This is a month where we got back on the road. One thing has become very clear to us these last few weeks, that even after more than two years on the road, we are definitely not ready to settle down into one spot anytime soon!
It's been an interesting month where we have finally walked the Godley Heads track near Christchurch which we somehow managed to miss in the entire twelve years living in the area. It's a fantastic and, judging by the amount of people walking in the middle of the week, very popular track following the hills to old gun emplacements. It still fascinates me that as a species we invariably forget to look in our immediate area for interesting places to visit believing that excitement is always somewhere else. If this adventure teaches me only one thing then it is take advantage of everything close by and really enjoy it.
This adventure of ours also provides interesting opportunities. This month led me to an assignment in Auckland, yes I do occasionally do some work as well, photographing a diverse families celebrations as Mum, Grandma and Great Grandma Doreen celebrated her 90th birthday. Great to see a family that all pulled together to make the most of the day and happily allowed me to capture planned and, not so planned, moments for posterity making for a fantastic book of memories.
Half way through the month it was time to hitch up the van, say goodbye to our friends and get back to what we enjoy most, just us and the open road. The open road on this occasion lead us back up the centre of the South Island over to the east coast and down to Marfells Beach. We were last in this spot two years ago and loved that the site we stayed on had the waves at high tide breaking just a few meters from the van. The massive earthquake that hit the area only a few months ago has dramatically changed the landscape though by pushing up the coastline by a few meters. This change meant that at high tide the waves were now breaking about 20 meters further out than they used to and a headland which we could only negotiate at low tide is now completely dry at high tide. When you see results like this the power of Mother Nature is very, very evident and awe inspiring.
Further down the coast at the settlement of Ward I met up with a local who explained to me that the piece of land I was currently stood on taking photos of the waves and rocks was underwater prior to the earthquake. The only benefit of the land shaking he could come up with is that they now have a lot more beach than they used to, always a silver lining if you look hard enough.
We have again met some wonderful people on these travels. Genevieve from Clarence has taken the bold step of starting a food van to service the needs of the workers getting the Kaikoura rail and road network going. Heading down from Blenheim is an eye opening experience as you get a small taste of the devastating power of the earthquake and, when you can go no further, you are rewarded by absolutely amazing food at the truck......seriously it is worth the drive to get there, have the food and hear their stories of life in the area post earthquake.
And lastly, a thank you must go to our friends Pete and Julie who allowed us to stay on their farm for considerably longer than we anticipated due to various challenges. They are undoubtedly among the most generous people we have encountered on our travels and very much look forward to being back with them again soon......we promise not to stay quite so long next time!