French Bay one day last summer and Pt Chevalier today

Not sure whether to continue relating previous swims. Seems a bit pointless. But, then again, there are a few more photos from last year so I might as well pick up from where things left off and keep going.

Here is one from an afternoon swim at French Bay on the 9th of March 2014. It might look a bit lacklustre but the thing with photos is you can edit them to create the mood you want to inflict on the memory.

Memories have a tendency to fade, lose detail and become increasingly grainy.

…memories tend to fade, lose detail and become increasingly grainy.

On this day I had the company of the man who suddenly, unexpectedly and completely disappeared some months later, so it is a bit surreal remembering how close we appeared to be at that time. Mind you, frequent doses of wine probably helped conjure that illusion.

But, here’s proof that ‘he’ was actually there. And I’m not talking about the duck. That’s not my foot in the corner, it would have been difficult for me to take a foot-selfie from that angle. And my feet are somewhat daintier.

Deliberately over-saturated proof of the company I kept, for a while. It wasn't actually the duck, but might as well have been.

Over-saturated proof of the company I kept, for a while. I’m over being saturated by these tainted memories.

And now for the present moment. Or, more correctly, earlier today, and earlier this summer. Time is such a slippery thing. I’ve had a swim virtually every day this year. It is becoming somewhat of a ‘ritual’ or ‘practice’. I don’t like to miss a day, so plan things around the tides. I’m no longer obsessed with high tide since realising there is actually a window of swimming opportunity about 3 hours either side of a full tide, a total of about 6 possible swimming hours each day. Fantastic!

I have been doing proper swimming. Freestyle. Took me a while to get the breathing sorted but it was worth persevering.

The water temperature has cooled a little in the last couple of weeks as it is autumn. I’m considering the purchase of a wetsuit to enable winter swimming as I’ve started fretting about the weather becoming too cold because I don’t want to stop or resort to an indoor chlorinated pool.

Despite the slightly chilly water it was a lovely sunny day today with an irresistible midday high tide at Point Chevalier beach.

Summery autumnal full tide at Point Chevalier beach today

Summery autumnal full tide at Pt Chevalier beach today

Point Chevalier again

The next few photos I found in the folder were taken on Friday January 24th revealing a sunny day at Point Chevalier beach. High tide was at 1.39pm, a lovely time for a swim as the incoming tide warms up the water a bit as it creeps shoreward over sun baked sand.

High tide on a sunny day at Point Chevalier beach

High tide on a sunny day at Point Chevalier beach

Heavy heart today. It is difficult to put into words without slipping into cliche, or overdoing it. But I thought of quite a good way of describing ‘the dumping‘. He took me on a long walk up a steep hill in order to share a beautiful view with me. We walked for a while and he assured me it would be worthwhile. I had doubts, but took his word for it and kept going. We arrived at the destination he had chosen. He was right. We walked to the edge of a high cliff to take in the expansive view. He was holding me as we stood there, relaxed, transfixed on the wonders of the world. Then he pushed me off the cliff. And as I don’t have a particularly strong safety net of family support, I crashed right down and smashed to bits on the rocks below.

Sand, sea and sky on a sunny day

Sand, sea and sky on a sunny day

This clifftop situation links back to when my parents did a similar thing, but without the view. They just pushed me off the cliff, so to speak, but I wasn’t even on a cliff, more like a kerb. The pushed me into the gutter, rejecting and abandoning me for the best part of a year when I was 17 years old. But, in fact, I had been abandoned emotionally many years earlier but didn’t realise it. Trying to get emotional support from parents who don’t give it really is like banging your head against a brick wall. Emotional support is more-or-less invisible, so you don’t really know when you are not getting it because you can’t understand why and don’t believe there are parents who won’t provide it. But emotional support is one of the simplest things in the world. All it involves is actually listening to someone, taking notice of them, keeping them in mind. My mother is expert at assumptions. Assumptions kill relationships, all relationships. Emotional support erases assumptions. Assumptions erase emotional support. It is that simple.

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.

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.


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

Another rough day

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 flattened Pt Chevalier beach

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

Evidence of a higher than usual high tide at Pt Chevalier beach

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