I showed you Nelson in an earlier post (The City of Nelson – location, location, location; Dec 27). Besides being very sunny with a mild climate (it’s near the top of the South Island), it is very close to several National Parks and a goodly number of well-regarded wineries. We loved it for those reasons, but the clincher was the fact that the area is drop-dead gorgeous. Before leaving for points south (recent posts), we rented a house to better experience the Kiwi life from something besides a suitcase. It is a great house, with fabulous views. Prepare to be impressed. I think I will do a number of posts just from our neighborhood – you’ll see why.
First, the neighborhood. We’re in Ruby Bay – a bedroom community without a single store – 3 miles away from the tiny town of Mapua (population < 2,000). Here the post office and the only small grocery store are one and the same, staffed by the same people. Mapua does have a handful of restaurants, a gas station, a hairdresser, a drug store, and 3 bar/cafes. If you really want anything, you have to go into the towns of Richmond or Nelson, 30 minutes away.
Our house in Ruby Bay is up a steep hill; it has a good view of Ruby Bay itself, with
Nelson visible across the bay. It has 3 BR, 2.5 baths. Everything is downstairs except for the master bedroom, bath and lounge (Ginger’s study). The living room and kitchen are quite nice.
There’s also a dining room and (my) study. There is a downstairs wood-burning stove for heat, but that is it for temperature control. The Nelson climate is temperate, so no need for AC or furnaces. There are LOTS of windows that open (no screens), and two of the (glass) walls in the living room open up (to porches), making the house very open-air. As a corollary, some of our best friends are insects. The living room glass doors open to a wood
deck that goes the length of the house. The views from the upstairs (and downstairs)
across the bay are partially obstructed but not bad! The place has quite a garden, going down the hill, some pictures shown below. There are also fig, orange, tangerine
and peach trees, and a LOT of lemon trees, loaded with fruit, which we use to make fresh lemonade and limoncello.
One of the advantages of this place is an incredible sunset nearly every day; they last for an incredibly long time, and cover much of the sky (examples below).
Of course, for all of these the transitions were equally beautiful. Let me show you just one:
One of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen occurred while we were at one of the Mapua restaurants on the bay. The picture left shows the view from the restaurant looking toward Nelson, taken a previous day over lunch. It is a pretty place, isn’t it? So we’re having dinner, and the tidal river turns an amazing copper color. We rush outside, and the world is glowing! I don’t have my camera, but Ginger has her iphone so we are saved! The
first picture is looking in the opposite direction toward the sea, and the sky is all but exploding. The view is not just in that direction; the sunset is 360 degrees beautiful. I think you will agree it’s spectacular. We watch it glow and fade, and then go back to our cold dinner – but that’s OK! A small price to pay for that display.
At the base of our hill is the Ruby Bay beach. At high tide it’s a rocky beach, which Ginger doesn’t mind – she has quite a collection of pretty stones, not to mention shells and sponges. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the Bay at high tide, just low tide, but the low tide will do. The Ruby Bay beach is not as gorgeous as the one at Nelson (the Dec 27 post), but it will do! It has breakers and birds and views. A couple of views across the bay are shown below. The weather on our side of the bay can be considerably different from that in Nelson, particularly regarding rain, which can lead to interesting effects – including rainbows, also shown below.
Low tide is when most people come out to play, the “beach” being sandy then. It’s a great place to exercise dogs and horses and people.
North of us, maybe 10 miles away, is the town of Motueka with a beach that is connected to a very long sand spit that’s a bird sanctuary. It does have a lot of birds! Getting up-close pictures isn’t easy, though; the birds are pretty shy, except for the ones attacking us for getting too close to their nests. The babies are very cute! I’ll have to add the bird’s names later. Pictures below.
Finally, I want to show you the first of a number of retrospective studies that I’m going to inflict on you, that show in stunning colors why we love our house. Now, we have lived with a view of the ocean before, when I worked in Italy. It was nice to see the ever-changing Adriatic Sea, but we looked out directly into the infinite seascape, and the variations in color were, we know now, limited. The bay is another story. There is the open ocean, but in addition there’s the curving bay, with headlands retreating into the distance; and perhaps because of the land, there are clouds everywhere, reflecting light and creating shadows. Combine water, waves, currents, reflections, shadows, fog, light, land, cloud shapes – and the scene is an ever-changing riot of color, re-inventing itself hour-by-hour, and totally captivating. We stop and stare a lot. I’m sure it’s hard to “get it” via words. The pictures below are my introduction for you, of what I call the overview; a large-view presentation of pretty much the same area, looking out into the ocean, the receding headlands, and some islands, and taken on different days at different times. It’s a “teaser” for what’s to come – but I think you’ll get the idea. None of these pictures have been altered – you’re looking at Nature in all her glory.
That’s all for now. In the next few subsequent posts I’m going to simply do a few more detailed retrospectives of Ruby Bay and Nature taken from our balcony. There will be a lot of pictures. They will be incredibly beautiful. You will want to live here.