18 PICTURE ALBUM
Sunday, January 18
Steve: RAIN! Today the rains finally came. We've been
told about how it rains here 3 days out of every 7, and so far hadn't seen
any at all - so we were due. The rain started at 2:00AM and continued non-stop
all day long. This wasn't just any rain - this was a "rain forest"
rain. It came down hard, with a strong wind that often blew it horizontally.
Over 2 inches had fallen between 9:00AM
and 2:00PM, and the river that runs beside the lodge had visibly risen up
its banks. With its strong current, it was hard to believe that this was the
same lazy river that we had kayaked on so easily yesterday.
We had hoped to take a guided seacoast walk that ended at a seal colony,
but the trip was cancelled because of the weather. Normally the hikes move
ahead even in rain, but today's high winds created unsafe conditions along
the beach. So
we spent the day in the comfort of the lounge at Moeraki
Lodge reading, studying, and catching
up on our journals (we were 2 days behind!). Katie is nearly finished with
Angels and Demons (by Dan Brown,
author of The Da Vinci Code), and it's usually a fight to get her to put the
book down. David finished The Changeover, a novel that takes place in New
Zealand. He claimed to not like it, but wanted to finish quickly so that he'd
be ready for Katie's book when she's finished. We also spent time studying
more about New Zealand and its geology, wildlife and history.
Tomorrow we plan on driving to Wanaka, but may spend some of the early part
of the day here at Lake Moeraki (depending on the weather).
David's Daily Dump: New Zealand Weather. The weather patterns in New
Zealand are both intricate and amazing. Weather varies significantly from
the North and South Islands, and even from the east and west coasts of the
South Island! Today we learned about the normal weather patterns of the South
Island. I learned that the west coast is extremely wet, while the eastern
coast is very dry and arid. This is because of the chain of mountains that
splits the South Island in two. As the winds approach the island from the
west, they are forced upward by the Alps, where it is very cold. The air is
then unable to hold its moisture, and releases it on the west coast and mountains.
As the clouds move eastward, not only do they lose all their moisture, but
they are also carried off by the strong winds, leaving the east coast scorched
and extremely arid. These huge rain and wind storms are called Nor'westers,
and are similar to the Nor'easters that we have in New England. Kiwis (New
Zealanders) describe the difference between the two coasts to be like "stepping
into another world." Observing the magnificent rain fall today was wonderful.
I loved watching the river slowly rising to within 20 feet of the lodge, and
taking hikes to discover that the footbridge to get to the start of the hike
has been washed away be the river. Although we didn't get to see the seals,
I did enjoy experiencing "real rain."