Friday, April 25, 2014

Anzac Day 2014

The persistent rain didn't deter a large crowd from assembling in front of the war memorial for this year's Dawn Service. The guard of honour stood motionless as wreaths and poppies were laid at the foot of the memorial, followed by a prayer, a short address and the Last Post. Two schoolchildren read out histories of two Islanders that didn't return; James Robertson (who died in WWI) and Arthur Dennison Marshall (killed on active service in WWII).

No sunrise visible this year over the sea of umbrellas but at least the rain wasn't thundering down. I have always struggled to grasp what mankind hopes to achieve by wars and oppression but it wasn't until 2006, when I researched the 2nd NZEF, that I realised how difficult it must have been for returning soldiers to 'slot' back in to civilian life. And difficult, too, for their families in NZ rejoicing that the war was over but not understanding the moods and nightmares that were still raw in the minds of those that went away.

Lest we forget.

The guard of honour waiting for the service to start

Dawn Service Stewart Island 2014

Laying of wreaths

A large crowd - most with umbrellas

Service over - Anzac Day Stewart Island

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blog catch up - part 1

So much is happening here that my photos soon overtake my spare time for blogging! I've had a lovely relaxing Easter; I finished Neal Asher's Jupiter War book, upgraded the Visitor Centre PC from WinXP to Win8.1, gathered in most of the insect trap containers that a university student installed over the summer and pottered around home. We had a mix of weather (ranging from roaring easterlies to stunning sunshine), heaps of visitors to the island and not waking to an alarm for 5 days in a row was the bee's knees!

Enough talking, on with some photos!!

Progress on the stormwater drains 19 April 2014

The finished lean-to - I decided that it was safer without
a roof and have just tied a tarp over the heap

Spot the two birds - answer below

A beaut pop-up card from England - I managed to source some of the
same range from - see this link
I walked down to the Bay on Easter Saturday morning and wondered what the large crowd was doing down on the beach. Of course, I'd forgotten about the Big Dig but was just in time to snap the start...

Getting ready

Line up! Big kids nearest me, littlies have their own patch alongside

Go!! Good prizes for those that found pink tags

The easterly storm had washed up heaps of seaweed - great for the garden
I've collected all but two of the insect traps and will post their contents back to the uni student next week. The traps were spread around Oban so I could enjoy the sunshine and get some exercise at the same time. I'd been sent the GPS co-ordinates for the traps so it was a bit like geo-caching (link opens in new window) where you use a GPS to seek hidden treasures.

Insect trap - I unscrewed the collecting jar at
the bottom and emptied its contents into
a labelled container
I walked home as the sun set and was fascinated by the long shadows of the gravel on the road. I looked behind me and my shadow looked like a stick figure!

Gravel shadows

The tallest stick figure ever!! It stretched from one road
marker to the next, about 15m

Two birds in the bush - a korimako on the left and a tui on the right

Friday, April 18, 2014

Whalers' Base 90th Anniversary - part 2

On 5 April at 10am, the Golden Bay wharf was abuzz with people and boats as the trip to Whalers' Base got underway. A great network of volunteers ticked off their sheets and guided us to the right boat - I was on MV Wildfire, the first boat to leave.

The jetty at the Whalers' Base has long gone so I wondered how the day-trippers would get ashore. I was very surprised to discover a sturdy jetty and a huge picnic shelter at Millars Beach in Price's Inlet and from there it's only a short bush walk through to the Whalers' Base.

The snekke, Winnie, at Golden Bay wharf

Google map showing Millars Beach jetty (circle) and track to
Whalers' Base

Google map of Whalers' Base - can you see the slipway and the
workshop foundations?
I didn't check how long it took to get from Golden Bay to Millars Beach but I guess it was somewhere around 30 minutes. There was lots of excited chatter on board and a sample of interlocking walls from the Norwegian manager's house was being passed around - very similar to Lockwood though thicker and made of Norwegian spruce rather than pine.

Coming in to the jetty at Millars Beach

Millars Beach - getting the barbecue and food ashore

Millars Beach shelter - what a great place for lunch

Millars Beach shelter - I was expecting a small bus-stop type shelter, not
this huge one with two toilets out the back
It was all hands to the deck to carry the provisions off the rowboat and up to the shelter. The Stewart Island Lions manned the barbecue and more volunteers set out the tables laden with salads, coleslaw, sauces and buttered bread - man, did they go well with sausages, steak and seafood from the hotplate.

There was a bit of time before we left for the Whalers' Base so I went exploring around Millers Beach. It's largely private land with well-marked paths and surprises round the corner of man-made structures largely hidden by the bush.

