Tag: Fish

Groundhog Day – Tahitian Style

Groundhog Day – Tahitian Style

Punaauia, Tahiti, French Polynesia – August 9, 2017

The International Dateline makes for a very odd travel companion. I departed Wellington on the afternoon of August 9, a Wednesday. I arrived in Tahiti on the afternoon of August 8, a Tuesday. That meant when I went to work the following morning; it was August 9, a Wednesday; a day I had already lived! I could only think of the movie Groundhog Day. Luckily, I was stuck in paradise, not winter.

I stayed at the Le Meridien Hotel, the same place Leslie and I visited the year before. It was every bit as lovely. The weather helped make it beautiful. August in Tahiti is the seasonal equivalent of February in Colorado. However, even though the temperatures are much more moderate in Tahiti than during their summer, it is lightyears nicer than Colorado in February.
The Le Meridien Hotel.
The view from the hotel room toward Moorea Island.

From the beach at the hotel, one can easily see the island of Moorea.  It makes for some scenic photos.  I know I am pushing my luck since I have been fortunate enough to go to Tahiti twice; but, if I ever return, I will make time to explore Moorea.

Moorea as seen in the early evening.
Moorea Island in the early morning.
Birds flying around the huts.
A gnarled tree at the beach.
Some of the over-the-water huts at the Le Meridien Hotel.
Looking to the south.
Tiny saltwater fish.
A lily.
A view of Moorea from a vantage point high above Papeete.

I completed my work on Friday, but my return flight was not until Sunday morning.  That meant I was able to take an island tour on Saturday.

The van picked us up at the hotel around 10:00. The group consisted of me, a woman, and two couples. Our first stop was the Fern Grotto of Maraa. There was a small parking area from which a trail meandered into the jungle. After a relatively short walk, maybe 100 meters, we arrived at the cave. Our guide explained it was an ancient lava tube. It is now about half-full of water and surrounded by ferns.

The sign for the Maraa Fern Grotto.
The grotto, an old lava tube.
The beautiful Pacific Ocean.  This was directly across the road from the grotto parking area.

The next site was a twin waterfall. It was in the jungle, just across from the ocean. It is hard to describe just how dense is the forest. There was a splash of color provided by planters made of stacks of painted tires.

Colorful tires.
The twin waterfalls.
Jungle view.

We spent quite a bit of time at the Jardins d’eau de Vaipahi, a botanical garden.  There was a gentle, winding trail on which one navigated through the jungle.  The wild jungle plants and flowers are numerous.  It is difficult to do justice to the sights with the few photographs I took.

Pollination in progress.
Flowers at the Jardins d’eau de Vaipahi.
Tiny freshwater fish.
Flower at the Jardins d’eau de Vaipahi.
Waterfall at the Jardins d’eau de Vaipahi.
Waterfall at the Jardins d’eau de Vaipahi.

After walking through the Jardins d’eau de Vaipahi, I stood near the van to wait for my tour companions. I noticed across the road a small business. It seemed to offer just about any kind of water conveyance one could want. If I had had more time, I would have gone over and talked to the shop keeper. After all, the ouvert (open) sign was out.

Rental hut across the highway from the Jardins d’eau de Vaipahi.

We climbed back into the van for a reasonably long drive to the Arahoho Blowhole. This feature is directly on the northern coast of the island. It is an old lava tube, the diameter of which is about two feet. I saw some tourists stand in front of the blowhole. When a wave hit the ocean-side of the blowhole, one could hear a roar in the tube followed by a significant blast of wind. The guide mentioned there are times when tourists get soaked because the wave can make it to the end of the blowhole. I surmise that may be during high tide.

Cove at the Arahoho Blowhole.
Another view of the cove.
A wave crashing against the ocean-side of the Arahoho Blowhole.

Our final stop was the observation deck at Col du Tahara’a. From the observation deck, one has a great view of the town of Papeete. As with so many sights, the island of Moorea looms in the distance.

A panorama from the observation deck at Col du Tahara’a.
View from the observation deck at Col du Tahara’a. Moorea Island is in the distance.

In total, the tour covered about 100 kilometers (62 miles) around the edge of Tahiti.  The journey took about four hours.  When I got back to the hotel, it was time for a refreshing, Tahitian beer!

