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.


The tide is not high


Mission Bay fountain


Sunny cloud drifting across Mission Bay


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.


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.


Solidified ‘dunes’ on the left at Pt Chevalier



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.


Barely treading water

I’m getting further and further behind as time slips into the future. When this blog was first thought of, there were only two days of swims to recall. By the time the blog actually came to light, another week had been added. Now, the date is December 29 and I’m only just relating swims that occurred on the 18th, 11 days ago. Lol. As if they even matter. And, when lol starts a sentence, should it be capitalised? And, is ‘Lol’ a sentence in itself? Strictly speaking, it doesn’t contain a subject. Lol = ‘laugh out loud’. But, the implication is that I am the one laughing out loud. So, lol = ‘I am laughing out loud’ = a complete sentence.

One big time-waster in this process is photographs. They don’t sit where I want them to on the page and it takes ages for me to sort this out.

Another casualty of the backlog is the parallel commentary on our weird world. I’m so intent on relating each and every swim that this chit-chat is not coming up for air. And, the blank mind that presents me when I’m faced with a blank blog post is also a problem. Thoughts that seemed worthy of inclusion just evaporate. The tide is out.

So, what’s the answer? No pictures? Minimise beach talk? That would leave only the thoughts. My thoughts, made physical. This whole blog is a product of thoughts, with a few pictures to validate that an event actually happened, aside from writing the blog itself.

Anyway, high tide today is 20 minutes away so I’m going to get ready to have a swim. Although, by the time this post is published, that high tide would have been transformed into its accompanying low. Or the next high. Just like human psychology.

It’s raining. I’m all togged up with nowhere to go. Swimming in the rain is a bit comical because keeping the towel dry is difficult. But the rain is a bit too heavy right now and although the air temperature is quite warm it seems like a bit of a mission. It would be different if I could walk to the beach but I can’t. Next time I move house that will be a high priority. Looks like the rain has eased off. I will have just missed high tide, although I tend to think that the tide at Pt Chev beach is high about 10 minutes after the time stated in the mighty tome due to the distance the tide takes to travel up the harbour from Westhaven.


Today’s high tide mark


Grey day, grey beach

Well I made it just after high tide, which was stated to be at 5.07pm today, but it was probably about 5.20pm by the time the tide reached Pt Chevalier beach. I arrived just after that, and the photo on the left shows evidence of this because the water is just below the most recent high tide mark. The high tide today was a low high, so there are older high tide marks above today’s one.

I’ve broken one of my rules here as this beach visit actually occurred today, so is being recorded out of order. There are still numerous visits from December 18th that have not yet been included. Nevertheless, it is good to post this on the same day as the swim, I can still remember certain details. Showers of rain, a few other swimmers, murky water, westerly wind. It has been a busy little while and I’m very tired today.

Early tide, late tide

No swim for me yesterday! High tide clashed with a previous engagement. So, I can catch up on a few of those beaches and days, busying myself in beaches in an attempt to fix something that is broken.

Morning and evening tides, morning and evening swims. Tuesday 17th December, Pt Chevalier beach, high tides 8.17am and 8.35pm.


Early morning at Pt Chev Beach

This photo may look a bit drab, but that’s because the sun finds it difficult to shine on Pt Chevalier beach early in the morning due to sun rising behind steep slopes and high trees.

Even though a few slivers of sunshine manage to strike across the beach, the water is shaded until a few metres out, which means that overcoming the challenge of cool shady sand and shallow water very rewarding.


Looking towards the shore at Pt Chev beach

I like to take photos of water. It is a bit of an obsession.

I took a photo while standing in the sea facing the shore. Here comes the sun!

Water water everywhere…


Restless water


Water, sun and shadows







And then it was evening! A second swimmable high tide on the 17th at Pt Chevalier beach. There is not much light in pictures taken just after sunset.


A relatively calm evening


Pohutukawa tree at Pt Chev beach

More than one week of swimming has already gone by

There are many beaches in Auckland, where I live. It is nine days since I had my first swim of the summer, at Pt Chevalier beach 6pm on Saturday December 14. I’m obsessed with high tide. It is a deadline I can meet. But, in practical terms, high tide is important in Auckland as many of the beaches here are unswimmable at low tide.

Last Monday I decided to start up a blog. A beach a day. After that decision I took photos of each beach each day. But it took until today to get the blog up and running. So, I now have a week of unused beach photos.

I’m unsure whether to pretend that it is a week ago now, and go back, and enter an entry every day, backdating each post, in a manner resembling time travel.

This blog is a record of travel without travel. The colour palette reflected in the photos will not vary a great deal. It is a record of my stay in a place called Stasis. It is our Christmas break here in New Zealand and I’m not going anywhere. Most of the nation goes to the beach at this time – to other beaches – exotic beaches.

But I’m staying here, planning to go to a beach a day.