It’s rained every day since Petra and I arrived in Wellington and I’m wondering if that’s the city’s default state. The hills around our house certainly look suspiciously green and growing, the steps at the back of the house lead to what looks to be a permanent puddle, and the cellar and laundry cupboard have a distinctly damp, musty odour. So I’m picking that Wellington is indeed a damp place.
I didn’t come prepared for lots of rain; I came prepared for wind. Dunedin is extremely windy – gale force, even hurricane force, winds that would have every tree in Vancouver’s Stanley Park down, barely ruffle the local trees. But Wellington is even more full-on. Southerlies howl across the strait and funnel up the harbour. I remember visiting Wellington as a child and finding it hard to keep my feet in the wind. I had to grab onto a handy street light to avoid being blown off down the street like a tumbleweed.
I’ve just looked up the average rainfall stats for Dunedin and Wellington. According to the Dunedin City Council, Dunedin averages 760mm or thereabouts a year, while the Wellington City Council’s website says that Wellington averages just over 1200mm a year. Quite the difference.
Travis and I do like to pick the damp places. Vancouver’s a rain forest, and a cold one at that. It gets about 1300mm of rain a year. Costa Rica has a tropical climate – there are two seasons: a wet and a dry. The wet is very wet indeed – San Jose’s annual rainfall is about 1800mm and most of that falls in the wet season – but because it’s always about 25 degrees, the rain doesn’t really matter. In fact the sudden deluges were a part of San Jose’s exoticism and appeal. It would rain so hard that you couldn’t see, couldn’t hear for the pounding on the corrugated iron roofs, and couldn’t walk anywhere because the storm drains would turn into raging rivers. Then it would all be over and the streets would be dry again in a matter of minutes.