Monday, April 17, 2017

West Coast sunshine

Unlike on my summer visit, this time the weather has been superb! Yesterday I left Murchison to head down the road to Westport. There I visited the seal colony again, with many young seals frolicking in the surf near the 'nursery' rocks. I only spotted a couple of small ones feeding and I guess the adults are largely out at sea feeding.
Then I drove south towards Greymouth, stopping off at Punakaiki where it seemed the roughish seas and incoming tide meant I had timed it well to see a bit of blowing... And to end the day, I arrived in Kumara, the town where my goldmining Payn, Scettrini, and some Lalors settled.

Now for a few photos. I'm using a new app- will make the photos bigger when I am home again...

And in Greymouth I had the great joy of seeing that the restoration of my Lalor great grandparents grave is nearly complete.

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Across the Strait

I wasn't entirely looking forward to this sailing since Cyclone Cook had barely left the east coast behind, but being on the ferry started well with this glorious sky.

We left on time and soon we passed Mt Victoria, Seatoun, and the windmills at the western edge of the North Island.

I had a short 'snooze' while we were out in the Strait itself, where there was quite a strong wind though not much swell- and it seemed no time before we were arriving in the Sounds, in the South Island.

In Tory Channel we passed one of the other ferries.

And as we left Tory Channel, other boats were heading in...

It was a very pleasant day on deck taking in the views...

...and doing a spot of people watching.

And now, I am back on South Island soil...

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Exploring around Kumara

My maternal ancestors were involved with goldmining, many in Kumara. Today I did some exploring around the area.

One of my great-uncles, John Payn, was killed in action in France in WW1 and is buried there. His name is listed on the greenstone plaques outside the Memorial Hall.

During the day a whole pile of Pork Pie Minis passed through.

This historic hotel was here when my great grandfather Frank Payn was still a young man.

I walked around the back of Londonderry Rock where my uncle took me once. The piles of tailings from sluicing are still incredibly tall and barren.

It was great to see Kumara School had real acknowledgement of the town's past. This sculpture of a miner panning for gold was near the entrance.

I did lots of walking- including on Payn's Track. I saw this old house in my travels. Someone's ancestors lived here.

Tonight I had dinner at the Theatre Royal Hotel - and by chance, my ancestors graced my placemat.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

A short southern sojourn

The Easter holidays are here and I am headed off to the South Island for a brief stay. I decided to take the 9am ferry from Wellington which meant an early start from Palmy. However when I went out to the garage this morning I was treated to a calm morning, with moon and stars in the sky. Cloud that was in the sky was lit up by the moonlight and it all looked rather beautiful. 
It was an easy drive south to Wellington with hardly any other traffic on the road. It was my first time on the new Kapiti expressway and at just after 6am on Easter Saturday I had it pretty much to myself. I had no idea how long it was, and it was actually a bit weird to totally miss Waikanae. It had modern reflectors on the sides of the road, and dividing the lanes, that all shone up in the darkness and I felt as if I was in some kind of alien land. More than once I got a bit worried that I had somehow missed an exit sign and that I shouldn't even be on this new road yet!
At Paremata I had a quick comfort stop. Strange as it may sound, I had never stopped here at low tide, and I really hadn't realised how tidal it all was.