Friend Megg suggested a trip to Clarence, just north of the most recent major quake at Kaikoura where she assured us we would get a true kiwi welcome. …..

On the way south from Blenheim, the road people used to take to Christchurch prior to the quake, we passed the saltworks, only source of salt in NZ. Essentially the brine is dried in huge ‘pans’ or shallow huge boxes, for want of a better description. 

The crystalline salt is heaped up and then cleaned. 

Maybe working with salt affects brain or visual ability: why else would this building…..(in foreground)….

Need this sign? 

Otherwise an uneventful trip south other than the many roadworks along this coastal road. Scenery was stunning though,once we left the winery plains of Blenheim. We had mountains to the right of us and green ocean to the left throughout. 

Megg’s friend Lynda was a counsellor at a medical centre in Kaikoura. What used to be a short road trip to work became impossible once the quake struck just a year ago. However she continued to access Work by arranging to fly from a tiny strip locally, staying away from home for four days each time. 

Her other business- accommodation – was destroyed by the quake as there is no longer any through traffic. So she has had quake road workers to stay, at times, and now is ready to start with the accommodation business again. A year after the quake,and just as the road looks set to open again. 

Lynda seems to live in the garden of Eden. There are peach, plum, grapefruit, lemon, apple, pear and other trees. The garden is full of flowers – roses, jasmine, geraniums – which smell gorgeous. Her house is full of light and quirky items. She has a tremendous sense of humour. 

Then there are earthquakes: Lynda’s description of the quake, 7.6 on the Richter Scale I believe, and subsequent fear of tsunami was chilling. 

She showed us photos to demonstrate how the quake had changed the landscape, then with an English friend, looby, took us On a tour: 

These show how the river used to be on the far side of the valley, running along the bottom of the hill, and is now, after several interim changes running down the right side. The ‘island’ in the middle used to be attached to the fields on the right! This shows the extent the land has slipped/risen. 

The mouth of the river constantly changes shape/ location. 

Despite the signs at Blenheim,  50km away, people turn up at Clarence intending to carry onto Kaikoura. There is a road block. The staff work in pairs – 12 hour shifts. They are anticipating some issues in a couple of weeks when the road is open, but only for light vehicles, and only for restricted hours..   

The many road workers are housed in portacabins on the playground of the local school: 

Three individual units to each cabin – bed/bathroom/desk. Window. 

We had a great day – lunch then ‘earthquake tour’ and time at beach. Then ‘local’(wild) venison steak with potatoes and Home grown salad. And wine. 

And to end this perfect day, what nicer than a hot bath under the stars?

Topped off with ‘Home delivery’ of a glass of locally made fruit liquer, delivered to the bath by Lynda wearing Head torch. 

Keith had thoughtfully left the van lights on so we could find our way back. Unfortunately we followed the wrong lights for some time….  

tantrums: impossible in Eden. 

Endangered species: nil

New words: gark (l think it means land slip?); feijoa (a fruit)

Megg was right. We had a terrific time. 

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