Heartbreak is an extremely dramatic word.
Yet here I am using it twice in two days. We left Rolleston in the dark, a little after six. It was very dark and once we hit Russley Rd which is seemingly becoming a four laned highway, everything got confused. Flashing lights, pink road cones and no external visual cues increased my stress levels. Added to that, the massive grilles of the huge “B-train” trucks front and rear scared me witless. Eventually I realised that we were indeed headed North when I got to signs pointing to Harewood. From there the road turned to the North East (John’s Rd) and straight into the rising sun.
This is where the heartbreak occurs. It was a blood-red sunrise with dramatic dark cloud above, and trees silhouetted in the golden light at the horizon. Magnificent picture opportunities presented themselves, and there was no possibility to stop without having a Fonterra tanker and trailer, or a big Hall’s refrigerated rig trampling all over me. The photographic disaster was complete as we swung Northwards again and crossed the bridge at Saltwater Creek near Sefton. This is one of those braided rivers so typical of Canterbury, and the water was reflecting that red dawn. I desperately wanted to stop right there, but alas survival instincts prevailed.
In the course of staying alive, I was mostly focussed on the road. All this was gained from impressions from the corner of my eyes. My gift to my fellow photographers in Canterbury is this: next time there is a similar partially overcast sunrise such as this, get to Sefton and onto Geisha Road. Get down onto the shingle and wait for the right moment. I am sure it will be a salon-buster.
Anyway, grumpy and disappointed I drove on until at last, somewhere in the Hurunui where the traffic was lighter, I was able to stop (Mary is very patient), and capture the last of the red morning before it washed out entirely.
Mary was driving the rest of the way, so I was able to enjoy the magnificent landscape through Waipawa, Cheviot and the Hunderlees to the East coast near Kaikoura. A little to the South of Kaikoura, I was watching seaward ever hopeful of seeing a whale blowing, and there was a pod of dolphins frolicking. We pulled in and noticed that a number of others had seen them too.
Regrettably their best antics were at fairly extreme distances, so this first image is a fairly extreme crop.
They did get closer but behaved more sedately near the shore. After a good coffee and snack (I always choose the whale watch site in Kaikoura, it is bright, cheerful, immaculately clean, and does good coffee), we moved on to Picton.
There, the marshalling people performed their usual mysterious rites to ensure that those who arrive early (as we did) get shunted into the line that boards the ferry last and misses out on the best seats. I am sure there is some science in their apparently arbitrary system, but I have never figured it out.
The passage up the sound was beautiful and uneventful. I watched in hope for conspicuous dolphin or bird activity and saw none. A pretty little classic double ended motor launch called “Kiwi” puttered by in the other direction.
As we came abeam of the wind farm near Wellington, I had a sense of homecoming.
So now we are home with a busy week ahead.
* The Lobster Quadrille, by Lewis Carrol