The First of Many!


Wellington is the city where I have lived continuously for quite a number of years now, with one brief change when I went to Melbourne to fulfil a year’s IT contract.

Wellington is a city almost completely surrounded by water, the south coast, the inner harbour, the Kapiti coast and Makara. All these places are where people go to fish, swim, surf or just sit with friends and family on the sand or benches on the footpath. On a hot summer weekend these places are crowded with people. On cold winter weekend they are less crowded but still people are walking, cycling and fishing.

Being a harbour there are always ships or boats in the harbour either entering or leaving. When I am looking at ships or boats on the harbour I am reminded of the poem by John Masefield that I learnt as a child.

It began:

"I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky".

It then went on to talk about tall ships and stars to steer by. Not the best poetry in the world but when you are young and romantic there is a beautiful longing about the words.

On a more prosaic note and less full of romantic longing Wellington harbour is a little bereft of tall ships, but there a lots of yachts, 'pleasure craft' and an old tug boat anchored there.

A still calm night and a walk around the boat harbour with my camera becomes a surprisingly enjoyable photographic opportunity that presents “the lonely seas and the sky” with the lovely sweep of the glass wall of the Fryberg swimming pool as a back drop.

Yet on the very next day it can turn dramatically and be a wild windy wintry day by the sea that can be exhilarating not the least because it seems to clear the mind.

Others see it differently. Albert Camus is quoted as saying “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer”. This has many layers of meaning but for my purposes I believe he saw and felt summer even in the coldest depths of winter. The eternal optimist!

Winter has throughout history been a time of sleeping but in Wellington is a time of strong cold biting winds from the south and never ending rain. It is hard during all this to feel the ‘invincible summer’ within when “all the gutsy winds are raging” (Hesiod).