Huriawa Peninsula marks the southern end of the bay near which we live. The rock and clay that are the bones of this land are laid bare by wind and rain, and the lashing and pounding of sea.
I always have a sense of upheaval when I visit this place. The rock is tumbled, wrinkled, and twisted by huge forces. It is a work in progress, with the makers tools scattered around.
This is a place of rare beauty. It is a beauty that has great physicality, it is not just something that you look at and admire, it is a beauty that you get involved in.
Maori lived here, and Maori fought Maori. This peninsula was put to siege and held for six months. There is an interesting account of this written by James Cowan that Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, have put on line The Stealing of an Atua. - A Tradition of the Otago Coast. Later European whalers came here. They dragged the whales up against the shore and butchered them. In the 1830s this was a whaling station.
I imagine that most of the whales were hunted out of these waters, but in recent years whales have been seen in the bay.
We visited last Saturday. The sun was out and hung low in the sky, and the wind was cool and strong. Clouds trawled deep purple and grey shadows over the sea, and everything was in motion, waves, wheeling sea birds, tussock grasses, and the flicker of light reflected off water.
It is often said that the sea is a mirror of the sky, but here I think the sea is a mirror of the wind, making visible the invisible!
We had come to see a double hulled waka that was visiting Karitane. I had hoped that it would have been tied up in the estuary where it would have been closer, but it was some distance from us in the bay itself. Maybe the river current, high tide, and the strong wind was a problem and this mooring was judged to be more secure.
This waka is named Haunui, and Haunui has covered many thousands of nautical miles voyaging around the Pacific promoting waka knowledge. The waka (or vaka) is one of a fleet of 7 that have been made by a group of Pacific Islanders from many nations. It is likely that it has been more than 100 years since Karitane was last visited by a double hulled ocean going waka, so this is a rare sight indeed.
Pacific Voyagers Foundation have an interesting web site with photos, videos, and lots of information about the waka, and the purpose of the voyage.
Keeping crafts and traditions alive is something that potters are good at too! I think our craft also shares something deeper than just "how to make a cup in 7 easy steps", there is a mystery entered into when hands touch clay. A sense of being part of a long history, and of being a part of creation. A worker with clay makes something that may have a life of thousands of years..., it is quite a thought!
At the same time that the waka visited, the moon and Venus were making an attractive sight in the pre-dawn sky.
Armed with my cheap and cheerful camera, and some early morning enthusiasm, I attempted to take a photo of Venus, and a photo of the moon. I was astonished to see what appeared to be surface details on Venus, and even a strong suggestion of an atmosphere!
Some shaking as I pressed the shutter gave my photo of the moon extra drama! The moon looks like it is in the process of being devoured by the sun, rather than just lit up by it.
With newly kindled enthusiasm for taking photos of celestial bodies, I downloaded Stellarium, a really nice opensource planetarium that I think will run on most computer systems (mine is Linux). With Stellarium's help I confirmed that I had taken a photo of Venus, I originally thought I was looking at Jupiter!!! :), and I discovered that Mars and Saturn would be visible from our back door step at about 10pm that evening.
Well, Mars appeared exactly where Stellarium said it would, and I took a shot or two or three of it with my #@!~ hard to focus camera! (my evening temper was less accommodating than my morning one, and some bad words were said in the making of the following photo!)
Well, not only did Mars appear exactly where it was supposed to, but the photo that my camera took was almost exactly the same as the one it took of Venus! The "atmosphere" and surface details, were strikingly similar! Oh well, unless Mars and Venus are actually clones... I think most of what I was seeing were the defects of my camera lens, but it was fun anyway!
I have been bisque firing more pots, and also doing a little more glazing and firing. I have had a problem for the last few weeks in that I had a split thumb nail and infection beneath it. Antibiotics did not cure things, so about a quarter of the thumb nail had to be removed. Unfortunately infections have continued, and I am starting my second course of antibiotics after the nail removal (there were 2 more courses of antibiotics in the 3 months prior to the nail coming off.....). Needless to say, I cannot work with clay on the wheel at the moment, but I can still do a bit of glazing with gloves on. To be honest I am starting to get a bit frustrated with things! I got these teapots assembled the day before I had the surgery on the thumb.
Anyway, once I could cope with wearing gloves so I could do some glazing, I managed to get a commission finished. This was a bathroom washbasin, and it has now gone to its new home!
The porcelain washbasin measures about 13.5 inches diameter (340mm), and I made two of them so that I could be sure that one would turn out! They both did, so if we don't get a buyer for the second one soon, the basin will probably end up replacing an ancient cracked one that we have in our bathroom.
Goodness, long post! Congratulations if you have read this far! :)