Blue, smudgy early morning light in Wells Beach, Maine. The grey clapboard houses standing shoulder to shoulder crowded the beach. So alien to my eyes, used to the South Pacific’s clear, sharp colours. I wandered down the hard sand and dabbled my feet in the cold crispness of the Atlantic Ocean. Hours later, late afternoon, in bold, brash, noisy Los Angeles. I took a taxi to Santa Monica, wandered down the soft sand by the pier and paddled in the warm Pacific. My ocean, but still not my home. One day, two great oceans.
12am. Woke up as my bed slid backwards and forwards across the floor. Looked across the motel room at Julie sitting bolt upright in her bed. Said to her “Is this an earthquake?” No reply. Suddenly everything began to groan, crack and bang; cupboard doors crashed open and shut, open and shut. The beds kept sliding then juddered as they bounced up and down. The land roared. Eventually Julie said “Is it supposed to last this long?” Slowly the movement stopped and absolute silence reigned. On reflection, a 7.8 was an overwhelming introduction to my first earthquake.
After a few weeks in the dryness of the Australian desert, Innot Hot Springs was an oasis, promising a chance to soak our weary bones. My sister and I soaked in the motel’s hot outdoor pool under a cascade of stars, chatting to the only other guests, an Australian couple. Hearing we were from New Zealand, they said they only knew one person in New Zealand, in Dunedin, almost as far away from our home as it was possible to get. We only knew one person in Dunedin. Chatted further. Their friend was our friend’s brother. Strange, but true!
I live in the spectacular far north of New Zealand surrounded by the beautiful South Pacific Ocean. My family have lived here since the earliest days of settlement in New Zealand. I love to travel and have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to many corners of our wonderful planet. However, my heart always draws me back to the South Pacific. I have chronicled my trips through scrapbooking and journal writing so my memories are always with me.