She may have been downgraded by the weather people, but Cyclone Gita still packed a punch. To prepare for her arrival on Tuesday we moved from the Golden Bay area to Marchwood Park camp in Motueka. and hunkered down. The heavy rain arrived on Tuesday morning, noisily beating down on the caravan roof. The puddles started to join up into a rather large lake outside our van, across the roadway, and across the camping area to the side of us. Then the winds arrived, sudden gusts kept shaking the van, and I for one was certainly worried what the night would hold. We cooked and ate the evening meal, watched the TV news, seeing the devastation which Gita had brought to some areas of the country. Eventually as the evening drew on, the wind started to die down a bit, perhaps Gita was moving on?
Heavy rain all day
During our day tucked up inside the van we checked the news and weather reports on TV, read some blogs, flicked through a magazine, and I did a bit more on my stitching. My bits and pieces are tucked away in my sewing pouch. I diligently stitched on for a while, but I must admit it was hard to settle with worrying about the storm.
The following day we woke to sunshine and counted our blessings. The lake of water had drained away, none of the large trees on site came crashing down around us, and the the strong winds hadn’t toppled any vans. We had certainly escaped the worst of the weather. But the news was grim – Ex Cyclone Gita had caused chaos across central New Zealand – roads closed, flights grounded and a state of emergency has been declared in Christchurch, Buller, Westland, Selwyn, Tasman, Taranaki, and Grey District.
We very fortunate to have made the return journey from Golden Bay over the Takaka Hill in Monday, as it is now impassable, the road badly damaged and closed with 16 slips. Helicopter footage showed the Takaka Hill road cluttered with mud, debris and fallen trees. The damage will take several days to clear. Food supplies for Golden Bay's 5000 locals and 1000 stranded tourists will be delivered by sea tomorrow.
One of the many slips on the Takaka Hill
On a lighter note – let me tell you a family story. This town has a historical connection to the maternal side of my family. A young man on the Green side of the family jumped ship at Motueka and supposedly hid under the voluminous skirts of the publican’s wife while the search was on for the absconder. Once the ship had set sail he was free to start a new life in the colonies and did quite well for himself in business, married and had quite a large number of children. There is even a local street named after him. And how about this blast from the past - this is a photo from our previous visit here six years ago when we tracked down my “family street sign”. Do I look six years younger?
My “family” street sign, named for an early relative