Takapuna beach

The next group of photographs in the folder were taken at Takapuna beach on Thursday January 23. Takapuna is an affluent suburb on Auckland’s north shore. High tide occurred at 1.04pm and the photo shows I was there at about that time. What a lovely sunny day. I do remember this visit, I had just met a friend for lunch at a local cafe. We walked along the beach and I took the opportunity to have a swim.

Looking across at Rangitoto Island from Takapuna beach

Looking across the Hauraki Gulf at Rangitoto Island from Takapuna beach

Takapuna beach is one of the few Auckland beaches where swimming is possible even at low tide, but high tide is much better as the water seems fresher and is less murky. Speaking of murky, it is now eight weeks since the breakup. Eight long weeks since that awful night. I remember drinking lots of wine and listening to this song really loud (through headphones) after he left in an attempt to drown it all out but of course it didn’t work.

Looking southeast along Takapuna beach

Looking southeast along Takapuna beach

 

Actually I listened to lots of other songs as well. This one was particularly relevant and I listened to it many times in the following days and weeks. In fact, I could give it a bash at a karaoke bar as I now know virtually all the lyrics, and what fantastic lyrics they are. Even though it is one of my very favourite albums (particularly the songs towards the end), by the time I started wallowing in this, it was about 4am and time to call it a night.

 

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Point Chevalier beach on January 22 at 12.22pm

High tide in Auckland was 12.22pm on January 22 2014 according to a handy tide chart. And according to my collection of photographs, I visited Point Chevalier beach on this day. It looks as though I arrived just after the full tide because the high tide mark is about a metre above the water level in the pictures.

Point Chevalier beach, looking southeast

Just after high tide at the south end of Point Chevalier beach

Grey sky and white water indicate that this is another unpleasant summer day with a strong (and possibly slightly bracing) wind coming in at pace, perhaps from the north rather than the usual westerly. This is evident in the angle of the waves as they reach the shore.

Point Chevalier beach looking north

Point Chevalier beach looking north

What I do remember from these January swims at Pt Chev beach is that the wind itself isn’t particularly cold, but when combined covering of salt water on bare skin the result is somewhat chilly.

A little bit of surf is up on a windy cloudy day at Pt Chevalier beach

A little bit of surf is up on a windy day at Pt Chevalier beach

Most likely I visited the beach alone. Perhaps I was slightly hungover as my alcohol intake had recently increased due to the courtship scenario. A swim in such circumstances is a good way of clearing the head. Could do with a good ocean swim right now to clear the debris of that doomed relationship out of my system but the weather still isn’t warm enough.

Bethells beach, undercurrents, and a few thoughts on false selves

Next in the folder are photographs taken at Bethells beach on the 19th of January 2014 so I must have gone there even though I can’t remember anything about it.

Bethells beach is one of my favourites. I camped there with friends for several days when I was 14 years old, a wee while ago now. It is one of the surf beaches on Auckland’s west coast. These beaches are broad and flat with fine, black sand and are known to be wild. They have claimed many lives because people find themselves dragged out to sea in the strong currents that lurk beneath the waves.

The west coast landscape is impressive. Looks like I forgot to photograph the sea and I have no idea whether the tide was in or out, whether I went for a swim, or even who I was with. But I doubt it was with my (then) recently acquired (and now no longer) male companion as he is not fond of long walks.

Bethells beach in the afternoon

A rather grim Bethells beach looking northwest, probably late afternoon

I have been reading about the construction of a false self and how that can be toxic when people become attached to it. I can’t find an elegant way to incorporate it with this Bethells beach post so here it is, jammed in. Perhaps we find ourselves dragged beneath the waves and out to sea in the current of someone else’s false self that we unwittingly believe in.

This curiosity about ‘false selves’ has come about in relation to my recent break-up. Perhaps he had constructed a false self that I attached to and then when his true self emerged – on that fateful last night – it came as quite a shock. He went from being (the usual) Mr Nice-guy to (a foreign) Mr I-don’t-give-a-shit in a matter of minutes. Then he just walked out. And I haven’t heard from him since.

