For the first time in my staggered - and sometimes staggering - run around the bays of Wellington, the road curved away from the oceanside. Used to - and spoiled by - my spectacular front-row seat, I decided to head off the pavement and onto the coves and beaches. Better on the feet anyway, right?
Within minutes I came across some divers in the water behaving, as I saw it, oddly. I've seen a lot of people diving for paua (abalone) here and these guys were behaving differently. I was in the midst of a long run, so I didn't stop. Sadly, they were searching for the body of a young man off Steeple Rock who drowned while diving for clams.
It's always struck me as a particularly dangerous part of the world to go diving or snorkeling. Everything is ferocious here: the rush of the currents, the winds, the tides, the cliffs. It's not for the tepid or timid. You really need to know what you're doing to get in the water here. It's been a rough week here so far, with seven people drowning in the last three days.
I knew nothing of what was unfolding so carried on running around Point Dorset in Seatoun. It was great exercise running over the soft, black sand and along beachside paths. I stopped to take a picture and found myself standing near some concrete structures. It struck me immediately that these were what were left of the Seatoun guns used to protect the entrance to Wellington Harbor that I just wrote about here.
You can see the amount of erosion that has taken place since the guns were decommissioned. It's funny how anonymously they sit there, decaying bit by bit, day by day. There are no plaques, nothing to notify the passer-by of the significance of the place.
In the States the fort would be commemorated, even if there had been no significant combat. To me it is important to mark the important events - and World War II, even if it was fought away from New Zealand's shores was a seminal moment for the world. It seems a little sad just to let history crumble into the sea, though there's certainly something to be said for not polluting the glorious scenery with billboards and tourist markers.
The other thing that struck me forcefully was how camouflaged the old gun embankments were, as if they'd been made of the same material as the cliffs behind them. As it would have felt disrespectful to turn and be on my way, I stayed for a while and shared the view that those long-ago Homeland guardians surely grew sick of.
I found my way back onto the road and headed up through the Pass of Branda to Breaker Bay. Just as I was settling in to the smooth zone of running, I came across this sign. You can never go too long in New Zealand without being reminded that you are a long way away from home, where you almost never see a sign like this.