We rarely shop in the Southern suburbs.
On the other hand, we will go to great lengths to avoid the crowds in our local mall, especially during holiday season and in bad weather. There was a shop we wanted at Rongotai, so off we went. As we came around one of the many corners on Evans Bay, I spotted this colourful tanker berthed at the Miramar wharf.
As far as I know, the main purpose of the Miramar terminal is jet fuel, so I presume that the Stena Polaris was delivering that. Since she is leased by Stena Bulk, a division of the Swedish company that is providing our temporary interisland ferry (the Stena Alegra), I was more than usually interested. The Stena Polaris is a very modern vessel specially reinforced for ice, with dual separate engine rooms. It recently completed a voyage from the Gulf of Finland to South Korea via the Northern Sea Route (the North East passage). In the few months of the year when ice permits, she can save about 12 days and 400 tonnes of fuel, carrying 44,000 tonnes of naphtha or other petroleum products. We shall overlook the fact that she was accompanied on her voyage by a Russian nuclear powered icebreaker ‘just in case’.
On our return we drove down Aotea Quay which was dominated by the impressive 90,000 Tonne bulk of the Radiance of the Seas. This ship is capable of carrying 2,500 units of self-loading cargo, and according to Wikipedia, is further distinguished as the first ship to have gyro-stabilized pool tables that remain horizontal no matter what. Amazing how we can find solutions to first-world problems (though I suspect that there is no solution to the inertia problems that may arise if the ship rolls a lot, or surges into waves).
Speaking of matters maritime, it dawns on me that it is sixty years ago to the day that with my parents and brother, we sailed down the Clyde on the TSS Captain Cook to emigrate from the UK to New Zealand.
In the afternoon I went out again and wandered the industrial area at the back of Upper Hutt. I found little of interest at street level so went up the Mangaroa Hill road and looked back towards the city below. The first thing that caught my eye was a log bark processing machine that grinds and sorts log bark into various landscaping products. It’s amazing what lies behind the bland street frontages.
From the same vantage point, and with my textures theme in mind, I spotted an interesting roof top.
And then, mindful of the check-behind-you rule, I saw this bumble bee Bombus terrestris) up to its neck in gathering pollen from this large thistle.
My last discovery of the day was the Wallaceville cemetery, tucked onto a wind-swept hillside overlooking the Mangaroa Valley. I referred to the “wild goose grasses” just a few days ago, but here the grasses were really blowing across graves just as the old Weavers’ song suggested.
More wind and rain today.