The small town rose steeply with all the houses spread out along the hillside. Everyone had a sea view here. The main street sported a few shops and cafes, nothing big. The library was lovely, warm and cosy and full of little kids. I used their internet with a lot of help from a kind librarian. Then it was out into the gale again. In the co-op, a wonderful old health food shop with board floors and brown paper bags, I bought muesli.
I did not try to get to Christchurch; sadly it is a ruin since the earthquake of 2011 devastated it. I found a postcard of the no longer cathedral. What a shame that something so beautiful has been totally destroyed.
In Napier the next day the weather was fairly calm I went walking towards the town without my umbrella, but the minute I left shelter it began to drizzle rain. The walk along the foreshore of Hawkes Bay, where waves crashed on the pebble beach only a few feet away, would have been nice otherwise. I passed the Seafarers Club and continued on under a row of Norfolk pines that led to the town centre. It was still raining. I came upon a charity shop, nipped in and bought the only umbrella they had—a child-sized one—for a dollar. I ate a slab of lasagne I bought under my small umbrella on a bench in a lovely park where a large Carillion came on suddenly and frightened the wits out of me.
Burma Travel Destinations Gallery Photos
Burma Travel Destinations
Another couple of rough days and nights followed, the first for a while. One day we passed very close to New Zealand’s most active volcano, which sat alone on the sea blowing out plumes of white smoke, bare except for some little green plants along its base. Jutting out of the sea nearby were three skinny pointy rocks, like three guardians.
It was very pretty coming into the Taranga Harbour, our last port of call in New Zealand. Green-covered headlands rose to heights and little boats and buildings hugged the shore. Pushed by muscular little tugs, the work horses of harbours, we were turned around in the small body of water that contained our berth so we would be facing the way out when we left that night.
We crossed the Tasman Sea, then we were out on the smooth Coral Sea, and the weather got warmer, thank goodness. After a short stay in Brisbane, we began passing along the outside of the Great Barrier Reef. Ships travelling this route is not as safe for the reef, but it costs less as a pilot is required for the entire transit of the inside passage. The ship was idling now in order to arrive on time at the rendezvous with the pilot who would take us safely through the Torres Strait.