Now we’re talkin’!!
Gone Fishin’

Gone Fishin’

Seaview, New Zealand – December 21, 2017

It was a smashing morning. We were both excited about our fishing adventure with Pete Lamb Fishing. We arrived at the Seaview Marina at about 11:40 for our 12:30 departure. Another 19 people from the office and their family joined us, for a total of 21 people.
The Daniel with Captain Pete on the bow.

We saw our boat, the Daniel, entering the marina from Wellington Harbour.  At 62 feet (19 meters), it is a good-sized boat.  It is white with a red gunwale.  As each of us walked up the stairs and stepped on board, Captain Pete greeted us with a smile and a handshake.

Behind the pilothouse was a small room with a dining table and storage cabinets.  Leaving that room, one is on the deck.  There is a roof above about half of the deck.  The remainder is open and not shaded.

Bait

Leslie and I took up positions near the door to the dining area, under cover. All of the fishing poles were rigged, baited, and standing in rod holders evenly spaced along the gunwale. As the Daniel reversed and began to make its way through the marina, we marveled at homes above Point Howard. They have a commanding view of the harbor.

Pacific Rainbow

Moored just outside the Seaview Marina was the oil products tanker ship, Pacific Rainbow. It is a 28,000-gross ton ship, capable of carrying as much as 46,000 tons of product. At just under 600 feet (180 meters), it is small for a tanker. I imagine that is due to the depth of the harbor. More massive ships probably have too deep a draft to dock at Seaview. The contents of the tanker are pumped to holding tanks at the Mobil Petroleum Products Company for ultimate distribution throughout New Zealand.

Once in the open waters of the harbor, Captain Pete pointed the boat toward the southern point of Somes Island. It is the largest island in the harbor. Currently a reserve under the control of the Department of Conservation, the island previously served as an internment camp and a quarantine location for both humans and mammals.

Lighthouse on Somes Island.

We passed Somes Island off the starboard side of the boat. I did not realize until this trip that there is a lighthouse on the island. The current tower dates from 1900, while the original lighthouse dates from 1866. It is one of 23 operating lighthouses in New Zealand.

The weather became windier. Luckily, the wind was out of the north, so it was not really cold. Throughout the afternoon, it became more and more cloudy. The good news, we did not have any rain.

Point Halswell Lighthouse.

Continuing, off the port side of the boat, we could see the Point Halswell Lighthouse.  It sits on the northern point of the Miramar peninsula.

After a trip of just under six miles (nine kilometers), we reached the “fishing hole.” We anchored just off the point of Oriental Bay. As soon as the anchor hit the harbor floor, Captain Pete sent his deckhand around to instruct each of us how to use the rods. The hooks were many times larger than the hooks one uses for trout fishing. They are known as self-setting hooks. A trout hook looks roughly like the letter “J.” The self-setting hooks look more like a sloppily drawn letter “J.” The small portion of the hook is bent back considerably toward the main shaft. The tip of the hook is bent back a little more. This design makes it more difficult for the fish to spit out the hook. Virtually every time, the hook ends up in the corner of the fish’s mouth.

For bait, the hooks had either fish or squid pieces. Each pole had two baited hooks and a lead weight of about 12 ounces. There was no casting. One placed a thumb on the wound fishing line on the reel, released the drag, and allowed the line to drop to the harbor floor. As soon as the weight hit the harbor floor, one re-engaged the drag, wound once or twice and then waited. The water was about 65 feet deep (20 meters).

Very quickly, people started hooking fish.  The most prevalent fish was the kahawai.  I had a large kahawai hooked, but just at the surface, it jumped off.  I did not catch anything else the rest of the afternoon.

Kahawai!!

Leslie did land a good cooking-size kahawai a little later.  Captain Pete commented that there was a school of kahawai near us, as evidenced by the sea birds.  Several types of seabirds circled near the boat, diving periodically for the fish.

In addition to the kahawai, two red gurnard, one red snapper, and one barracuda found their way onto the Daniel.  When a fish made it to the deck of the boat, either Captain Pete or the deckhand removed the hook, dispatched the fish, and placed it in a cooler.  They also assisted with snags and tangles, of which there were a few.

The fishing expedition was communal. That means that all fish caught are filleted and distributed evenly to those fishing. So, even though I did not land a fish, I still got an even share of the total catch. When the cooler was full, the deckhand began filleting the fish. He never gutted any of the fish. He filleted both sides and then removed the skin. The deckhand tossed the remains over the side, much to the delight of the seagulls…and who knows what in the depths.

When the first fishing hole petered out (no pun intended), the captain weighed anchor and motored the boat near the port. That meant that while we fished, we could watch the loading of ships. There were two ships docked at the port, a container ship, the other boat was a cargo ship, taking on logs from New Zealand bound for China.

A cargo ship loaded with logs.

After 30 or 40 minutes, Captain Pete moved the boat to a spot just off the west side of Somes Island.  That is where one of the fishermen caught the lone barracuda.  The captain said the barracuda was not a keeper because of the worms they usually carry.  Instead, the barracuda became bait.

We had fished for a little over six hours when we left the west side of Somes Island, bound for the Seaview Marina. By the time we arrived, the deckhand had all of the fillets in 21 separate plastic bags. Since we received two, I estimate Leslie and I ended up with about two pounds of fish.

Two nights after the fishing trip, we had the fish for dinner along with a trout that a friend had given us.  I must say, I was not all that wild with the kahawai.  I much preferred the trout.  Regardless, the fishing trip was a lot of fun.

A container ship.
Sloop
A fishing boat.
Apartments at the point at Oriental Bay.
New Zealand fish poster.
Somes Island.
Wellington in the distance, just beyond Somes Island.
Bow
Happy fisherwoman.
Seaview Marina
Art Deco

Art Deco

Napier, New Zealand – December 16, 2016

Almost exactly one year ago, Leslie and I came to Napier.  It was our first trip in New Zealand.  We returned in 2016 with Leslie’s mom, Lorraine.

On the drive to Napier, we stopped in the town of Pahiatua for lunch. We selected The Black Stump Café. That was the same place Leslie and I had eaten in the previous trip. At the door to the café we some dirty gumboots. It was a friendly local custom to take off one’s muddy footwear before entering the restaurant.
Leave your gumboots outside.

We also returned to our favorite Napier accommodation, The Pebble Beach Motor Inn. We got a room on the third floor with a view of Hawke’s Bay. That was a beautiful place for afternoon cocktails.

Directly across from the motel is the beach.  Unfortunately, it is not a friendly beach; it is deadly.  The rip currents are treacherous there.  Many have met their end when trying to swim at that beach.  Even though one cannot go into the water, it is still relaxing to stroll along or sit upon the shore.

About one block away from the motel is the National Aquarium of New Zealand.  On the exterior of the building are several murals.  I found the one with the octopus to be particularly mesmerizing.  Maybe that is because of the octopus escape from that very aquarium in April 2016.

Mural on the side of the National Aquarium.

Adjacent to the National Aquarium is a water fountain. One of the three sections has three nozzles spraying water. During the night the spray is lit. Leslie and I walked over one evening and watched as the lights changed colors.

Fountain near the National Aquarium.
Fountain near the National Aquarium.
Fountain near the National Aquarium.
Fountain near the National Aquarium.

The following day, Lorraine was not feeling well.  She stayed at the motel while Leslie and I drove about 20 minutes to Havelock North.  A colleague at work told me about the town; but, most importantly, he told me about Te Mata Peak.

The summit of Te Mata Peak is 399 meters (1,309 feet). At that height, one has a commanding, 360-degree views. Running north to south at the summit are limestone cliffs. The limestone bed has been uplifted due to tectonic activity over the millennia. Looking over the cliff edge, one has a good view of the Tuki Tuki River Valley. The Craggy Range Vineyards is visible along the far bank of the river. Last, but certainly not least, along the cliff edge, one can see the “hang gliding launch ramp.” That is not for me!
View from Te Mata Peak looking north. The city of Napier is at the far left of the bay.
The hang gliding launch ramp on Te Mata Peak. The Tuki Tuki River is visible across the center of the image.
Looking east from Te Mata Peak.

Back at the motel, we were glad to find Lorraine feeling much better.  That was a good thing.  We planned to go out that evening to celebrate Leslie’s birthday.

For dinner, we chose The Boardwalk restaurant. The food was delicious, but having Claudia wait on us made the whole evening. At one point, she saw that I was taking some photos with my phone. She asked if we wanted a picture of the three of us. Of course, I said yes. She was kind enough to take a photograph. Then, when she was done, she quickly turned the camera on herself and took a selfie. She was outgoing.
The birthday dinner destination.
The birthday girl is surrounded.
Our server, Claudia.

As a starter, we shared the Baked Pull-Apart Loaf.  That came with garlic butter, dukkha, basil pesto, and olive oil with balsamic vinegar.  We also shared Paua Wontons.  The wontons contained New Zealand paua (abalone) and came with lemon wedges and soy sauce.

The birthday girl selected Garlic and Maple Pork for her main. The menu description was pork loin marinated with maple, garlic, and sesame and served on a rustic chunky potato and cream cheese base with apple sauce. She did like it, but she said it was not quite what she was expecting.

Garlic & Maple Pork.

For her main dish, Lorraine selected the Chicken Parmigiana. The menu description was crumbed chicken breast topped with cheese, bacon, and Pomodoro sauce. It also came with baby gourmet potatoes and a seasonal salad. She said it was delicious.

Chicken Parmigiana.

I selected the house specialty, Seafood Lasagna.  The menu description was prawns, scallops, salmon, and mussels in a béchamel sauce, served with a tomato and feta green salad.  That was one of the most delicious meals I have had in a long time.  It was very rich, but very tasty.  In the end, I believe Leslie wished she would have ordered the same.

Seafood Lasagna.

Following our meal, I drove up to Bluff Hill Lookout.  The lookout provides a commanding view of the Port of Napier.  We happened to show up just as a large container ship was coming into port.  From our vantage point, it seemed the required turns to get to the dock were very tight.  Regardless, with assistance from two tugboats, the ship was soon securely moored.  That was the first time I have ever seen a ship dock.

Nearly docked.

Also visible in the port were the thousands and thousands of logs awaiting export. One of New Zealand’s main exports is timber. From our distant vantage point, it is hard to get an idea of the size of the logs. However, when one is closer, it is interesting just how big the logs are. Most of the logs are about four meters (13 feet) in length and about one meter (three feet) in diameter. The stacks seem endless. Logs, wood, and wood articles are the third largest export from New Zealand, following the number one dairy products, and the number two meat products.

The next day we took an art deco tour of Napier. The town was rebuilt almost entirely as a result of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on February 1, 1931. That timing was smack in the middle of the architectural art deco movement. Because of that, most of the buildings in town date from the early 1930s. Having lived through a 7.8 magnitude earthquake ourselves, I can only imagine how destructive the quake was. The subsequent fire consumed those structures that were not destroyed by the earthquake. The fire lasted for a day and one-half.

Since there is so much art deco history in Napier, the city has held an annual art deco festival for many years. It occurs each year in February. Because of that, many of the local stores sell clothing and accessories that look like they came directly out of the 1920s and 1930s. Leslie and I even found one store that sold authentic period clothing, not remakes.

Our driver and tour guide was Phil. He works for the tour service, Hooters. The vehicle he brought for our tour was a turquoise 1924 Hupmobile. I was shocked when he told us the vehicle parts were manufactured in Detroit. I have never heard of that make of automobile. Phil said the parts were shipped to Australia for assembly.

Tour driver Phil standing next to the 1924 Hupmobile.

As with tours of this nature, one always finds out interesting tidbits.  One of the things we stopped to view is the millennium disc.  It is a sculpture that was made to line up with the position of the sun as it rose on January 1, 2000.  New Zealand was the first country to see the sun of the new millennium.

We also stopped at the fountain known as the Spirit of Napier.  It is intended to commemorate the rising of Napier from the ashes after the earthquake.

The Six Sisters are a row of six Victorian double-story villas.  They somehow survived the earthquake and the fire.  They were built by a man who wanted to provide a house to each of his six daughters.  They are in various states of repair, but they are nice to see.

The Millennium Disk sculpture.
The Spirit of Napier Fountain.
Detail of the Six Sisters.

One other very attractive building is the National Tobacco Company building. Apart from its art deco design, I was surprised by the adornment. On either side of the door are horizontal green lines. Phil asked us to guess what was the green material. We all thought it was a green tile. He said nope. It is greenstone! Greenstone is a type of jade found in New Zealand. I was stunned that some enterprising criminal had not chipped them out by now. Hopefully, that will never happen.
Phil pointed out one home to us that had what looked like a boat in the front yard. It is a deck. The owner had asked the council for permission to build a deck in his front yard. That was denied. Council said decks are not allowed. The owner did some research and found that decorative structures are permitted. So, he built a “boat” that functions as a deck. While we were there, he had it decorated for Christmas.
A few blocks from that home is the first house that was built in Napier. It is definitely a tiny house.

The National Tobacco Company building.
The “deck.”
The first house built in Napier.

After our tour, while we were still in the central business district, we went to the MTG Hawke’s Bay Museum. There was a fascinating exhibit about the 1931 earthquake. However, the most notable thing was running into Lorraine’s “twin.” The two ladies happened to notice each other in the lobby of the museum. They were both wearing the same top! What are the odds that two women would buy the same top in the United States and then meet in New Zealand? We should have used that luck and bought a lottery ticket instead!

The “twins” at the MTG Hawke’s Bay Museum.

Following the museum visit, we were hungry.  We stopped at The Rose Irish Pub.  While we were sitting waiting for our lunch, I noticed an antique pitcher on a shelf near our table.  The pitcher was an uncanny likeness to our 45th President…

In the central business district, there are some large specimens of the pohutukawa tree.  The trees are found throughout New Zealand.  They flower with distinctive red blossoms around Christmas time.  That is why they are known as the New Zealand Christmas tree.

An eerie likeness…
A pohutakawa tree. These are known as Christmas trees.

On our return trip to Wellington, we stopped at the Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka.  Since I was driving, we did not take a tour of the brewery.  Instead, we visited the gift shop, bought some Tui memorabilia, and then got back on the road.

A little more than two hours late,r we were back home.

Looking toward Cape Kidnappers.
The National Aquarium.
A tight turn for such a large ship.
Getting lined up. Note the thousands of logs at the port that are ready to be loaded on ships.
The moon setting over the Pacific Ocean.
A diver feeding the fish at the National Aquarium.
Swimming at the National Aquarium.
Cafination stop.
The sculpture is of a flower of the Kowhai tree, the unofficial flower of New Zealand.
As I was taking a photo of the MTG Hawke’s Bay Museum, this old car drove by.
An example of the clothing for sale.
The east wall of the MTG Hawke’s Bay Museum.
The dome on the old Temperance General Insurance building. It was completed in 1935.
Masonic Hotel.
Tile artwork along Emerson Street.
Christmas decorations on Emerson Street.
The birthday girl ready for dinner.
Our model for the birthday evening.
Driving toward the port.
The National Tobacco Company building.
The Ellison & Duncan building.
Driving by The County Hotel.
Driving through the CBD.
The Hotel Central building.
McGruer’s and Emerson buildings.
McGruer’s and Emerson buildings.
View of the Napier Soundshell.
Pohutakawa tree flowers.
On the beach at Napier.
The happy birthday celebrant!
The gang at the Bluff Hill Lookout.
At Te Mata Peak.

Christchurch – Everything is Going to be Alright

Christchurch – Everything is Going to be Alright

Christchurch, New Zealand – November 2, 2016

Everything is going to be alright…according to the sign on the Christchurch Art Gallery.  The neon phrase is 46 meters (151 feet) long.  One cannot miss it, particularly at night.  Unveiled in 2015 as part of the Christchurch Art Gallery reopening following the 2011 earthquake it is one of a series of neon work done by Martin Creed.

Say no more…

I was in Christchurch as part of a team preparing for the visit of Secretary of State John Kerry.  His ultimate destination was “the ice.”  He was to visit some of the facilities of the United States Antarctic Program (USAP).  The departure point for flights to the USAP McMurdo Station is a corner of the Christchurch International Airport.  The flights are on Boeing C-17 Globemaster operated by the United States Air Force.

To make sure everything was ready for his visit, the team went to the USAP offices and clothing distribution center.  Those are in buildings just across the street from the airport.  The clothing distribution center is essentially a large warehouse with all sorts of winter-weather gear.  The gear is checked out and fitted to those making the trip.  During the fitting, the travelers are given an in-depth briefing on the dangers of the Antarctic and how to deal with emergencies.

Entry to the USAP terminal.
The Clothing Distribution Center.
Poster delineating what must be worn or carried on all flights.
The various clothing items that may be issued for a trip to the “ice.”
A Boeing C17 Globemaster.
One of the airport support buildings.

Before going to the ice, the Secretary had several engagements in Christchurch. As soon as there was a decent weather-window, he and his entourage were off to the airport. It is about a five-hour flight. He was to spend at least one night there, depending on the weather at the Antarctic.
While he was gone, we spent time preparing for his return. In the off-hours, I wandered around the city, taking photographs.My restaurant of choice became The Rockpool. It is a sports bar/pool hall/restaurant. One day for lunch, I decided to have a Whitebait Butty sandwich. Whitebait is a small fish, about the size of a sardine. It is a favorite fish in New Zealand. I had wanted to try it, so I took the plunge.
The sandwich is made up of a whitebait fritter and two large, toasted, and buttered pieces of bread. The fritter is egg and the fish. I thought it was good enough; however, I do not know that I need to have another.
The Rockpool is where I had dinner with some of the team as we watched the results of the U. S. presidential race.  At many points during the meal, there were collective groans throughout the restaurant as it became apparent that Donald Trump would win the election.  The newspapers the next day demonstrated the frayed feelings of New Zealanders as it related to our new president.

The Rockpool Restaurant and Bar.
A Whitebait Butty sandwich.
The November 10, 2016 edition of the Dominion Post.
The November 10, 2016 edition of The Press.

Walking around town, one does not have to look hard to see the remnants of the February 22, 2011 earthquake. The scars from that 6.2 magnitude earthquake are everywhere in the central business district. One of the most notable, or at least the most visited, would have to be the Christchurch Cathedral. The western ¼ of the Cathedral is gone, lying in ruin on the ground. There are supports in place to keep other parts of the Cathedral from falling. Unfortunately, it is no longer a place of worship, but rather a home for pigeons. If anything, it presents an eerie, but a strong memorial to the 185 people who were killed that February afternoon.
The Cathedral Square area seems to be becoming more and more vibrant. There are several art installations and frequent visits from various food trucks. The Christchurch Tramway streetcars also have a stop at the square. That means people are always coming and going from the area.

Panorama of the damaged Christchurch Cathedral.
Flag Wall by Sara Hughes (2014) at Cathedral Square.
Chalice by Neil Dawson (2001) at Cathedral Square.
View of Planted Whare by Chris Heaphy at Cathedral Square. The word “whare” is Maori for the house.
Food trucks at Cathedral Square.

About four blocks east of the damaged Cathedral, one finds the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral.  That is the “replacement” worship space for the Anglican parish displaced by the earthquake.  Locally it is known as the “cardboard cathedral.”  That is because it is made substantially of cardboard.  It is most visible when one looks at the cylindrical forms used to support the roof.  They are quite literally forms, used when pouring concrete in the ground for footings or foundations.  It is a unique look.

The Christchurch Transitional Cathedral.
The Christchurch Transitional Cathedral.

Just a few blocks north of the Transitional Cathedral is the Firefighters Reserve, a memorial to firefighters worldwide. Its focal point is steel beams from the World Trade Center donated by the City of New York to the City of Christchurch. It is moving in its simplicity beside the Avon River.

A plaque at the Firefighters Reserve, a 9/11 Memorial. “A Tribute to Firefighters. This sculpture was designed by Graham Bennett. The steel, from the New York World Trade Center site, was gifted by the City of New York to the City of Christchurch to honor all firefighters worldwide. 26 October 2002.”
Detail of the 9/11 memorial.
Steel beams from the Twin Towers.

On one of my walks, I visited the Canterbury Museum. In 2016, Air New Zealand celebrated its 75th anniversary. To commemorate that, the museum had a special exhibit. I thought it was fascinating. As a collector-come-hoarder (some would say) I particularly liked the numerous old advertising posters. My favorite was of the plane taking off in the evening over Wellington.
There was a darker piece of the exhibit. That was the area dedicated to the tragic November 28, 1979, Antarctic flight. On that day, an Antarctic sightseeing flight from Auckland crashed on Mount Erebus. All 257 aboard were killed.

75th Anniversary sign.
A NAC plane flying over Wellington.
Memorabilia from an earlier Air New Zealand Antarctic sightseeing trip. About two and one-half years later, a sightseeing plane crashed, killing all 257 aboard.

Adjacent to the museum is the Botanical Gardens. At the entry-point, one encounters the Peacock Fountain. It is not named after the bird, but rather the man; John Thomas Peacock. Upon his death in 1905, he bequeathed a large amount of money to the Christchurch Beautifying Society. The Society used the money to install the fountain.
The 7.6 meters (25 feet) tall fountain is imposing. Erected in 1911, it was ultimately dismantled and placed in storage in 1949. Restoration efforts began in the 1980s. Very nearly half of the more than 300 pieces had to be recast. The rededication of the fountain in its current location was in 1996. It is indeed a sight worth seeing.
I found another fountain in the Gardens, the Regret Fountain. At roughly six meters (20 feet), it is not quite as tall as the Peacock Fountain, but it is impressive in its way. Sam Mahon is the fountain sculptor. The installation dates to 1997. That is a lever at the edge of the fountain beckoning people to push. When pushed, the fountain comes to life. I witnessed several people do that while I was there.

The Peacock Fountain at the Botanic Gardens.
The Regret Fountain.
Watching the Regret Fountain.
Trying out the Regret Fountain.

At the southeast corner of the park, at the end of a dirt path, is a Tudor-style house.  It is known as the Curators House and is now a restaurant.  I stopped by and noticed it was a Spanish restaurant.  That immediately put it on my list for that night’s dinner.

It was about a three-block walk from my hotel to the restaurant.  Once seated, I struck up a conversation with my server in Spanish.  She was surprised not only by me speaking Spanish, but Spanish with a Castillan accent.  That was fun to dust off my language skills.

The Curators House Restaurant.

For my starter, I had to have Patatas Bravas. Here it consisted of hand-cut potato wedges topped with spicy oven-roasted capsicum, tomato dressing, and aioli. That was one of my favorite tapas when we lived in Spain.
I followed that delicious tapa with Pescado a la Plancha (chargrilled fish). The menu described the dish as fish of the day with Canary Island style mojo verde, herbed vinaigrette, and sautéed seasonal vegetables. The fish of the day was an entire sole. It was easily the size of a dinner plate. I was not able to eat the whole serving, but what I had was so rich and delicious. I had zero room left for dessert. The walk back to the hotel helped settle my colossal meal.Later in the week, I stopped at the Christchurch Art Gallery. For such a small museum, they have an extraordinary collection. A couple of my favorites are the painting No! and the sculpture Survey #4. No! by Tony Fomison (1971) reminds me of the phrase, “talk to the hand.” Survey #4 by Peter Trevelyan (2013-2014) is impressive because the entire sculpture is made from 0.5mm mechanical pencil leads. I do not believe I could have come up with such an idea in a million years.
I also liked Portrait of O’Donnell Moffett by Rita Angus (c. 1939). I think what strikes me about that painting is the fact a copy of it appears on the wall of a building on New Regent Street. More about that soon.
On the exterior of the gallery, my two favorite pieces are Chapman’s Homer, a sculpture by Michael Parekowhai (2011).  I guess that is because the bull reminds me of Spain.  I also enjoyed the whimsical sculpture Quasi by Ronnie van Hout (2016).  Even though it is on the roof of the gallery, at five-meters (16 feet), it is easily seen from the ground.

Detail of No! by Tony Fomison (1971).
Detail of Survey #4 by Peter Trevelyan (2013-2014). It is a small sculpture made of 0.5mm mechanical pencil leads.
Detail of Portrait of O’Donnell Moffett by Rita Angus (c. 1939).
The sculpture Chapman’s Homer by Michael Parekowhai (2011).
Quasi sculpture.

About a block away from the gallery is The Arts Centre. The center is an extensive collection of neo-gothic style buildings dating from the early 20th Century. The buildings were severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake and had been undergoing painstaking restoration. The buildings were originally the University of Canterbury.

The Arts Centre building.
Stay by Sir Antony Gormley (2015).
Building on the grounds of the Arts Centre.
Detail of a stained glass window at the Arts Centre.

Maybe it is because there are a lot of buildings that no longer exist, leaving bare walls; but there is a lot of wall art in the central business district of Christchurch. They are each colorful and eye-catching in their way. One of those is the copy of the Rita Angus work on the north end of the buildings on New Regent Street. That area of two-story buildings dates to 1932. It is a genuinely colorful area of the CBD with many boutique shops and cafes. The pastel colors of the buildings repeat every fourth building. It can be a bustling area, especially when the streetcars pass along the pedestrian-friendly street.

New Regent Street looking south. Note the wall with the Portrait of O’Donnell Moffett. The original is at the Christchurch Art Gallery.
Wall art. This is on the west wall of the Isaac Theatre Royal on Gloucester Street.
Wall art detail.
Have you paid for your wall art? This was on the west wall of the abandoned building at 159 Hereford Street.
Wall art. The walls meeting in the corner is just an illusion. The wall is actually parallel to the camera.
Art on the west wall of 113 Worcester Street.

The Re:START mall is another unique feature of the post-earthquake CBD.  Since so many of the stores in the CBD were destroyed, the Re:START mall tried to pump life back into the area with stores in shipping containers.  That idea has helped keep the CBD shopping alive.  It is in a beautiful setting near the Bridge of Remembrance and the Avon River terrace seating.  There always seems to be an abundance of people in the area.

A portion of Re:START mall.
Champions mannequins are outdone by the reflection of mannequins in dresses.
The Re:START mall.
Avon River terraced seating.

One evening, even though it was raining, I went out for a photo walk. It was a little uncomfortable and challenging, but I think I got some excellent photos; mainly since I was working without a tripod.

The east side of the Bridge of Remembrance.
Quasi, a sculpture by Ronnie van Hout at the Christchurch Art Gallery.
The Worcester Boulevard bridge over the Avon River.
The Maori pouwhenua at the Christchurch City Council building. The inscription translates to the mooring post.
Koru.
A flock of Korus.
A silver fern.
Rose.
Kayakers.
Kayaks on the Avon River.
Punt boat on the Avon River.
The abandoned Harley building.
The building at 159 Oxford Terrace.
156 Oxford Terrace.
Waterwheel on the Avon River at the Hereford Street bridge.
A building being demolished across from the Cathedral.
Looking north on New Regent Street.
Building facades.
Bustling New Regent Street.
A streetcar turning onto New Regent Street.
Sidewalk cafe on New Regent Street.
A police car driving by the Cathedral.
Flag Wall.
Flag Wall and Cathedral Square.
The north wall of 156 Oxford Terrace.
A streetcar crossing the Avon River.
Detail of the Maori pouwhenua at the Christchurch City Council building.
The Firefighters Reserve.
Duck and eel.
Mamma and the babies.
Mamma and the babies II.
Mamma over the eels.
Avon River terraced seating.
Duck on the Avon.
The Avon River flowing by the Bridge of Remembrance.
The East side of the Bridge of Remembrance.
The east side of the Bridge of Remembrance.
Avon River as seen from the Manchester Street bridge.
Mural on the east wall of the UniMed building at 165 Gloucester Street.
Looking west toward the intersection of Hereford Street and Manchester Street.
The You Are Here Sign sculpture by Matt Akehurst (2011).
Side view of Quasi by Ronnie van Hout.
Detail of Chapman’s Homer.
Post-earthquake bracing.
Road Closed.
Street markings.
Sunning on the deck.
The Manchester Street bridge over the Avon River.
The Edmonds Clock Tower.
The Avon River from the Madras Street bridge.
Reflective Lullaby by Gregor Kregar (2013).
In the belly of the gnome.
The sculpture Bebop by Bill Culbert (2013) hangs over the main staircase at the Christchurch Art Gallery.
A streetcar along Worcester Boulevard.
NAC, the National Airways Corporation, was the forerunner to Air New Zealand.
A 1970’s Tahiti poster.
A TEAL poster with Maori designs.
A TEAL poster.
Travel posters from days gone by.
Entry to the Canterbury Museum.
Spring flowers.
The sculpture, Reasons for Voyaging by Graham Bennett (2007).
The back side of the elevator structure for the Christchurch Art Gallery parking garage.
Wreaths at the base of the Bridge of Remembrance.
View toward the west side of the Christchurch Cathedral.
The lobby of the Christchurch Art Gallery.
The sculpture Bebop by Bill Culbert (2013) hangs over the main staircase at the Christchurch Art Gallery.
Detail of In the Wizard’s Garden by George Dunlop Leslie (c. 1904).
Detail of La Lecture de la Bible by Henriette Browne (1857).
Detail of Soldiers in a Village by Joost Droochsloot (c. 1640).
Detail of Cottage Interior with Kitchen Maid artist unknown (c. 1660).
An abandoned building at the corner of Worcester Boulevard and Cambridge Terrace.
The Worcester Boulevard bridge over the Avon River.
Columns in front of the Christchurch Returned and Services’ Association. Gallipoli and Chunuk Bair are both sites in Turkey from WWI.
The wall of remembrance at the Christchurch Returned and Services’ Association.
Quasi, a sculpture by Ronnie van Hout at the Christchurch Art Gallery.
Directions and a bull on the piano.
Everything is going to be alright…
The Maori pouwhenua at the Christchurch City Council building.
The Worcester Boulevard bridge over the Avon River.
Hereford Street bridge over the Avon River.
The west side of the Bridge of Remembrance.
The office building housing the United States Antarctic Program.
Apparently, it is everywhere…