I do apologize Dear Reader, if you are feeling waterlogged, after reading one too many stories about cyclones. So begging your pardon, here is yet another soggy missive. Owing to Mr. Bill’s peculiar super power of attracting wind and rain, it should come as no surprise, that Cyclone Gita has followed Mr. Bill to New Zealand.
Now Mr. Bill can attract precipitation but he cannot control it’s temperature; depending on where he is, it will be either wet or frozen, changing from one to the other, as it Travels with Mr. Bill. On Wednesday, February seventh, we departed from Boston in a snowstorm and arrived in New Zealand, a day and a half later, in a rain storm. The Land of the Long White Cloud, had been transformed into, The Land of the Low Grey Cloud. Our American friends kicked off their snow boots and hung up snow shovels, while our Kiwi mates, pulled on gum boots and grabbed their brollies. A late arrival in Auckland, meant that we missed the baggage transfer deadline and we would have to hump our suitcases over to the Domestic Terminal. It’s a fairly short walk, just shy of 15 minutes and after a long flight, it is always a welcome opportunity to stretch our legs and breathe 100% pure New Zealand air – unless it’s raining. However, we barely got wet at all and Mr. Bill not at all, due to a little professional courtesy. Recognizing Mr. Bill, the clouds parted briefly, allowing him to push his trolley without being showered. Unfortunately, I lagged behind, separated from Mr. Bill, by a slow moving family. Once Mr. Bill had reached the safety of the terminal, the heavens opened and I was blessed with my morning’s ablutions.
Instant summer is exciting even when it is raining. The thrill does wear off though, after a week of wet muggy weather. Mr. Bill brought along seven days worth of rain. Moisture found it’s way inside our Beachpoint apartment, making everything feel damp to the touch. All those neatly pressed clothes, that had been packed, oh so carefully, were soon hanging limp in the wardrobe. Too wet to go outside and play, Mr. Bill and I discovered the fun of indoor slip and slide, when heavy humidity left a skim of water on the floor. The challenge of the game was to step from the carpet onto the slick ceramic tiles without falling. It was also too wet to bike or run but it was not to wet to swim. Could I entice Mr. Bill into the pool or the ocean? Absolutely not. Despite being a rain maker, he is not a water baby, famously declaring once, ” that he didn’t have to be in it to enjoy it”. Obligingly, the rain would pause politely at the end of the day, for Mr. Bill’s daily run along Ohope Beach and he was able to jog along the sea without getting wet.
All that rain was just the warm up act for Cyclone Gita, who had been swirling around the South Pacific, after hitting Samoa, Tonga and Fiji. The weather forecast predicted last week, that Gita would leave the tropics and head south, striking New Zealand on Tuesday, February 20th. She did both but with a twist. Having left the tropics, Cyclone Gita became ex-tropical but was still a formidable presence, with New Zealand in her path. However, instead of making landfall here in the Bay of Plenty, Gita was expected to pass through the Cook Straights, striking the bottom of the North Island and the Top of the South Island. Instead, Gita changed her mind, tracked a bit more to the south, encountered the Southern Alps and split in two. All this time, the Lady had been toying with Mr. Bill, playing hard to get. Perhaps Mr. Bill has met his waterloo.