A glorious summer evening, gazing at the windswept waters of the Otago Harbor.

I think it was Mart Twain who said the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. He could have been talking about Dunedin! Except, not today, nor yesterday when the temperature reached 30C on TWO consecutive days (86F, for you in America). But don’t worry; it’s forecasted to be raining and 12C (54F) tomorrow. If you don’t like the weather…just wait a minute.

Christmas lights…a la Dunedin

It has been way too long since my last post, so I will try to distill the highlights of an entire month into a single post. To summarize: I worked at the hospital….. a lot.

After returning to Dunedin from my quarantine in Christchurch, there was little time for Christmas decorations. Fortunately, not that many (read, almost no one) people put up Christmas lights. I guess when the sun sets at 9:40pm, and rises at 5:30am, no one stays up that late to see the lights anyway. It’s a different experience having Christmas in summer! I did my best, anyway, to display some Christmas spirit to the passing ships in the Harbor.

It rained so hard the river water stained half the Harbor brown.

It was quite cold and rainy around Christmas and the New Year…there were several days of very heavy and steady rain, which caused some pretty massive flooding in parts of the Southland (where I am). But, if you wait a day (or two), the weather changes and you can go out and explore some more.

The Harbor at Moeraki Village on a warm summer day.
Lunch at the Fishwife in Moerake Village. Yum!

On one of my first days off happened to coincide with a visible sun overhead, and so I headed North along the coast to one of my favorite little towns (Moeraki Village), where I knew I would be able to eat a delicious crayfish (lobster) lunch in the open air restaurant, The Fishwife. My journey also included a stop at Shag Point, where the New Zealand fur seals rest in-between outings to the sea for their own lunches.

A seal watches me….as I watch it.
This guy had hiked way up the hill, and was snoozing amongst some brush, but took a break from his nap to say, ‘cheese’. Or ‘sardine’..
Resting….and watching……
A hike along the Pineapple track, on Flagstaff Hill, with awesome views of the city of Dunedin.

One of the great things about Dunedin is the sheer expanse of the city, and the multitude of great hikes inside the city limits. The Pineapple Track is one of those, but it is just one of literally dozens of absolutely magnificent hikes.

Ross Creek Reserve, with a flowing waterfall (thanks to all the rain!)

Ross Creek is another wonderful hike, but quite unlike the Pineapple track with its wide open panoramas of the city and ocean, here you hike through lush forests and encounter creeks and streams and you would never know you’re just minutes away from the city center.

A view from Purakanui (just on the other side of Dunedin City) across the inlet to Blueskin Bay, towards the illuminated hills of Warrington. The dark (read, rain) clouds in the background made the hills appears so bright!
The Thirsty Farmer….(what that means is that there is bar close by)
The Dansey Pass Hotel. Only, I couldn’t go Past it.

On one of the first weekend days in January (with no rain) I ventured out to see if there might be some river, someone, that wasn’t blown out (in fishing terms, a river that’s blown out is swollen, often stained, and pretty much not fishable). I found no such rivers, but I did attempt to drive through a mountain pass called Dansey Pass. Along this gravel road is the Dansey Pass Hotel….literally one of the coolest places I’ve ever stumbled upon. Suddenly, I became a Thirsty Farmer. I found, though, that only 1km down the road, there was a blockage from the recent storm, and there would be no Dansey Pass on this day.

I just had to stop.
Finally, a fishable river!

Last Sunday, with several days of good weather under our collective belts, I managed to find a river which, well, should have had fish in it. It may well have, but I was unable to coax them out of water. But it was a warm afternoon, and I was standing in a river in New Zealand, and it didn’t really matter. Fish or no fish, it felt good. In one of the most surreal moments I’ve had so far, as I was putting on my waders, my phone rang (I had not expected to have any cell coverage out there), and it was my son, Matt. So there I was, having a great conversation with Matt, he in California and me standing in the middle of a river in New Zealand, with a big chunk of the Pacific Ocean between us. It was magical….and Mind blowing!

There should have been fish there….!

I hope to be able to post more often, but as a wise man once told me (it was my son Ryan), don’t write checks with your mouth that your body can’t cash.

Kia Ora,


Published by dave clarke

I am different things to different people. Husband, father, doctor, teacher, friend, or if you're a fish, a fly fisherman. But really, I'm just a guy trying to learn about life, and if I'm lucky, maybe teach a little bit along the way. If I were a golfer (I'm not) I would be on the back nine of my life, or if I were a book, there would be more pages turned than not. Any yet, I'm far from finished creating chapters of my life. The goal of Next Chapters is inspiration, and I'm hopeful the traffic goes in both directions.

4 thoughts on “Summertime!

  1. Enjoyed Christmas photo journey. Keep making memories. Need photos of people doing stuff also. No posing. Ha!

  2. Hi David, A funny time for me to be emailing you, but, I just looked at your latest summer story and calm down I did. It is about the third time I have enjoyed your summer story. Loved the Otago harbor Picture and your Christmas lights. I give you credit for going the extra mile. Our rain this last week matches yours with the brown water. The rain has been coming down for over a week and another one coming in a day. I am sure you loved your lunch. Me, I would have fish and chips. Hope you have found a fish this week. I have enjoyed talking with Matt during the week. He seems to get his phone more often now . Talking about his next step and what is possible. His voice is good and happy. I. had Susan at the dentist today for much work and more to come. A very lot of money and I should not get mad but I do as her brother is no help.. So I came home and put your summer story on and I feel better and life will go on. As you can guess Akiko and I have had no hiking in a week. You know the rain is bad if we are stuck in the house. Think we are going to try Sat. Morning before the next storm hits. Wish us lots of luck. Love Mom

    Sent from my iPad


  3. I’m glad you traveled safely between NZ and the US and made it through quarantine without developing covid-19. Your life there sounds wonderful and the photos show why. Best wishes as you enjoy summertime.

  4. I love that you have captured your travels in a blog. So often when I’ve traveled, I convince myself that I will remember the details – Not! The pictures and commentary together give me a better sense of what it was like for you than a phone conversation probably could. Thanks for sharing the link. The photos are gorgeous, so gorgeous I am sharing your link with Michelle and Dave. They would love it. I also enjoy the names of places, and your Kiwi expressions, along with the translations. Take care.

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