Monday, April 4, 2011
LUNCH IN WHITIANGA
Last week John and I reached a mini milestone To be precise March 30th was our 48th Wedding Anniversary. How on earth did that happen? I can't say it feels like yesterday, there's too much living, a lot of joy and some grief for that to be possible. Even so the years have kind of crept up on us
We don't usually make a big deal of anniversaries and this one was no different but we did make it an excuse for a leisurely lunch. Wednesday was our designated shopping day this week so we chose one of the Cafes near the wharf. The day was pleasant enough to eat outside and we were pleased to find a table with warm sun filtered through the green leaves of an overhanging tree. John ordered a hamburger. It was huge and filled to the brim with healthy salad and trimmings with lovely fresh fries on the side. It looked delicious he didn't leave a morsel. My meal was a tasty but a not quite satisfying beef hotpot with s tiny side salad. We completed our meal by ordering cappuccinos and dessert. We both chose affogato, vanilla bean icecream with a hot double shot of espresso to pour over, drowning the icecream. Talk about a caffeine hit.
After lunch John wanted to get his hair cut. I decided to sit and wait in the sun. It wasn't long before I realised I needed our camera. I enjoyed the short walk back to the car. The time flew by while I watched boats swing on their moorings, seagulls squabble, and passengers embarking and disembarking from the ferry. There really should be a bridge but the population is just too small warrant the cost. Instead a small passenger ferry plies back and forth. People who live or work on the otherside often keep a car both sides of the estuary. Our daughter is one of those people. She begins her work day on the other side so she parks her car and catches ferry. On the otherside she collects the work car from the carpark where it has been left the previous night by another nurse. The two nurses job share, working different days. They are on call one weekend a month because they share weekends with the nurses from Whangamata, the next town south.
John returned looking somewhat shorn and we wandered over to the wharf intrigued by the collection of masts standing tall above the wharf. It was a few minutes before the penny dropped. These yachts were part of a flotilla on their way to Gisborne to protest against off shore testing for oil.
In June last year our Government announced it had made an agreement with international giant Petrobras to test for oil off the East Coast of New Zealand. The Brazilian company is the first exploration company to be awarded a permit to test the Raukumara Basin off East Cape. They have been awarded a five year permit to explore this area which was identified by Crown Minerals as having large reservoirs. Yesterday the Orient Explorer, a Petrobas ship left Tauranga harbour heading for East Cape, where it will begin seismic testing to explore the ocean for oil sediments.
Greenpeace and local Iwi, (Maori), have joined forces to protect our waters from this oil exploration. I'm no researcher so I only find what is there for all to see. The little I did find is either hilarious or extremely disturbing. I found this website today. It is subtitled Revolutionary Colonialism and Anti Capitalism in the Pacific. Apparently the call went out from Greenpeace for the protest ships to gather. While I have reservations about the wisdom of deep sea oil drilling I do not believe aggressive protest is the answer. Perhaps I'm a hypocrite. I am happy to keep New Zealand nuclear free and without deep sea oil drilling but I don't have much time for protesters. Maybe there's a place for them but don't ask me to join them.
The oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico almost a year ago, should make us very cautious. My confidence has not been improved by the decision not to install a tsunamograph because the cost is too great. This fairly sophisticated device, which helps in the forewarning of Tsunamis not only costs lot install but is high maintenance. We are a tiny island nation with limited resources. But this seems an extremely shortsighted decision especially when you consider it in the light of our vulnerability to earthquakes and Tsunami. It seems pretty stupid to risk spoiling the clean green image for which we are known around the world.
Politics aside the yachts made a pretty picture.
We ended our day by having a roast chicken dinner with Mum and our daughter. The cats, Lexie and Katie are fine and decorative too.