Anyway, which of his selves was false? Mr Charming or Mr I-don’t-care-a-single-bit? Both? And, how was I tricked for such a long time? The construction of a false persona is a HUGE topic. It has links to childhood trauma, narcissism, ego, borderline personality disorder… things I am now finding out about in relation to my parents.

Bethells beach looking towards the southwest

Bethells beach looking southwest

We didn’t have an argument, or anything like that, on the last night. But, now, thinking back, I realise he was planning ‘the dumping’ for at least a few days, possibly even weeks. If he was having difficulties in the relationship why didn’t he just talk to me about it? There was absolutely no attempt to do so. None. He let me think that he actually cared about me. Lots. But you don’t do what he did to someone you care about. You just don’t. That doesn’t mean that you can’t break up, but there are ways of breaking up. His way was awful.

He had purchased the wine and the meal he brought along to my house on that last night while all the time he was planning to break up. It was premeditated. A murder. Just a couple of days beforehand he had even suggested a future holiday. And he made a point of kissing me when he arrived. WTF?

Although taken months earlier, the bleak darkness of these beach photographs hints at how I felt after he left, despite my slightly desperate attempt to increase their brightness and colour saturation.

 

Point Chevalier beach twice in a row, apparently

The photos in my beach visits collection indicate that on Sunday January 12th and Monday January 13th I attended Point Chevalier beach in the early afternoon. I can’t remember this at all. If it wasn’t for the photos I wouldn’t be giving those swims – or those days – a second thought.

It appears that the weather was unsettled on both days, but that the second day was sunnier.

It appears that I managed to get to the beach in time for High Tide on the 12th, but didn’t quite make it until just after high tide on the 13th.

I would have been by myself on both of those days because my (then) recently acquired love interest and beach companion did not ever attend Point Chevalier beach with me even though it was nearby, and one of the better beaches in central Auckland.

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A grey and possibly slightly windy day at Point Chevalier beach on Sunday 12th January. Early afternoon. Full tide.

A sunny but probably windy day at Point Chevalier beach on Tuesday, ‎14 ‎January ‎2014, ‏‎3:28pm

A sunny but probably windy day at Point Chevalier beach on Monday 13th ‎January ‎2014. The strip of smooth sand indicates that the tide is on its way out.

Evidence of a windy day in the unsettled water surface and white capped waves

Evidence of a windy day in the unsettled water surface and white capped waves on Monday 13th January

Stranded at Kelvin Strand, then and now

Went for a swim on Saturday 11th January after two days without. I had company, and the company suggested we explore one of Auckland’s ‘best kept secrets’, a beach in Te Atatu Peninsula called Kelvin Strand. We attended during high tide, which was at 4.41pm. But you wouldn’t have known it. After wading for far too long through squishy mud, we were only knee deep in water. ‘Swimming’ was more a case of crawling…

 

Lacklustre photo of a lacklustre beach

Lacklustre photo of a lacklustre beach with the Auckland CBD in the distance

Months have passed. I’ve been stranded at Kelvin Strand. The previous paragraph was written in January but saved as a draft and not published. Subsequently, many beaches were visited but the writing stopped because my circumstances changed and a couple of months later the beach visits stopped because the weather became wintry. I have photographs of many of the visits but the accompanying memories are bittersweet as my circumstances recently changed again.

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Lacklustre beach on a lacklustre day. A tiny Auckland Harbour bridge is on the horizon towards the right

Take, for example, the visit to Kelvin Strand. I really do try to like all beaches but this one really is a hopeless little scrap of accumulated sand. We had to walk such a very long way out across barely submerged, slimy estuarine muds in a vain search for anything that even slightly resembled a swim. We. We are no longer. Our attempts to find a swim at Kelvin Strand were in vain, and (it turns out) so was our attempt to develop a relationship. My previously fond memories of our summer beach adventures now inevitably take on a darker hue and wintry chill.