Tag Archives: storms

A visit to Makara Beach

In keeping with my recent posts of rugged coasts in my home region, here is another beach that is rugged, wild and beautiful.

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This Department of Conservation website gives more information about Makara and includes a map showing that the deep arcing Ohariu Bay and the beach are not too far from the most south western point of the North Island.

This is another west coast beach.   The very small settlement can be reached from either Johnsonville or Karori (both suburbs of Wellington). Either route is a narrow winding road with rural views, plenty of surrounding steep hills and roads that require careful attention and care.

After reaching flat, more open land the road suddenly offers a view of the bay. On the day we visited the day was crystal clear. The night before a southerly storm had raged but this beach is relatively sheltered from that wind and these high hills sheltered us from the icy wind that was still blowing.
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The surf was heavy but not as dramatic as it would have been on the South coast.
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The beach here is rocky.

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Banks of these rocks shelve steeply

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and the undertow is sharp and strong.

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This is never a safe swimming beach. The sound of these rocks being dragged back and forwards with each breaker was deafening but exhilarating.

A narrow walking track at the base of the high hills offers views back up the coast to the north and here, in the distance, you can see Mana Island and beyond it, the peak of Kapiti Island. The photo bombing bird is a Cormorant!

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When the predominant north-westerly wind howls this bay will take a pounding. Vegetation reflects the harsh, salt-laden, tough conditions. Flaxes, tufty grasses and Taupata do well but are stunted.

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Ocean currents bring huge logs and tree stumps on to the beach.
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Rock pools offer hidden delights but close supervision of children is needed at all times, given the strength of the sea.
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With so much natural energy via the wind in this remote landscape, there is a controversial wind farm now on the hills and from different parts of the settlement the blades of the turbines are visible. Up near this wind farm on the high hills are recreational options for the fit and energetic.

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I admire the local residents who live in such a remote and harsh environment. Their senses would be sharply alive all the time. I love visiting such wild spots with the exhilaration and beauty they offer but I much prefer a more moderate place in which to find my permanent home.

Diamonds on velvet

Another hardy Pansy has popped its velvety face to the light today after keeping safe through the past week’s snow, sleet, hail, rain, bitter temperatures and howling winds.

Gentle rain fell here overnight and in the still conditions, post storm, the raindrops clung like diamonds to velvet.DSCF2817 (1280x961)DSCF2818 (1280x960) (1280x960)DSCF2822

Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight….

So many evenings of late have seen bright sunsets amid the clouds. This one from a few nights ago had us hopeful of a fine day following.
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It was not to be.

This sunset from last night also held promise.
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Although there was this gale bending the Birch tree over very dramatically.
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The gale lashed the house relentlessly all night and today has been little better. We were also drenched in rain with roads closed due to flooding.

Today was our belated Christmas Day with one part of the family so we covered presents (which had been waiting some time)
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with plastic bags, loaded up food in a plastic clothes basket, donned our coats and off we went for lunch and a fun afternoon. A four year old and his two year old sister kept things lively and fun.

The weather had cleared by late this afternoon although the gales continue. We spotted some Royal Spoonbills in the Pauatahanui Inlet along with a large flock of Black Swans.

Can you spot the two vague white dots out in the water? They are the Spoonbills.
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We did get much closer to one but it sensed our presence and off it flew.

The Pohutukawas were still being shaped by the winds
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and this gull was snuggled down in the tufty beach grass taking a well-earned rest from the battering forces.
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No sunset tonight so little hope of better weather tomorrow it would seem……

A news item I read late this afternoon indicated exceptionally high temperatures in parts of Australia while the east coast of America is experiencing bitterly cold, snowy conditions. We are battened down safe and sound.

Keep safe wherever you are.

Wind whipped and battered

It is official. Even the scientists confirm my suspicions. It has been a very windy spring and while we are used to that here in windy Wellington, many of the gales have been much stronger than the usual blustery conditions we live with.
Almost without fail there have been wind warnings forecasting gusts of up to 140kms per hour. Fortunately my particularly patch on earth has a degree of shelter from these northwesterlies. But we have sustained damage, most recently to an old television aerial.
You can see the trees in the tall tree part of our garden taking a buffeting. The fresh leaves of the birch trees are already looking bedraggled and bent in response to the prevailing bluster.
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The Viburnum “pom poms” are burnt and brown.
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Those are the ones that have survived on the trees. So many have been stripped. In past springs they looked like this.
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The rock roses have proved to be hardy and flourishing bushes but the relentless wind sees the crepey flowers brown and shrivel.
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And then there are the birds who must be exhausted battling through the endless gusts and the strength of the wind. Look at these two blackbird fledglings sheltering in a sunny and calm part of the garden this afternoon, resting while the parents are off foraging.
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Blackbird fledgling resting to the right of the green tray.

Blackbird fledgling resting to the right of the green tray.


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As I went outdoors the parent bird flew near me and waited hopefully in the Magnolia tree.
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I had nothing to offer him this time but I have been tossing scraps and crumbs out in greater quantities to help the birds survive.
Other parts of the country have been hard hit again today and we are hoping that the winds will abate tomorrow as predicted.

