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.
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 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 on Monday 13th January
It was incredibly windy at Pt Chevalier beach during a 3.2m high tide at 1.56pm on Wednesday 8th of January. So, the activity of sitting on the beach was somewhat chilly, but, this was contrasted with the relatively warm water temperature. The ‘swim’ consisted of jumping up and down in the waves and was heading towards being an experience similar to that found on a west coast surf beach such as Piha.
High tide at Pt Chevalier beach looking towards the north
One result of the high tide waves managing to meet the seawall is that it gives the impression of a giant swimming pool. Pt Chevalier beach is located in a harbour estuary, which also gives the impression of a swimming pool. These seemingly contained spaces enable us to forget that the sea is connected up everywhere and that there is only one sea, really.
High tide at Pt Chevalier beach looking towards the south
The flattened beach profile and lack of sand on the upper beach is still evident. Several years ago this beach was nourished or ‘resanded‘ in order to mitigate beach erosion. Mission Bay and Kohimarama have also been nourished, and it has been argued that the order in which these beaches received this expensive practice was related to property values.
A 3.4m high tide was scheduled for 1.03pm on Tuesday the 7th of January. Many people were taking advantage of the settled weather. The beach profile was noticeably flat, a response to the recent ‘storm’. During calm weather, sand collects on the beach and forms dunes, then in rough weather these dunes protect the land beyond as they provide a buffer that absorbs wave energy. Some of the sand will be transported from the dune on the shore to an offshore bar under the water, which then provides a mechanism for waves to break further out to see, which in turn, reduces the amount of wave energy that lands on the shore.
High tide at a somewhat flattened Pt Chevalier beach
The flatter profile is evident by the proximity of the high tide to the pavement area, and by observing swimmers standing waist deep in water a fair way from the shore.
Pt Chevalier beachgoers on a calm sunny day
A lunchtime high tide on a relatively calm day brought quite a few people to Pt Chevalier beach on Monday the 6th of January. A line of debris along the pavement is evidence that a recent higher than usual tide reached beyond the small sea wall. This could have occurred yesterday when we were faced with the relatively strong westerly at Kohimarama as this would have been heading straight into the west-facing Pt Chevalier beach. The combined effects of a spring tide (3.6m), strong onshore wind and low air pressure (usually accompanied by unsettled weather conditions) usually generates a higher than usual tide, and it is likely to be what occurred at Pt Chevalier yesterday.
Evidence of a recent very high tide at Pt Chevalier beach
The relationship between air / ambient / atmospheric pressure and water level is something that completely astounds me. I had thought that water always took up the same amount of space but when atmospheric pressure is high it pushes down onto water making the level lower. In New Zealand this is what happens on a calm, sunny day. Low barometric pressure exerts less force upon the surface of the water, so it is, in effect, higher and can add a few cm to a high tide. The recent high tide has formed a small dune scarp or ridge of sand in front of the stone wall as waves have shifted sand from here to elsewhere.
A small dune ‘scarp’ has formed in front of the pavement at Pt Chevalier beach
On January 3rd the 3.5m high tide at 9.35am was further amplified by a brisk onshore northerly. This is a change from the prevailing westerly, so the waves were breaking onshore at quite a different angle to usual.
Waves approaching the shore from the north, rather than the west at Pt Chevalier beach
On January the 4th, the tide was even higher (3.6m) and the northerly was even stronger during high tide at 10.27am. Waves are hitting the small sea wall and pavement that are situated where a row of sand dunes would have been before the beach was modified. Sand dunes absorb the energy of dissipating waves, whereas hard structures reflect it back.
Strong onshore winds at high tide on January 4th 2014 at Pt Chevalier beach
Wave energy is being reflected back into oncoming waves. This is how sand is eroded from the area in front of a hard structure.
Waves bouncing off a hard structure – if there is enough energy, sand is entrained and moved away
Despite good intentions, I did not have a swim yesterday as the New Year’s Eve celebrations took their toll. This morning, the tide was in on the Waitemata at 8.43am, so I figured Pt Chevalier would be supremely swimmable at 9am as it takes about 15 minutes for the tidal peak to reach there from the Auckland tide datum at Westhaven.
Sure enough, at 9am the water was seemingly flooding the beach due to a high high today (3.5m), which did not leave much accessible sand on the shore.
The sun making inroads by 9am at Pt Chevalier. Sand is immersed along much of the shore due to 3.5m high tide
The water was relatively hard to get into but the swim made worthwhile. I’m getting better at my various ‘strokes’ (back and breast lol) plus I’ve been doing a bit of freestyle. Until recently, this has been tricky due to running out of breath (and not breathing properly) but these problems are ironing themselves out.
And I saved a bee. I had waded out up to waist depth, to find a bee wriggling around on a (partially) floating pohutukawa leaf. These leaves are not big, and it looked like a sad little struggle that was about to end in a drowning. But I picked up the leaf and its resident bumble bee then waded back to shore and deposited them among the grass on dry land.
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.
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.
Groups of swimmers in the distance at the northern end of the beach
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.
Not many Boxing Day swimmers at Pt Chevalier beach
A visit to the Auckland Botanic Gardens provided a better range of photo opportunities.
One species of New Zealand mistletoe, a parasitic plant
Thistle? Pohutukawa flower? Made with spaces
Clever arrangement of plants
‘Carving up the Land’
Driving home into the sunset
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!
A grey Christmas 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.
Waves arriving at an angle at Pt Chev
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.
A calmer sea at Pt Chev
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.
Just water… which is everything, really
A drop in the ocean