Thursday 18 December 2014

Summer – at last?

Everyone in Wellington has been complaining about the appalling lack of summer weather we are having. It’s been blowing gales for what seems like months on end, and then we had bucketing rain for days. But we finally had two whole fine days in a row – sunny and above all, calm! Yay! Mind you – it was a case of “don’t blink, or you’ll miss it”, because the next day it was back to heavy rain.

Anyway, complaints aside – we managed to go for a short-ish bike ride on Tuesday. My overseas sister-in-law, who is staying with us at the moment, went off into town with a cousin, so we had a free afternoon. We went to Pauatahanui and Whitby.

As the holidays seem to have started for many schools, we wanted to avoid riding on Grays Road, between the Camborne Walkway and Motukaraka. We thought there might be more car traffic than is usually the case during the week. It is a winding road, there is virtually no shoulder, and motorists are inclined to drive too fast along that stretch.

So we parked the car at Motukaraka Point, and pedalled off onto Te Ara Piko. From Pauatahanui, we rode along the underpass under the main road, and into Whitby. We had enjoyed the walkways through this suburb when we rode there with the Folding Goldies, so we wanted to explore them again.

It's uphill into Whitby to get to the walkway, but with the electric bikes, it is so easy to ride up the hills. Wonderful!

Whitby Walkways sign post (photo by John)

The walkway meanders between stream and back gardens …

… and through leafy glades (photo by John)

We didn’t go all the way through Whitby, but turned around after a few kilometres.

We got back to Pauatahanui, just as the local school was emptying out. It must have been the last day and prize giving, judging from the many parents that came streaming across the pedestrian crossing along with their children. All were loaded down with bags of exercise books, artworks, and other paraphernalia, and some were clutching certificates.

School’s out for summer! – isn’t that the title of a 70s pop song? (yes, Alice Cooper, in 1972).

The stream of children and parents across the pedestrian crossing seemed to be never-ending (photo by John)

Riding past the wetlands, we were struck by the unusually bright green patches of algae, where the tide had gone out. It was hard to capture that colour, but our photos also showed up the wonderful russet colours of the reeds in the foreground.

Bright green patches of algae at the water’s edge and rusty reds of the reeds in the foreground

Bright yellow-green algae

Back at Motukaraka, we noticed the scum that had been left behind by the receding tide. I wonder if that was related to the growth of the algae too. It did look very pretty along the scalloped edge of the water …

Frothy scum has been left behind by the receding tide (photo by John)

More frothy scalloped edges (photo by John)

John’s birthday present was an i-Phone 6 which has a pretty good camera on it, and he's enjoying experimenting with it. It is capable of taking panoramas, which of course, had to be tried out.

A panorama of the Pauatahanui inlet, from Motukaraka Point (photo by John)

It was not a long ride – just 14 kms – but it was so lovely to be out in the sunshine, and without the infernal wind!

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