Three Cheers for the Fire Brigade!

We had another storm hit our area yesterday with gusty winds reaching up to 140kms per hour. Normally we fare reasonably well in a North-westerly but a huge gust of wind just before 5pm last night caused an old television aerial to break loose from its metal plate which had been attached to the gable of the house. The noise of the aerial hitting the roof caused me to check around the property and finally locate the problem.

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Our neighbour has a good view of our roof and was able to reassure me that the cabling for the aerial was still intact and the aerial appeared to be wedged around another smaller, modern aerial. I called the emergency services but they were too stretched with other priorities to come and ensure the aerial was not a threat to life or property.
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However this morning the aerial had moved considerably and any cabling was no longer visible. While the wind has thankfully gone the rain is falling in a steady and heavy manner so no roof expeditions could be mounted safely.
A call to our local fire station saw this fire truck and four firemen arrive within 10 minutes of my phone call.
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They were only too happy to remove the fallen aerial and ensure everything was secure high up on the roof.
It all seemed a very simple task with their correct clothing, footwear and equipment but what really impressed me was their attention to the drills and practices that they used and which they constantly ensure are second nature to their tasks and teamwork.
Three cheers for the Fire Brigade I say!!!! And the three year olds who live across the road loved watching it all and being waved to by the friendly fire crew.

Trees wave in the wind

When life is tough we are encouraged to bring a tall tree to mind and note how well it sways and bends in stormy gales.

Nature offers us a metaphor to assist us through our stresses and crises.

I found waves in the timber along the length of this fallen, large tree. A tree’s built-in flexibility on show.

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And then it was still

This week my country has been under the influence of a storm system straight out of the southern ocean. The wind has been fierce in strength and chill factor, here, most of the week.

It has swung from north west and back to south west on occasions and yesterday was a good example of that.
However the black, threatening clouds in the early afternoon moved away and left the air still for a few hours, with warm, milky sunshine bathing the back garden.

There were some photos I wanted and finally I have captured the precise one, after several attempts. However as I turned to come back indoors my eye was caught by the soft creamy sunlight playing on the leaves of the Pandorea. In front of this climber is a brave lavender which still has some flower heads on it.

While the sharpness of the lavender is not as I hoped the lovely colours and the way the light illuminates only part of the leaves is what had appealed to me and stilled me for a time.

The magic of rain drops

I love going to sleep at night with the sound of rain falling on the roof. It goes back to my childhood when safe and sound in a warm dry house and snuggled up in a warm comfortable bed the beat of drops soothed me off to sleep.

We’ve had really stormy weather these past 4 days and the wind has howled and buffeted at us. There had been some rain but mostly it was skiffy, drizzly stuff which did not penetrate the dry soil and any moisture was quickly sucked out by the gales.

So last night’s steady rain was a welcome sound. It means I don’t have to water my plants today and I know they will have had a good soaking.

But I caught sight of some other magic rain drops as I went out to hang out some washing this morning. The sun was glinting off the big fat round rain drops that had caught on this lacy leaf down amongst the other leaves that had blown into this spot on the path. The intense sparkling was eye catching and reminded me that there are always gems to be found in nature and in life, despite storms and crazy happenings.

Living waters, quilting and ceramics

We have been in the midst of a huge winter storm system since Friday. The wind has shaken the house at times, the thunder has shaken the house at times and the heavy rain and hail have pelted against the windows and roof. There have also been periods of calm and dry within all this extra high energy.

This is all set against the news in the past few days of more earthquakes in Japan, the Pacific, Christchurch and a sizeable tremor located in Taupo but felt here in various degrees of severity. The Kermadec Islands jolt set off Tsunami watches here and with three family members living or working close to the coast my antennae were well up for an hour or two until the “watch” was lifted. A tornado hit an area 35 kms north of where I live and that has put an increased alert in my mind too. There seems much to be aware of right now.

Set against all this weather and the forces of nature it was with delight that I noticed patches of blue sky during the morning and so I set off to watch a DVD being shown outside our main public library.

This DVD featured 2 or 3 episodes in the Living Waters, Tiakina Nga Taonga – Protect the Treasure series. The makers plan to make a new episode each month for a year celebrating the unique ecology, diversity and beauty of the Porirua Harbour and the piece that I see on an almost daily basis, the Pauatahanui Inlet.

I felt transported into a much calmer space as I sat and enjoyed the small creatures, the fish, the birdlife, and the plants that inhabit both the Inlet and its fresh water sources. The humans featured on the episodes ranged in age from young school age children to elderly, all of whom were learning about this wonderful environment and contributing to the maintenance and knowledge of a very unique eco-system.

I see on the website that there are episodes online that I have yet to view so if the forecast “systems” in this storm arrive I can look forward to watching those at home.

I then went to the nearby gallery and enjoyed the exhibition mounted by the Coastal Quilters and artists from the local Gear Homestead group. The range of colour, pattern and individual creations was stunning. It was a visual feast.

Refreshed from this outing I am pleased to report a lull in the weather currently which I am really enjoying.