Upon entering the present moment

There wasn’t a swim on Saturday the 28th of December, due to a previous commitment as already recorded. And the swim on the 29th was noted in a previous post, written yesterday, as it occurred. Which means I briefly entered the present before it was time.

So, anyway, now it is the present. There should be a thunderclap as though I’m breaking the speed of sound. My father did this many years ago, and he said it was a shaky experience. Time travel would occur if the speed of light was exceeded as you would arrive at your destination before you had departed.

Just over two weeks of swimming has been relayed, serving as a good distraction from thinking about things I don’t want to think about. The last two weeks also included that sneaky sleight of hand commonly known as Christmas. Finally, today is about today. The fun begins. Well, the swim today hasn’t yet occurred. It is still going to occur sometime in the future. This is because the tide is not high for another 21 minutes. I’d best go and get togged up.

Well, the strong westerly was still keeping potential beachgoers away. Plus some light rain. But… there was sunshine! And… the water was fabulous. These grey days are great for swimming as the water is usually surprisingly warm. Inertia (and rain) almost prevented this swim but thankfully these forces were overcome. The high tide was relatively high, possibly helped by the strong wind generating relatively large waves at times.

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A bit of silvery sunshine on another grey day at Pt Chevalier beach

There were not many swimmers at the south end of the beach, but quite a few in the north, down the stairs from Coyle Park.

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Groups of swimmers in the distance at the northern end of the beach

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Almost high tide at Cheltenham beach

High tide was at 3.12pm on December 27th. Cheltenham is difficult to swim at during low tide, so the best times to attempt are a couple of hours before to a couple of hours after high tide. I was there with family and unfortunately had to leave by 2pm. Even though I missed out on the awesomeness of a high tide at Cheltenham, the beach visit went swimmingly and included passage of a large container ship which propelled a few small breakers onto the shore.

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View of Rangitoto Island and the container ship from Cheltenham beach

Boxing day

High tide was at 2.21pm on Thursday 26th of December. This was a very quick swim due to bad time management and a prior engagement at 3pm. I forgot my towel >.< but still ventured forth. It was another windy day.

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Not many Boxing Day swimmers at Pt Chevalier beach

A visit to the Auckland Botanic Gardens provided a better range of photo opportunities.

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One species of New Zealand mistletoe, a parasitic plant

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Thistle? Pohutukawa flower? Made with spaces

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Clever arrangement of plants

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‘Carving up the Land’

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Driving home into the sunset

A grey Christmas

There was no swimming to be done on Tuesday 24th of December (otherwise known as Christmas Eve) due to the hustle and bustle of last minute Christmas preparations.

But I did manage a quick swim on Christmas day, despite unfavourable weather conditions. The tide was high at the relatively convenient time of 1.35pm, yet the beach was virtually deserted, indicating that not many people were dreaming of a grey Christmas. This Christmas business is strange in New Zealand because a mid-winter festival involving hot food and images of snow is forced upon us in the middle of summer. So, as I see it, a grey Christmas makes turkey roasting and pudding steaming a bit more bearable.

So, here are photos of a very ordinary looking Christmas Day Beach, without a hint of tinsel or mistletoe although these pictures are fringed with (n0n flowering) Pohutukawa boughs to give a slightly festive feel. So, season’s greetings!

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A grey Christmas at Pt Chevalier beach

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Seasons Greetings!

Wind and water at Pt Chevalier beach

The tide was high at 11.33am on Sunday 22nd of December, but the beach did not attract many swimmers due to a strong onshore wind from the west as evident in the distant white caps and frothy breaking waves that are arriving onshore at an angle and generating the northward longshore current.

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Waves arriving at an angle at Pt Chev

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Westerly wind pushing waves onshore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the following day, Monday 23rd of December, the tide was high at 12.11pm and conditions were still windy but considerably calmer. The strong breeze seems to have discouraged many people from visiting the beach.

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A calmer sea at Pt Chev

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Looking towards the shore at Pt Chev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are two of my many attempts to capture the array of colours and shapes that appear in moving water. It’s not easy, especially with a simple little camera.

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Just water… which is everything, really

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A drop in the ocean

It is possible to swim at low tide

No swim on Thursday 19th of December and despite a busy day, I managed to squeeze in a mid-afternoon swim at Mission Bay on Friday 20th. The notable thing about this is that high tide on the Waitemata Harbour was at 10.18am, but the tide does not need to be high for a swim at Mission Bay, one of Auckland’s most popular beaches. The surrounding suburb is affluent and there are many well attended shops, cafes and restaurants right across the road from the beach and park.

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The tide is not high

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Mission Bay fountain

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Sunny cloud drifting across Mission Bay

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Rangitoto Island from Mission Bay, with exposed low tide sand in the foreground

Conditions were a bit different at Pt Chevalier beach on the morning of Saturday 21st December. A strong westerly whipped in beneath a blanket of clouds. Propelled by the prevailing westerly, waves arrive onshore at an angle creating a longshore current that gradually shifts sand from the south end of the beach to the north.

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Longshore current at Pt Chevalier beach

Beaches change. Sand moves. Dunes shift. The ‘dunes’ at Pt Chevalier (and many city beaches) have been tar-sealed or concreted – which is ironic really because concrete is made of sand.

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Solidified ‘dunes’ on the left at Pt Chevalier

 

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Looking towards the north end of Pt Chevalier beach at high tide

This may have happened because people don’t seem to like it when the physical environment changes. I love the way beaches change both in the short-term due to tides, and long-term in response to different kinds of weather. I find this relatively easy to accept. However, I find it ridiculously difficult to accept that people change, and sometimes they drift away. But, it is still possible to swim at low tide.

 

An evening swim at Cheltenham beach

On Wednesday 18th December I had a late night swim at Cheltenham beach, Devonport. High tide was at 9.19pm. It is a while ago now (11 days) and my memory is a bit hazy, but I don’t think I stayed until high tide. Cheltenham beach is one of my favourites.

I was the only person swimming there. While I was drying myself after the swim, a passerby informed me that he found my swim ‘admirable’. Admittedly it was a bit chilly, and rather late, but I was surprised to be a lone swimmer. The night before several other swimmers were evident at Pt Chevalier beach. What seems to be going on is Cheltenham beach serves a much smaller local population than Pt Chevalier beach so generally attracts fewer people, despite the fact that it is a much nicer beach. This is because Devonport is a relatively small suburb that contains not only Cheltenham but several beaches, but Pt Chevalier is the closest swimming beach to many large Auckland suburbs such as Point Chevalier itself, Waterview, Avondale, Sandringham, Mt Albert and Balmoral.

That night I had a GoPro in a waterproof case in my possession. Some of the experimental underwater shots turned out quite well. I like videoing water even more than photographing it so a waterproof camera is fabulous, although you can’t see what you are shooting until you get home and view it on a computer but that is all part of the fun.The underwater video experiments I shot are on a computer I won’t have access to until next year so I’ll upload some in a few weeks.

I didn’t take many photos and they aren’t that great (the GoPro was the focus of my attention) but here are a couple. The photo of Rangitoto shows that the tide was not quite high at that point in time.

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Rangitoto Island from Cheltenham Beach

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After sunset at Cheltenham Beach