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Roaring Girl
The adventures of the yacht Roaring Girl wandering the seas.
Crowned boats
17/02/2008

The reason for all the furore was the arrival of the Queen Victoria cruise liner, a Cunard ship registered in Southampton. She is the newest liner in the world, 294m long, with 1000 crew supporting 2000 passengers.


Places and people
Harbour tours
17/02/2008

The Port was giving rides in the two older tugs, Toia and Kupe. Pip had gone on Kupe on the equivalent occasion of that tug's launch. In 1971!
We queued (Beryl, Betty and us) for about 90 minutes to get on the trip around the harbour, and got on to Toia about lunchtime. This gave us a splendid view of Wellington from the sea.

Places and people
Dancing tug
17/02/2008


As well as being an excellent fire hydrant, Taiki can stop or turn in her own length. When she really claps her anchors on, the bow digs deep into her own turbulence.

Places and people
Ferries, helicopters; what a day
Dry, not too windy but cool
17/02/2008, Wellington


The next day was also very busy in central Wellington. A new tug, the Taiki, has been bought by the Port and they were showing it off. We went to see.

Places and people
Pacifika Wellington
Wet
16/02/2008, Waterfront Wellington


On Saturday morning we met up at Te Papa, the splendid national museum in central Wellington. It was a very busy day; Te Papa is 10 and had organised a massive cultural fiesta. Just along the waterfront, the Council was also holding the first Pasifika Arts festival in Wellington. (There is a big one in Aukland, which we are aiming to get to in a couple of weeks.)
These are singers from Tuvalu. Unfortunately we hadn't got the camera; we used the 'phone, but the colourful pictures of the Fijian dancers are all blurred. They were moving very fast! These Tuvalu singers were beautiful, graceful as they sang a lovely song. Despite the rain, we watched for ages.

Places and people
Further south again
Sarah
14/02/2008, Catchpool

From here, I headed to Catchpool, a Doc site at the southern end of the Rimutaka range, west of the hills and just east of Wellington harbour. I spent two peaceful nights here, with a pleasant walk. The site has lots of these Californian quails leading their chicks out to explore the grass.
It's a harsh environment, battered by cold, salty southerly gales, badly damaged both by logging and introduced species such as possum and goats as well as being geologically unstable. Lots of work is being done to revive the bush, and there are successes. At night you can hear the shrill kiwi that are once again breeding in the area.

Places and people
Fighting Fish
Still raining
14/02/2008

The centre is developing a wetland area, where there is a constant struggle against the aggressive, introduced mallard. These fish live in the shallow, fast flowing water. I saw two of them gang up on a curious mallard. They bit it, under the tail, and it gradually moved off their patch and eventually was chased into flying away altogether.
It's a great place to visit. There are kiwi, kept in a reversed house, so they come out to be seen, thinking it's dark. More of the toatara we saw in Invercargill, a small grove of Californian sequoia and much more. (The redwoods were part of a failed programme to introduce exotics to replace the slow-growing native hardwoods, but they look magnificent.)

Places and people
Mount Bruce reserve
Sarah
14/02/2008, Just North of the summit of Mt Bruce

Not far north of my night's stopping place, on State Highway 2, is the National Wildlife Centre at Mount Bruce. This is a large stretch of bush, just rescued from the logging frenzy that fuelled NZ growth at the beginning of the 20th century. Today the project aims to rejuvenate the forest as home to wild, breeding native species such as kiwi. Their biggest challenge is the possum, 70m of which are now wild in this country, enormously destructive both to trees and to birds.
The centre has a number of large aviaries which are home to individuals and breeding pairs of endangered species, and their programme is a key part of restoring native populations. Ground-nesting birds are particularly vulnerable to introduced predators such as stoat and possum so they bring eggs into their hatcheries, protect the tiny chicks and then reintroduce them to the wild. This has been successful, especially with kiwi. This is a North Island Kokako, named Pakiki, because she is. The word means 'curious' in Maori. She is planned to be a breeding mother.

Places and people
Avenue walks
Sarah
14/02/2008


This is a short part of this walk. It wasn't all quite this easy but you can see that some sections of the bush are very accessible.

Places and people
Rata carving
Sarah
14/02/2008


The beech forest at Tararua contains lots of walks, some very short and easy, as well as sections of longer tramps. I took a quiet hour on the loop track and saw this amazing rata twisted into curves and shapes worthy of the prow of a great canoe.

Places and people
Luxurious dinner
Sarah
13/02/2008, Tararua

It's a shame Pip missed this, as we have had relatively few opportunities to eat outside while in Puff. (Other times have been good; we had three splendid al fresco dinners while at Mel and Michelle's.) Too often sandflies or weather have made us retreat inside.
This evening there are relatively few flies, and those that appear have been scared off by our citronella candles and Bug Off. (These have but limited effect on the fiercer monsters of the South Island.) I have some excellent kebabs (from Scotty's, the ace butcher in Martinborough), beans and rice, with avocado and tomato. Paul Simon on the ipod and a glass of whisky.
There's only one other van here, another lone woman. She's a Canadian, of European descent, and in a European way we've parked out of each other's sight. The site is deep in the Tararua Forest, and all around birds are busy with their chicks.

Places and people
Sweet Martinborough
Sarah
13/02/2008

From Putangirua I drove to the popular little town of Martinborough. This, the main hotel on the tree filled square, is a typical balconied and decorated building in this pretty place. Sadly, we will miss the festival here in early March as we want to be in Auckland shortly afterwards for the Pasifika Arts Festival, so I was glad to stop and look around for a wee while.

Places and people

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