On Sunday we took the bus to the beach in New Brighton. This suburb of Christchurch is right on the South Pacific Ocean, and there are miles of sand in both directions. It was a cold, clear day, but we enjoyed seeing not only the beach but the distant snow-covered mountains, which we plan to see more of in upcoming weeks.
The best part of our trip was getting to see the Sand Dancer. Peter Donnelly has been making intricate sand drawings on the New Brighton beach for over ten years using only a stick and a rake. We didn't know in advance that he'd be out there (he apparently only draws on Sundays), so we felt fortunate to be able to see him and his art. Working barefoot, he jumps, steps, and glides around the sand. Each drawing takes him about 4 hours to complete in low tide, and then it gets washed away as the tide comes in. Peter puts out a hat for donations (someone near us said that he was "sanding" instead of "busking"), and people throw coins from the pier high above the beach to try to drop a coin into his hat. Peter looks like an interesting soul. We liked his "chopped" bicycle as well.