Lovely ngahere behind the shelter

Boat shed extraordinaire

The leaning shed of Millars Beach

Ammunition store - Millars Beach
I've been trying to find out more information on the ammunition store but haven't come up with anything yet. Will show some more photos of it in my next blog. A Stuff article on Whalers' Base and Millars Beach is here (opens in new window).

Part of the crowd waiting for lunch

Millars Beach

left to right: Winnie, Aurora, Wildfire, Southern Isle at Millars Beach
Definitely a place I'll go back to - anyone care to join me?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Whalers' Base 90th Anniversary - part 1

The 90th anniversary of the Whalers' Base/Kaipipi Shipyard in Paterson Inlet took place at the beginning of April 2014 and was attended by around 200 people. The celebrations included displays, songs and dances by the Halfmoon Bay schoolchildren, a boat trip to Millers Beach and the Whalers' Base, dinners, Church services and open houses of the Norwegian houses that were relocated to Oban after the base closed down. I only went on the boat trip so will show you photos from that as well as some history to put it all in context.

The Norwegian link with Stewart Island started late 1923 after a successful application by the Rosshavet Company for a whaling licence in the Ross Sea area. To meet inspection and compliance requirements the boats over-wintered here, initially at Little Glory Cove and Bravo Island, before a more permanent repair base was started in 1927 at Price's Inlet and called Kaipipi Shipyard. The base was only fully functional in the winters of 1927 to 1931; there was no whaling in the 1931-32 summer and the fleet did not return to New Zealand in 1933. The base was dismantled and mostly cleared by August 1939.

Paterson Inlet showing the Kaipipi Shipyard/Whalers' Base

An excellent 90th Anniversary Souvenir book has been written by Jim Watt - 60 pages packed with old photos, information on the men that worked at the base, the boats that called in and the history behind the base. I'll seek permission to put some of his photos up on my blog as it's great to compare the old vs present day artefacts that can be seen at the base.

The L-shaped workshop foundations - 108' x 30' (east end) 50' (west end)

Workshop artefacts - the large concrete obelisk is the percussion drop
hammer stand

DOC display panel showing the workshop at bottom

Whalers' Base slipway. The old workshop boiler was abandoned beside
the slipway after a failed attempt to take it to Bluff in 1940

The boiler (left) and the beach

Ship propellers lying on the beach

The base of the winch house; the person in purple is standing
on the pulley base at the head of the slipway

The steps and foundations to the bunk house

The bunkhouse site. The bunkhouse was dismantled and reassembled
in Oban where it was used as the Presbyterian Church Hall until
2010 when it was sold and is now a private home

Rusting accumulator springs from the whaling boats

Two snekke (motorised launch), Winnie (left) and the white one (?Arvid)
moored by the boiler

Mussels have found a home on the rusting artefacts

DOC info panel for the manager's house

The front steps and foundations of the manager's house. This was a 6-room
house made from interlocking Norwegian spruce and assembled on site
in 1927. It was dismantled and re-assembled in Oban in 1942 and
is still in use today.

The tin hut foundation
A video with commentary by Jim Watt has been made for the occasion which has some delightful tales - I'll bring you some in a later blog.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Carpentry 101

The Outpost woodshed is full but I still have a pile of wood/kindling to get undercover. The dismantled hen house looks like it will do the job but I suffer from a lack of woodworking skills and confidence for starting something from scratch. There is space on the western side of the woodshed but that's also where the winds come from so it needs to be reasonably secure - and although I can bang nails in, I have no idea how to put a roof on that (a) will keep the rain out and (b) not become airborne in the first gust of wind!

Plan A: build a lean-to on the right hand side of the woodshed :)
My site prep consisted of levelling the ground and sorting out what parts of the hen house could be utilised. Not quite sure how I get the 'foundations' sorted but at least I have the side of the woodshed to nail into and an old pallet which can be the base for a while until it rots out.

These could be the sides
My initial plan for trying to follow the roof line of the woodshed came to grief with insufficient timber to brace the right hand side and an hour's hard work then took two hours to take down again. Plan B has a better feel and now I need to sort out the roof.

Plan B: better bracing for the entrance
I do have some roofing material but am worried that if it's not secured well enough then it will blow into the house so think I'll use a tarpaulin. I need to run some lengths of timber to support the tarp and then use some timber strips to sandwich the tarp and nail it in place. I'm only planning on putting kindling in the lean-to and not too concerned if it's not completely weather tight - maybe I'll leave it roof-less if I can't work out how to do it!!

We had a very successful Norsk Feiring last weekend and I took lots of photos on my boat trip up to Whalers Base - blogs to come shortly.