Monday, December 21, 2009

Boom –Weka – Weka - Weka

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?
imageThe 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….imageJust 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!                                                          image 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!
image 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!image image 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… :-)image 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:


JaneJeff said...

Jennifer and James ... about the "water spout". Just what fermented concoction were you drinking?

We are at the beach and the sun is shining ... quite a bit cooler than where you are but so nice.

Getting closer ... just in case you run out of communication: MERRY CHRISTMAS

We love you so very much and are just loving your blog and the wonderful descriptive explanations that just make it so wonderful for us.

Love to you both ... give each other a big hug for us.


Life Looms Large said...

Scary bridge....I like how you often end a post with a picture that scares me (remember that shark?) so I have to look at it while I comment. One way to attempt to get me to keep my comments short!

Looks like you had another great day exploring. Maybe it takes an eye for tapestry to see those visions in the rocks....but I do think the rocks are super cool.

Flightless birds & epiphytes.....awesome.

Keep having fun & keep sharing all these pictures! I'm so impressed that you're blogging about your trip while you're on your trip!!