Monday 27th April, 2009

Ship photograph

Visitor Information Centre in Bounty Park

Drop Cap glorious day awaited us as we woke, fairly late, and had breakfast and showers. We drove into Burnt Pine shopping centre and picked up a few basic breakfast things at the Supermarket - food is a horrendous price due to everything having to be imported, but you have no choice.

Then, after taking it back and fridging it we drove in again and went to the Tourist Information Centre which is located in the Bounty Bicentennial Centre. We booked a couple of tours and nights out.

Township photograph

Kingston from QE Lookout

Drop Cap ur included half day tour started at 13:00 so, after exploring around the shops for a while we rocked up to the Loading Zone. We had a really lovely tour, taking in Kingston, the historic convict settlement area where there are lots of Georgian buildings dating from the Convict era and still lovely.

Many have been restored and are used for Government offices, housing for government employed temporary workers like teachers, doctors etc. What a place to live and what a setting, on the best beach on the island! We are going for a whole afternoon in the Convict Settlement on Friday so will get an in depth idea of it all then.

Island photograph

Nepean Island from Kingston

Drop Cap e saw the two piers where the supply ship unloads onto lighters to bring the freight ashore, even the bus was brought off by lighter, two of them roped together. There is a ship due in this week, it might be interesting to see.

Drop Cap e had afternoon tea and scones at an old island home and wandered around its lush garden. There were bananas, an enormous avocado tree dropping all over and lots of citrus, mulberries, mangoes etc. And Kentia Palms, which used to be a cash crop.

St. Barnabas church photograph

St.Barnabas C of E

Drop Cap oving along, our driver, Max, took us to see St.Barnabas' C of E. This was built by the Melanesian Mission to train young islanders from the Solomons and elsewhere in religion and civilisation generally. The church was built at the centre of the training college and is absolutely gorgeous. It has stained glass sanctuary windows by Burne-Jones and another lovely rose window. The ceiling is fabulous, built in Norfolk Pine to resemble an upturned ship. The pews are NZ kauri with carved insets of mother of pearl on the ends. It is quite lovely. There is a separate belltower outside.

It was a very enjoyable tour.

Drop Cap e came home, booked a restaurant (Annabelle's in the Colonial Hotel) for dinner and now Mac is snoozing while I am sitting on the deck as the sun goes down, looking over the valley towards the sea, of which I can see a wedge, all fringed with spiky Norfolk Pines. It is starting to get cool so I guess I will go inside until we get ready to go to dinner. A lovely, clear and sunny day - long may it continue!

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Tuesday 28th April, 2009

Drop Cap nother lovely day! Although a little cloudy at dawn and clouding over once or twice during the morning, the afternoon was just glorious!

Drop Cap irst we headed into town to post some cards, then went off around the coast towards Captain Cook's Monument. Bookie saw us going up the path with the picnic basket he thoughtfully includes with the cottage, and told us that Captain Cook's Monument was the best picnic place on the island. We had already intended to go there and we weren't really planning a picnic, we just had a bottle of Fanta and some potato crisps but we let him think we were going on a picnic.

Drop Cap ur route took us via Puppy's Point, where they hold the famous "fish frys" at sunset, and Anson Point where we saw some sea kayaks by the cliff. Then we saw a sign for the Cottage Pottery, one of the members of the "Art Trail", so we called in. Mac was immediately taken by a black cat lounging in the sun on the steps and stopped to pat it. We went into the display studio and I was amazed at the quality of the work. They had gorgeous lustred porcelain in lovely glowing colours as well as all kinds of stoneware, very good; even some figurines, one of which was labelled "Wizzard". The couple who do the work, Steve and Alison Ryves are extremely talented, Alison also paints on silk, makes fabulous glass and ceramic jewellery and designs fabrics.
What I also appreciated was that they left us alone, not hounding us to buy. In fact, I had to stop Steve's work to ask him to sell me a little green glazed lustre pot and a T-shirt in Alison's Turtle pattern for Geoff.

View photograph

View from Captain Cook's Monument

Drop Cap hen we headed up to the National Park, a lovely rain-forested area with huge trees. There were several walks but we just drove up to the monument on the cliff. The scenery was wild and the sea turquoise. It was quite beautiful. We walked downhill to a decked area on the cliff edge, where we saw the place Captain Cook had landed and some lovely off shore rocks and stacks with the blue-green sea creaming over them. Some of the stacks had holes in them, worn by the water. Then we toiled back up to the car.

Rosemary photograph

Rosemary at Captain Cook's Monument

Unloading photograph

Unloading the Lighter at Kingston

Drop Cap e had a cold drink and some crisps and then headed off for Kingston, where we had the luck to see the island freighter unloading its cargo onto lighters which brought it in to Kingston pier.

Judging by the crowd of rubberneckers it is quite a tourist attraction. The freight system on Norfolk is unique. Everything has to be imported so the freighter comes in about once a month. There is no harbour so the ship has to moor offshore and the local men come out in lighters, which are large whaleboats with a long sweep oar at the stern, towed by motor boats. The ship unloads everything on pallets in nets and the lighters are unloaded by cranes on the pier. Even major items like buses and trucks are brought in by lighter, if necessary they rope two together.

Beach photograph

Beautiful Emily Bay Beach

Drop Cap e had a sandwich at the REO cafe (in the former Royal Engineers' Office) then moved on to Emily Bay for the day's major highlight. We went out in a glass bottomed boat captained by one John Christian to see the coral reef. This was a real treat, he gave us extra time and was obviously enjoying it as much as we were. The boat was full and he had a great line of chat. The reef was not very colourful because the summer is over and the water is getting cool. But there were lots of fish, sea urchins and a green algae called "dead man's fingers" or "poor man's caviare".

Reef photograph

Coral Reef from the Glass Bottomed Boat

Captain photograph

Captain Christian and the local Wildlife

Drop Cap aptain Christian stepped out on to the solid part of the reef and picked some which he handed out. It was not unpleasant, sort of salty jelly in little balls. He also picked up a peculiar and repellent looking sea slug which was stranded on the rocks and put it back in the water after telling us how to cook it!

It was a really great afternoon. On our way home from Annabelle's Restaurant last night it seemed to be gently raining but it is still fine and warm.

Drop Cap n our way home we checked out another restaurant called "Dino's" and have made a reservation for tonight. I just hope and pray the weather holds.

Drop Cap ino's was great. The food was marvellous, I just wish we could eat more. We both chose roast rosemary and garlic lamb rump, sliced thinly for us, melting in the mouth, with delicious roast mushrooms, potato and kumera. It came with a large salad, deliciously dressed with pinenuts. I would have liked the starter of sourdough bread with different dips, or the chocolate fondue dessert but we were really full. Delicious though. The stars tonight were brilliant and seemed very close, with just a sliver of new moon. Lovely!

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