Sunday, June 23, 2013

Midwinter Carnival and King Tides

This weekend was the Winter Solstice, which marked the shortest day of the year.  In one respect I guess you could say winter is almost over!  Though, I've been told that down here in Dunedin winter goes well into September.  Regardless, it's a great thought that days will, from now on, be longer and not shorter!  To bring in the Winter Solstice, a southern storm was brewing down in the southern ocean and hit New Zealand like a ton of bricks this weekend.  It brought deep snow to most areas of the Central South Island, hurricane force winds in Wellington (up to 200km/hr - 125mph), and strong winds, hail and thunderstorms to much of the North Island.  Here in Dunedin it sleeted for 2-3 days.. which is a bit of a let down when they were predicting 30-50 cm (12 - 19 inches) of the fun white stuff!

In the midst of this southern storm, two exciting things were on the cards this weekend.  First up, Grand Dad was visiting us from Auckland!  Bodie (and Si and I) has missed Grand Dad b/c he used to live 7-8 houses up the road from us in Auckland and we saw him pretty regularly on the weekends.  The storm made it tricky for Grand Dad's arrival.  His flight was cancelled due to ice on the Dunedin runway, so he got on a flight through Christchurch that arrived in Dunedin later in the evening... only for the flight to Christchurch be delayed due to snow fall in Christchurch!  Luckily, the delay didn't cause him to miss his connecting flight and he arrived in Dunedin, a bit late and frazzled from the crowded airport (all flights to Wellington, Dunedin and ChCh were delayed/cancelled so the Auckland airport was a zoo!!)

The second exciting thing was the annual Dunedin Midwinter Carnival held in the Octogon every year.  This was one of the coolest things I have experienced in New Zealand!  This carnival is essentially a lantern parade, with a theme every year.  This year the theme was "Journey to Discovery".  The carnival works to support the employment of local artists and greater participation in the arts by the wider community.  They hold workshops each year for the community to go and make lanterns and then those who made the lanterns get to participate in the parade by carrying their lantern!  It was so cool!  There were big Wakas (Maori boats), Albatross, people on stilts with lit up costumes, people dancing in glowing paint, bands, dancers with flags and of course the local community who made lanterns at the workshops.  After the parade there was a fireworks display.  It felt like they were so close!  And it was a good display!  The best part of it, was it started at 530 and by 630 you were heading home!  So, absolutely perfect amount of time for those with small kids!  This is an event I highly recommend!  Next year we may even book into a workshop and make some lanterns! 



Down at St Clair there is an Esplanade that is situated right on the southern ocean.  They are infrastructure issues with it (a number of huge holes formed due to erosion), so half of it is closed to the public, but this weekend there was high seas due to the storm as well as a king tide.  So, the waves were crashing over the wall.  Simon took Grand Dad and Bodie down to look at the water.  It was a cool sight!  I understand the waves can get super high and were REALLY big on Friday (see video here:  This is a common occurrence so, there are some really cool pics on google images if you feel like browsing.

1 comment:

  1. That lantern festival looks splendid, I really like the ship. what did bodie like best? I hope you enjoyed having Gdad down there, Im sure he misses you all like mad xx