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Posts Tagged ‘Gannets’

Stevie went for a swim again this morning which was very successful.  Another 1km in blocks of 200m this time When he came back we decided to go and investigate another beach and we plumped for Muriwai (which is so close to sounding like Miramar that it gave me an excuse to prattle on in Top Gun lingo for hours).

Muriwai (pronounced Mur-i-why) is a beach and National Park on the West coast. Because it is on the West Coast, the sand is black, and it is a mecca for surf dudes. It is also home to a load of gannets (not just hungry Emily’s and Lucy’s but proper feathered types) and lots of para-gliders.

So we packed a scrummy picnic including Stevie’s homemade breadsticks and my homemade brownies, and jumped in the car for an exhausting 45 min drive! We are still ridiculously excited about being able to get to places so quickly here.

There were quite a few people at Muriwai today, by New Zealand standards. Not only are kids on 2 weeks holiday at the moment but the sun had his hat on and the surf was up “dude .” We had our picnic on the grass before throwing our shoes in the boot and strolling along the beach barefoot. Muriwai is a pretty dangerous beach. Swimming is not recommended as there are some significant rip tides apparently. You could see by the way the waves were coming in that it was a bit feisty and the sound of the crashing was immense, particularly under the cliffs where the blowhole was. There was also a load of green gunk floating around which we guessed was some kind of algae, but it didn’t seem to bother the surf dudes. I can comfortably say that we will not be kayaking in the sea for a few more weeks (certainly not without wetsuits) as the paddle-o-meter was reading “ooo it’s a bit nippy”. Anyway, we watched the surfers for a while, and the para-gliders, paddled, made running courses for Em on the sand etc and managed to find a new thing for her to get hung up on. This time it was the holes on the beach, probably from the evil sandflies. Anyway, she got obsessed by them and we heard about little else for 20 mins.

After running about on the beach dodging sandfly holes we put our shoes back on and made our way up the cliffs to the gannet colony. There were more birds than you could shake a stick at: all looking perfect and airbrushed, except for one which Em decided must have “not been paying attention and flown into a rock” because he had blood on him and was looking all grumpy with his beak tucked under his wing.

When the kids were equally grumpy we walked back down to the beach and took Lucy for a walk on the sand. She appears to like the feeling of sand beneath her toes and managed to avoid eating any. It was deeply moving with Steve and I holding a hand each helping our youngest navigate her way along the beach. It felt like she had come of age. Bit strange really as Emily did all this walking malarkey at the local shopping centre in York….. They are already having very different childhoods.

We eventually peeled ourselves away and headed home. I went for another really satisfying run and we all had showers to get rid of that cheeky black sand. After dinner Em announced with a yawn that is was time to go and “pat the sack” which I’m still chuckling about three hours later. Anyway, I must also go and pat the sack as the clocks changed last night and we lost an hour. So we are now 12 hrs ahead of the UK.

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