Sunday with Damien (25th January 2009)

Caught up with Damien for brunch today and tried our luck at Carribbean Cafe - we have been meaning to check out this cafe but it was closed the last time we headed over. You wouldn't believe our luck - it was closed again!! Urgh!!! Should really have rung them up before walking 4 blocks to the place. Thankfully the weather was so nice and warm - it didn't bother me that the walk was a bit of a wasted effort :)

We ended up heading to Island Bay for brunch at The Bach Cafe. Another first for me! It was a nice cafe located on the main road facing the ocean and boy was it busy. We were fortunate to get an outdoor seat under a bit of shade - nice food, nice company and gorgeous views. Except for the fact there were mosquitoes or sandflies biting me!! Get away from me!!!

After brunch, we walked across the street to check out the rock pools. I didn't know that this area was the Taputeranga Marine Reserve, a spot in Wellington I've not scuba dived in yet and would like to when the water gets warmer (does the water in Wellington shores get warmer?). Wow, the water was so clear and beckoning me to take a dip. Ok, maybe just one toe...eeks, cold! The water temperature was probably about 17-18 degrees Celsius - still need a wetsuit to swim in such temperatures. Saw several divers and snorkellers about. Hmm, wonder what sort of marine life exists here?

Damien managed to convince me to walk out to the tip of a rocky path, so narrow that a slip would guarantee a dip into the rock pools on either side. This is CRAZY! But I did it anyway with fear I may slip on my flip-flops and grabbing onto the rock formations or Damien's arm for support. Argh!

Stop laughing at me Damien! He found it most amusing seeing me get my footing and trying to regain my balance every time the wind blew :P He nearly lost his jandals that he left on one of the rocks (the tide was rising and getting closer and closer to his jandals)! Hahaha, I had to laugh when I watched him rush his way to grab the jandal that nearly floated out of his reach! Photos taken at the rock pools:

F%$k! Why are all these bugs still attacking me??! Make sure you put on insect repellant if you ever come by this area. The bites itches like crazy!

We had to make the most of the sunny day so decided to take a walk along the Eastern Walkway along the southern end of the Miramar Peninsula. But before we headed over, a stop for ice-cream by the beach :)

Ok, maybe THAT wasn't such a clever idea...we couldn't actually walk on the beach to have our ice-creams because it was so windy and tried to shield the ice-cream from the sand flying everywhere. I could taste the fine black sand in my cookies 'n' cream ice-cream (couldn't really make out if it was the cookies or extra sprinkle of sand). Hmm, gritty...

Saw lots of people heading towards a shed nearby so decided to see what the commotion was about. Turned out 'the shed' was actually the Island Bay Marine Education Centre. I've heard of this place but never been able to make it to their monthly open day. We so happen to stumble in on this month's open day! Awesome :) Here, visitors can get up close and personal with some marine creatures - there were several displays in the Bait House and knowledgeable staff answering any questions you may have of marine animals, plus a touch pool where you could gently stroke and feel the textures of starfish, mussels, sea slugs etc. Better still, entry was by donation. You should come by to check out this place if you haven't. Kids would love it!

We continued on with the plan to walk the Eastern Walkway track which takes approximately 1.5 hours. Seriously, are you sure I'll be fine walking the track in flip-flops??? Damien assured me that it would be fine. Ok...It was a beautiful walk, with shade from the canopy of pine trees in some parts and a spectacular view of the Wellington coastline. We could literally see through the water from where we were standing (damn, it would have been a perfect day to go snorkelling/diving). Photos taken along our hike up:

At the highest point of the walk lies the Ataturk Memorial, a memorial that commemorates Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, defender of Gallipoli and first president of modern Turkey. A nice picnic spot but we weren't prepared for one so just chilled out, chit-chatted and got some sun before making our way back to the car.

Thanks for another wonderful day out, Damien! Got dropped off home by 5.30pm and was feeling absolutely exhausted. Wondered if it was because of the sun. Hmm...Tried to sleep but ended up calling family back home in Malaysia as it was Chinese New Year eve (gee, I've totally forgotten about the celebrations given I've missed 6 of them since living here). It was so nice to chat with my grandparents, mum and dad, aunts, uncles and cousins. Always brings tears when I talk to my family - oh, I so wish I was home for the celebrations! Next year, I HAVE to make it back home for Chinese New Year.


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