Photo Journal: Christchurch Earthquake, Getting to Grips With Things

This afternoon we went for the first time since the 22nd of February to the beach at Sumner and we ended up driving through town just to get a feel for what it is really like.

Even though this is a photo journal I can but say that no picture can do justice to what it is to physically experience the sight, smell and noise of piles of rubble for as far as you can see, your own city cordoned off by military, almost damaging the car because the road goes like the surf of a beach.

Sumner: Shag Rock Turned Shag Pebble,
Cave Rock Caved In

The road to Sumner was open and although not too bad the cracks and bumps are still there for sure, and it requires you to pay even more attention that usual.

Substantial parts of the road were protected by containers  so as to avoid rocks falling on the road and cars.

Shag Rock at Sumner is one of those iconic little spots here: was I should say. Last year I took this picture.


And yesterday, this is what I found:

The reserve on the other side of the road is now covered in rocks that came down from the rock face. We could not help but wondering but wondering whether there may have been some unsuspecting people covered under there: perhaps going for a little walk through the reserve, perhaps having a quiet lunch in the sun out of the wind.

Cave Rock, further down the beach is a place of good memories for me. It is the place where I had my first beer on the beach with the family and friend Jason Wilcox. I remember well how cool I thought it was to be able to be sitting in the shade of a small cave, what a change from the crowded beaches in the Netherlands.

To give you a feel of what the beach looks like on a sunny day in the Netherlands see the picture on the left side.

All that is missing is a guard blowing his or her whistle  so we can all turn at the same time to sunbath our other side. That same little cave at Cave at Cave Rock caved in.

I guess when you arrive at the place from the parking lot you get a good indication of what to expect straight away.

The City

On the way back we went past the city center and as it is cordoned off, you can’t come to close and get yourself into trouble. But it was there where it started to hit in how enormous the damages really were.

Road may be open but that does by no means mean that they are still qualifiable as safe roads. It was as if we were riding the surf.

We drove up towards one of the fences that mark the cordon and when I walked out and looked at what seemed to be endless amounts of rubble, with a building here and there I simply was not able to shoot any picture and not feel like a complete @#$%&*!

Most of all it was then that I realized that no picture could ever do justice to what I was seeing there. My oldest son grabbed my hand and like me he was not able to say anything. Sure enough most of it can be replaced but I have serious concerns not just for those who have loved their loved ones in all this but also for those that had their livelihoods, their businesses (small businesses) in the struck areas: the dairies, the small boutique little businesses, coffee shops and restaurants that have been kept afloat by these courageous people with a vision, with a passion and which made Christchurch the lovely place it is. And I am sure it will be that same great place again but the road ahead, the road to restoration of people, lives and property will probably be long and steep.

Enough said, time to pray for the city and time to prepare for guitar students coming in. And in the complete faith that nothing is impossible with God, I pray for restoration of the people and city of Christchurch.