I think they call them the beach markets. No, the Seaside Markets. I think they only have them in summer. Have you guessed that I don't really know much about them? Not much except that when they are on my daughter loads up her beautifully restored caravan that she calls Audrey with her delicious cupcakes and sets up shop in a prime position along the beach front.
Last time I visited Taranaki I went along with the family for the evening at Ngamotu Beach. Justine was busy, of course, and Bill jumped into action, too, during the busy periods but little Aiden and I had nothing else to do except explore our surroundings.
Colourful tables and chairs being set up
Lights strung through the trees come on as night approaches
Shopping finished, a couple relax before heading home.
A couple of days later Audrey was once again hitched up to the family car and taken to visit a beach. This time it was to a popular beach side wedding venue to serve as a bar.
Justine dropped Bill, Aiden and I off at the beach while she set up Audrey at the venue. It wasn't exactly swimming weather but perfect for rock hopping, trying to keep our feet dry (because the water was very cold).
After Justine returned we moved on to another beach for a picnic at Weld Road beach access. We sat on the grass out of the wind. The weather here was perfect for wind surfing. There were quite a few surfers out but they were quite some distance away from our position on the rocks.
On the other end of the beach was proof of the dangers of this piece of coast, the Gairloch shipwreck. The coastal steamer slid on to the rocks at 11.40pm on the dark, moonless night of 5 January 1903. That's what the official account says - slid on to the rocks. To quote "ship seemed to slide over the rocks before grinding to a standstill.' Doesn't sound right to me! And sounds even more wrong when I read that she had narrowly missed collision with her sister ship, the Ngapuhi, off New Plymouth just an hour before she ran on to the Timaru Reef.
No lives were lost and the next day the captain returned with his officers to the wreck where they salvaged the crew's personal effects, the ship's silverware, linen, upholstery and spirits.
I enjoy the little side stories - "History fails to record whether the ship's whistle was a souvenir or legitimate salvage, but legend has it that for years it served as the knock-off hooter at Henry Brown Ltd's sawmill at Inglewood."
As a result of the stranding, the captain appeared at a marine inquiry in Auckland. The court found that he had committed an error of judgment in hugging the land so closely on a dark night and suspended his certificate for three months.