both sides of Kaikoura.
We took my mom to Gore Bay only once while she was here. I wanted to take her again yesterday (she left today), but Monday I ended up in the hospital with a miscarriage, so that changed all our plans for the week.
Gore Bay didn’t seem much different. The boys thoroughly enjoyed playing in the water. It was right on high tide when we arrived, so the water was gradually going out. That meant they had to stay fairly close in because of the undertow, but they had a lot of fun anyway. Mr. Inventor dug a pool for Little Miss to splash in. She loved that!
Among all the white and gray rocks along the shore, we found these red and green ones! They were much prettier when they were wet.
The hillside going down to the water was covered with nasturtiums and sweet peas in bloom. The smell was so heavy! It was really lovely.
One of the first things we noticed when we arrived at the bay was this fresh slip. The soil at the very top of the cliff had fallen down to the bottom. Then, soon after several of us thought we felt a small tremor, we noticed it was still falling; we saw clouds of dust going down several times. Esther tried to capture it in a video; this short clip shows some.