Plimmerton, New Zealand – August 5, 2017
Earlier in the workweek, Leslie sent me a photograph of a crazy looking bug she found in our garage. I had never seen anything like that bug. I showed the picture to several colleagues at work. They instantly replied, “Weta.”
The weta is an insect indigenous to New Zealand. Think grasshopper with ferocious-looking mandibles and spines. My colleagues said they are a protected species. Having not known that, had I been at home when the weta arrived in the garage, I probably would have dispatched the beast. However, Leslie was somehow able to coax the creature out of the garage and into the plants outside. One of my colleagues told me there are large wetas, up to 10 cm (nearly four inches) long on Mana Island near Plimmerton. I had no intention of setting foot on an island which is home to monsters, but I did want to see the island from a “safe” distance.
So, early in the morning, Leslie and I set out for Plimmerton, New Zealand. We chose to drive Grays Road along the north side of Porirua Harbour to get to Plimmerton. What a beautiful day! The water was smooth as glass.
We drove through the small business district of Plimmerton without stopping. That is because we had already had breakfast and coffee. Just beyond the business district, we made our first stop. Much to our surprise, the Tasman Sea was every bit as calm as the harbor.
I think we were at the beach at low tide because the sea did not cover some fascinating rock formations. The birds loved the rocks. In the distance, we saw Mana Island, and beyond we saw the South Island. It was such a beautiful day.
Back in the car, we drove along Moana Road. It skirts alongside the beach. We were ready to continue driving along the coast when we spotted a sign indicating only foot traffic was allowed beyond that point unless one was visiting someone or on business. Since we were neither, we parked and walked along the beach, looking across the water to Mana Island.
We found the sign at the Hongoeka Marae. A marae is a religious place primarily used by Maori Iwi (tribes). They equate roughly to a church. One of the signposts was carved into an unusual shape.
Our beachcombing is oddly relaxing for us. You would think we find gold nuggets as excited as we get when we find that perfect shell. As I have written before, it does not take a great deal to entertain us.