Trans-Tasman kayak

This is Scott Donaldson's kayak, the kayak that almost made it from Coffs Harbour, Australia to Taranaki, New Zealand last month.

For some reason it was sitting out on the footpath, in downtown Auckland this morning, so I figured I better draw it before it disappears. Well 15 minutes into my sketch, Scott himself wanders up and starts hooking to the back of a ute to take away.

Some quick sketching ensued including a poor attempt at a portrait before he drives off on his way to Avondale for a school visit. The kayak looks tiny, a lot like a regular surf ski but with a bubble on top with a hatch. You would have to be pretty keen to kayak 2,000+ kms across the Tasman in one of these. Sounds like he almost stopped at the beginning with a few false starts with gear breakages and backtracking to Coffs Harbour. At some stage the rudder broke, then, when very close to New Zealand a storm blew him back towards Australia! After 6 days battling the storm with no rudder he was choppered off, leaving the kayak behind. Last week it washed up onto a beach in Taranaki covered in barnacles.


Motorway chaos at Waterview Interchange

Hard to believe this shambles is going to be the new Waterview Interchange. It is at least entertaining with changes on a weekly basis – unless of course your daily commute goes this way and it's pretty bloody average I imagine. Once those enormous columns go in, truckloads of precast concrete i-beams are trucked in and suddenly you're driving under a new bridge.

The tunnel is almost half way - 'Alice' the tunnel borer that started 2.5 kilometers away in Mt Roskill will soon turn around and head back again - and create the northbound tunnel in the process. 


The new Grafton Gully Cycleway

If you're a regular visitor to my blog you'll probably know that I enjoy a bit of cycling from time to time and quite keen on any new cycling infrastructure for our city.

This weekend a new cycle path opened that completes the north western motorway cycle lane, helping cycle commuters to avoid K-Road, Symonds Street or Queen Street completely - a real bonus (unless you enjoy cycling amongst 4 slow moving congested lanes consisting mainly of buses).

The cycle lane is entered from the motorway overbridge on Upper Queen Street. From there it's a very smooth and fast run downhill (sadly not so fast uphill) beside the motorway offramp, under Grafton Bridge and Wellesley Street, eventually depositing you on to Beach Road where a cycle lane has been added beside the citybound traffic lane.

While I was drawing, a bloke stopped by and pointed out where he recalled all the houses were before they were cleared for the motorway. A friend mentioned his grandmother used to pick fruit in an orchard in this gully too. Back in those days the Symonds Street cemetery extended down into the gully as well. It must have been quite a different place!


Tug Christine Mary

Tug Christine Mary in for repairs at Titan Marine Engineering, Wynyard Quarter.

Old Government House

Corner of Princes Street and Waterloo Quadrant. Built in 1856 of timber to resemble stone, like so many of our old buildings and from what I can tell New Zealand's first 'mansion' and the seat of government until 1865 when the capital was moved to Wellington. Royalty have stayed here six times since then and the Queen broadcast her Christmas speech here in 1953.


Good mail!

I like getting good things in the mail, so I was pretty happy when Luís Ançã's Desenhos do Alentejo came in last week. I had recently been checking out Luís' excellent sketches on his blog and eventually left a comment on an Estremoz sketch - a historic hill town I remember vividly from a cycle tour through the Alentejo region back in 1991. That part of Portugal was one of the highlights of 3 or so months cycling through Spain, Portugal and France. Thanks Luís your sketches really capture the region well!


Cold, wet sketchers, find a dry spot to sketch

This months sketch meet on yet another miserable Auckland day - it's hard to believe spring is just 2 days away! Unitec, Waterview, Auckland.