The wind has died down considerably today and that has made it a nearly perfect picture day. Which is excellent because this is a day full of picture taking. Our plan is to head to Pancake Rocks or Punakaiki. The seacoast here is a formation of limestone that has eroded into what looks to be consistent stacks. No one knows how they were formed or why it is eroding this way, but here it is. At high tide, the force of the sea shoots water up against and sometimes through these rocks. We love digital cameras, because on a day like this we try and try again to get the picture that is just right. James was able to catch this seawater explosion from “The Blowhole”. See how the limestone has eroded in layers in the rock?
The limestone is still eroding and changing with every wave. This particular formation was pointed out as one to test one’s imagination. So what characters do you see? From left to right, we see: a large profile of a man looking out to the sea, a cartoonish walrus (see the tusks?) watching us, a stylish Frenchman looks back at the beach, a crouching tiger ready to pounce on the stylish Frenchman because he has ears on top of his head….Just north of the Pancake Rocks is the Truman Track which leads out to the sea for sandstone formations. There are no pancakes here, but some wonderful colors and areas to explore. We were able to eye to eye with the wave! The Weka is another indigenous flightless bird of New Zealand. People often confuse these with the kiwi – but of course the Kiwi only come out at night. Wekas on the other hand come out during the day and can be rather cheeky – at least the Western ones. We’ve seen number of these creatures scurrying across the road like a chicken and wondered why he was crossing the road… It’s taken us until today to meet a brave Weka that was willing to have his picture taken. Say Weka!
On our way to the sandstone formations (Truman Track), we came across a Black Pine and a Rata growing together. Here is James in front of the trunk(s). For those who don’t know James he is 6 foot 4 inches tall (1.94 meters). The Black Pine is in the middle. The Rata is a epiphyte – which means it starts life in the arms of the other tree but doesn’t destroy it like a parasite. Once the Rata grows it will continue growing until it finds the earth to put down root and then will encase the original tree with coils. The second photo shows where the Rata started growing in this Black Pine. Can you say Jurassic Park? The beautiful part is the Rata blooms in a deep red this time of year. Sorry I couldn’t get that high for a picture! And our last interesting feature for today is a road rail bridge. That’s right the railroad and the cars share the bridge and the bridge is only one lane! And you thought roundabouts were something to get used to - This requires looking well, knowing who has the right away and realizing that a train gets the right of way no matter what for the law of mass tonnage must be obeyed… :-) Oh and Happy Equinox to you! It’s 10:30 pm here and the stars are finally peeking through. There is a local glow-worm dell we just went to see and they were shining more than the stars!For more pictures (particularly of the rock formations) – check out: