Friday 18 August 2023

Waiheke with Anna

Last week I spent five days on Waiheke with my friend Anna.  It was fantastic to have extended time together, especially in such a lovely location :-)

I was pretty nervous beforehand.  Normally when I go away with Martin, he carries well over half the luggage, as well as doing all the cooking.  This time, Anna and I split the cooking, and I needed to carry all my stuff.  Would I manage?!

I did :-)  With some careful thought, I came up with meals that I could do without too much stress; and, even though I decided to carry all my food from home (so I could rest when we arrived, rather than popping out to shop), I managed to fit everything in.

I had a pretty full daypack as well, but here's my main pack on the bus.  It was pretty heavy, and my shoulders were a bit tender for the next few days, but I managed :-)

At the nearest beach to our accommodation - Palm Beach

So many pohutukawa clinging to the rocks - and many of the banks of rock were in very distinct layers as this one is.

Some local kids had decorated the palings protecting this area of dune :-)

I was fascinated by the range of scenery we saw in a fairly small area.  Palm Beach had (mild) surf and the beach itself was fine white sand.  On the middle day, we caught the bus to Ōmiha/Rocky Bay - which very much lived up to its name!  I don't seem to have taken any pictures of the beach itself, but it was all large-ish pebbles in orangey and bluey colours, and there were craggy rocks at either end.

Isn't the sea a gorgeous colour?

I'd wondered about trying to walk around to the Poukaraka Flats campground where Martin and I have stayed a couple of times, but we quickly got to some very steep rocks that I couldn't see an easy way to pass.

Instead, we walked back to the sunny end of the beach for a picnic lunch :-)

We ate on the boat ramp below this structure.  Does anyone know what it is?  It had a hefty looking winch right at the base of the cliff, and what looked like a cradle for holding a boat, but if that's what it is then it's a cradle thaw would hold the boat was at a right angle to the water.  So presumably not something for getting boats in and out of the water - maybe something to do with repairing boats?

Such a gorgeous day!  This is just a wee bit back up from the beach.

It turned out Anna had previously walked to the Poukaraka Flats campground from somewhere she was fairly sure was near where we were.  A bit of poking around, and we found our way to a delightful walk through the bush around to the next beach.

There are no photos from that, simply because we were having far too much fun to stop for photos!  Anna and I got to know each other tramping together at university - and did quite a few tramps together before I went overseas and then got sick.  It was absolutely magic to be tramping together again, even for such a simple day walk :-)

The beach where we came out of the bush.  Another pebbly one, but quite different coloured pebbles from the first beach.

We then walked parallel to the beach, going through amazingly tall kānuka forest.

And eventually popped out at the 'far' end of the 'dotterel beach' I've visited when camping with Martin.  You can see lots of poles along the beach - they're supporting netting that keeps you out of an area where endangered dotterels nest.  And, below the grassy slope you can see on the hills (which is actually a vineyard - this is Waiheke, after all!), is the Poukaraka Flats campground!  It was probably about an hour of very leisurely walking to go from the bus stop to here.

A grassy spot a bit back from the beach where I lay down for a rest.

So good to spend time together :-)
That was the main outing we did - otherwise we mostly hung around the bach we were staying at.  I rested a lot, Anna got through a bunch of homework for a course she's doing, and we chatted :-)

Waiheke's all pretty steep - it reminded me a lot of around where our friend Beth lived in Aro Valley in Wellington, although no one on Waiheke appears to have an actual cable car to their house.  There were, however, plenty of wooden platforms to make flat spaces for car parks - and, just down from where we were staying, I was amused to see a similar platform for a couple of rubbish bins :-)

And this is the view from the deck of the place where we were staying. Great for the birds - we saw zillions - but so steep!

The place where we were staying had lots of well-filled bookshelves.  On the second-to-last day, I was startled to suddenly notice something immensely familiar: Cup and Saucer Chemistry!!!

I grew up with this book, but my parents' copy has long since disappeared - presumably passed on to another family when Keith and I outgrew it.  It was a pretty big part of my early childhood, full of experiments you can do with everyday household items.  It was neat to see it again.

It was interesting reading it as an adult, and noticing how well it not only encourages kids to observe scientific phenomena, but also teaches scientific thinking.

I was also surprised how little I recognised of the book itself.  Many of the experiments were familiar, but I think I mostly did them when I was too young to read (or read well), so my dad was the one who mostly dealt with the actual book.

I was a bit surprised to find experiments using phenolphthalein, though, in a book where you're supposed to be able to do everything with normal household items.

It turns out the phenolphthalein's a laxative, which was certainly news to me!  I only know it as a reagent.  However, the FDA banned it for over the counter sale in the US back in 1999, due to concerns about cancer risks, so it's presumably not found in many houses these days.

All in all a delightful break :-)

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