Wednesday 8 January 2014

Paremata to Karehana Bay

Yesterday, Monday 6 January, was described by “the media” as the most depressing day of the year because for most people, it signaled the return to work after the Christmas/New Year break. I must say that I felt sorry for those who were particularly brassed off that the sun had finally come out, on the very day they had to go back to work, when for most of the holiday break, Wellington’s weather had been frustratingly wet and windy, even stormy.

However, we were feeling lucky, as we were able to go for a bike ride, instead of having to worry about clearing hundreds of emails or putting up with a difficult boss. My decision to take “early retirement” was the one of the best decisions of my life!

We went for just a short bike ride (10 kms), from Paremata to Karehana Bay, and back. John has been full of a cold all week (thank you, horrible Wellington weather!), so he was not feeling up to doing great biking heroics. But he did want to take a better picture of our bikes for my (or rather our) “technical” blog post. He wanted one with a more attractive background.

As we drove into Paremata across the bridge, John reckoned he saw a shark, or a dolphin, basking midstream at the entrance to the inlet, near the bridge. I didn’t believe it, so we stopped at the Ngati Toa Domain, and biked back to the bridge to take a look. We didn’t see anything that looked like either a shark or a dolphin, and the people playing in or near the water didn’t seem to be worried or excited by anything. So I suspect that what he saw was just a bit of debris, as there was a lot of it floating about after the last few days’ gales.

We were surprised, when we parked at the domain, at the huge number of Downer’s (infrastructure construction company) vehicles parked there. Was this the place they parked the vehicles during the Christmas break? We asked a chap in an orange hi-viz vest, and found out that it had been a safety training session for staff. When we came back from looking for the “shark”, dozens of similarly clad people were pouring out of the nearby hall.

Last Thursday and Friday, there was yet another storm (we’ve had a few over the past year!), which resulted in high seas pounding the shore and debris being blown about.

John thought that we might not be able to go on the path that runs between the shore and the railway line, as it was still windy, and he thought that waves might still be crashing onto the path, but it was OK.

The track between the water and the railway line was not being swamped by waves (photo by John)

Normally placid Plimmerton Beach had quite a surf running, and as the tide was still high, it slapped up against the seawall. But not nearly as much as it had during the height of the storm. Compare the photo below with photo No 6, on this link (Wellington wind jan 3 2014).

On Monday, the remains of Friday’s storm were still slapping against the Plimmerton seawall
(photo by John)

Surf rolling onto Plimmerton Beach (photo by John)

As we rode along the foreshore of Karehana Bay, there was quite a bit of gravel and driftwood debris that had been thrown up over the seawall, onto the pavement. Piles of seaweed had been dumped against the base of the wall and lots more seaweed was still floating about in the waves.

Piles of seaweed at Karehana Bay

It was an uneventful, though quite windy, ride to the end of the road. There John tried to take photos of the bikes with the sea as a background, but the wind was so strong, the bikes were shuddering on their stands.

The way back to Plimmerton was smooth and enjoyable, with the wind now behind us. We stopped at the “Big Salami Café” for a coffee. While there, we heard the shrill of the siren being sounded at the Fire Station at Karehana. As the local fire brigade is manned by volunteers, it was a few minutes before the fire engine came screaming past. We could hear it coming before it rounded the corner, so I had my camera ready.

The fire engine rushes past the café

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