life on a south pacific island

the biggest surprise for me about our move to nz has been how much i enjoy living on the coast and spending time at the shore.

i’ve never been a big ocean person before despite living over 20 years in boston. and i still have no interest in going to the beach to lie down on a blanket and get a tan – but most of the nz coastline is too rugged for that anyway and is great to walk along. the rock and tides make it a new experience every time. and something that i can’t explain is that if i didn’t know better i would swear that that water was fresh and not saltwater. previously i always felt sticky and gritty as soon as i got out of the water – but not here.

just a few blocks from our house is island bay with the local fishing fleet. island bay is one of the oldest settlements in wellington and founded by italian fishermen. unfortunately there’s not much evidence of the italian culture left in town (i’m trying my part to reverse this with my italian scooter). you can see in the 2 photos below the island bay shoreline is a mix of clear and rocky areas. during the warm weekends there is always a group of local kids swimming and having a great time in the surf.

gromit has become quite the ocean dog – scrambling over the rocks and wading through the surf. his favourite activity is fetching the tennis ball that we throw just a few feet into the surf. what amazing me is how he immediately knew how to time waves and that if he waited the ball would come to him. in the gromit-has-his-long-list-of-issues camp, after we’ve had our fun at the beach and everyone is quite wet, gromit totally cowers in fear of getting rinsed off with the hose. running in the ocean, timing the crashing waves, scrambling over rocks – no problem. a bit of water from a garden hose – no way.

a bit to the west is siren rocks – a very popular place for snorking and kayacking. we take our beach chairs and hang out whenever the weather is good. gromit is on high alert when i’m out snorking.

Notice the Cook Straight Ferry (the Interislander) passing in the background of the third photo.

the map below shows island bay. near the top of the bay you can see the fishing fleet and counter-clockwise around the bend the pier and then the first rocky bit of our shore. further down where the shoreline bends to the left is siren rocks. the island right off shore is taputeranga. it is the small island visible some of our shoreline photos and movies.

the hills in the distance of many of our photos is another part of the lower north island – on the right in the map below.

i’ve added some mini-movies of our times at the shore. Click to play.

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