Spent a day and night at the beach house this weekend. We had really nice weather, warm and sunny. Did a little painting and maintenance on the house, went for walks, saw a young seal and a penguin on the beach. Not many surfers around, as the waves were small. Sometimes there are ten or fifteen in the water, when we have a big surf. Some people have told me that Purakaunui Bay is a premium surfing spot and people come from all over the world to try their luck there.

I have never tried surfing, though I like to swim. I think I am too old to learn something that demanding and anyway I am far from graceful. But it looks like a contemplative activity, and one I might enjoy. The surfers paddle out on their boards, face out to the horizon and wait. Sometimes, a likely looking wave comes along, and then there is frantic activity, trying madly to get in front–to catch the wave. It’s all over in fifteen seconds. Then they paddle out again and… wait. I think I would like it.

The house at Purakaunui Bay doesn’t have a name, because as a family we couldn’t decide on something we all liked. My husband just calls it “the crib,” which is a specifically South Island New Zealand term for a small beach house or fishing shack on a lake or river. Most, like ours, are not fancy, but some around the lakes close to Queenstown and Wanaka are worth millions. We didn’t pay much for our place, less than the cost of a nice car here in NZ. But it came with a caveat that makes our time there even more special. The house belongs to my family, but the land is basically public. How could it not be, since it is next to the ocean? No one owns the sand, right? So for right now we are allowed to keep it, but if some public official decided in the future that they didn’t want it there, then it would be gone. We hope this won’t happen, but it could. So it is all a little existential.

I call it Asa Bay. Only the most esoteric of metal heads out there will understand the reference. No one in my family does.

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