Christine, with some reluctance acquiesced. We had originally planned to go to the South Island (known to some as 'The Mainland'). However an unnamed cyclone (to be named a cyclone has to be well born -- i.e. in certain latitudes -- and this one was not) has hammered Fiji and is on its way south to our area. Although we do not expect any problems here it was predicted that we would have a wet, cloudy and windy weekend which would not make for a great ferry ride to the South Island, nor for a very pleasant stay.
However, not detered by this unexpected weather, nor by the fact that I wanted to rest and work on administration, Christine took me for some 'walks'. Saturday was fairly easy. About 10 in the morning we went for a short walk into tow, returning about three hours later. I had a nap, did a bit of work and then about 4:30 we went for another brief walk to the dock area where we saw the New Zealand yachts that are practicing for the America Cup races. Christine then said we needed to visit Cuba street where all the restaurants and bars are, and where things are lively on a Saturday night. In fact, partly because of the cool, blowing wet weather there was little doing. Our short walk ended about 3 hours later when we stopped at the "Back Bencher", a pub located by the Houses of Parliament. The meal was fine, although the service, unusually, was a bit unfriendly. We had first of all to "fix it up" (i.e. pay for the meal) ahead of time -- I guess we are looking unusually scruffy these days, or American's have a bad reputation for paying. Then, as we were leaving, we were asked to pay again!
That was our restful Saturday.
We made our way to the harbour for a ferry ride to Eastbourne. We are about a 10 minute walk from the harbour. There we border the ferry to go across the harbour to Day's bay on the outskirts of Eastbourne. This is a trip of about 7 miles, takes about half an hour and costs $7NZ. The wind was blowing and the harbour was choppy. I managed however to take one photograph of Christine, with Wellington harbour in the background. Unfortunately it is not possible to see the two yachts, in the background, which were practicing for the America Cup race. photo
We landed at Eastbourne, after a brief stop at Somes Island to drop off some people who were going to spend the day there. It is a nature preserve, protected for nesting birds, but is open to the public. After we landed in Eastbourne, we had tea, and then went on our 'stroll'. This consisted of a climb of about 350 meters (about a thousand feet) in a horizontal distance of about 100 meters. Such efforts do give one a sense of what condition one is in. The following photo is of Christine about two thirds of the way up, with Somes Island in the background. photo
Once we finally reached the top we were on the ridge track. We followed this north for a few kilometers. The next photo is one of the scenic views we encountered on this tramp. Across the harbour is Wellington. photo
About half way along the ridge (which should not be thought of as a level track -- it undulated and I am sure we climbed another 350 meters as we negotiated our way along) we came out of the forest into a clearing at which a bench had been erected. Here I collapsed. photo
The final photo in the series is taken at the end of the ridge with a view of Lower Hutt in the background photo
From here we descended on an unmarked path which ended up disappearing. The last 100 meters was through dense brush and gorse, ending in climbing over a barbed wire fence to return to civiliation. Then we walked about 3 kilometers to a bus stop in the town of Petone and got back to Wellington about 8:00. The 3 hour stroll had taken about 9 hours. However to finish the day we had beef Wellington (which is sold, prepared at the local supermarket -- it is properly done).