Posts Tagged ‘Waimairi Beach’

Yesterday’s weather was perfect for the beach. Many families were out, splashing in the shallows, building sand castles, or walking their dogs.

Sunday on Waimairi Beach

A large bird had been washed up on the beach and we wondered what it was.

Bird corpse

My digitally deft companion sent a photo to iNaturalist where it was identified as a Giant Petrel. It had obviously been in the sea for some time as it was entwined with kelp. The traditional seafarers’ name for this bird is stinkpot because they have an intense foul smell like rotting flesh. Luckily any smell had been washed away before this corpse came to shore.

Giant Petrels are scavengers who eat penguin, albatross, seal and whale carrion, and kelp, as well as fish and squid. Adult birds can walk strongly on land where they aggressively compete for carrion and prey, being the only petrels that will feed while on land.

Alive this is a bird to fear
and you might not want to be near

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Flotsam on the beach this morning was thicker than we’ve seen before.

Flotsam with ships on the horizon

Two horse riders were taking advantage of the firm sand, and keeping clear of loose dogs.

Horses on beach

The wind was strong and cold, and we admired a kite flying overhead, then realised the man controlling it had a kind of bicycle which was being pulled along by wind power.

Kite rider

So many different sights to see
they gave our walk fresh novelty

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Our beach walk this morning coincided with the 4 Paws Marathon. This is an opportunity for dogs and their owners to run through Bottle Lake Forest and along the beach. There were several options ranging from 2.4km to a full marathon of 42.2 km. Runners wore bibs with their name and their dog’s name on them.

Some people ran without dogs. Running along the beach was hard going because the tide was high and the sand soft.

I’ve heard that dogs can suffer injuries if they’re over-exercised, so I hope all the human entrants were carefully aware of their dog’s capabilities.

Ziggy thinks the whole idea is silly and prefers to spend his days sleeping on the couch.

While dogs may run for many miles
our cat just curls up warm and smiles

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Who sleeps here?

Someone has carefully constructed this entrance way into the sand dunes.  I can imagine it as the dwelling place for some amphibious creature who scurries up there at night to sleep peacefully while the waves crash below.

Horse riders on the beach

There were horses on the beach too, enjoying a run on the sand and a splash in the surf.

Violets in the gutter

When I got home I noticed the white violets have colonised the gutter and are happily flowering there.  They don’t impede drainage so they’re welcome to multiply.

So many sights beside the foam
and others that are nearer home

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Fairy doorways

Fairy doorways have materialised along the path to Waimairi Beach.  They delight children and adults alike, and remind me of those I found along the riverbank a couple of years ago.

I think the fairies may have been at work in our garden too, as this narcissus has suddenly appeared.  I’m sure it wasn’t there yesterday.


The other day it wasn’t there
today there’s magic everywhere


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My Ancestry DNA test results arrived today.  They show that 84% of my ancestors were from England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe, with 16% from Ireland and Scotland.  No startling surprises there.  My communities are East of England and New Zealand British Settlers, again to be expected.  I had hoped there might be more detail, and may find there is when I pursue the results further.

I linked my DNA to my Ancestry Family Tree and was offered a long list of possible cousins, some as remote as 6th cousins.  There were only two names I recognised.  It would be interesting to check them out, especially the few who are potentially 1st or 2nd cousins, but that’s unlikely to happen this month.  However, one of my 4th-6th cousins contacted me almost immediately.

Ruth and Cathryn on Waimairi Beach

I need to do my Te Reo homework home fun, and want to spend as much time as possible with my daughter Cathryn while she’s here.  Yesterday we explored the Arts Centre, and today we’ve been walking at Waimairi Beach.

There’s cousins I may like to reach
today I opted for the beach.

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Two empty chairs sit above the dunes at Waimairi Beach.  They’ve been there for several weeks, but we never see anyone sitting in them.

Since the wonderful earthquake memorial by Peter Majendie, empty white chairs always make me think of people who have died.  Perhaps these could be a memorial to the two people who perished in the Whakaari/White Island eruption and whose bodies have not been recovered?  Nearby is a pathway up the cliff – a kind of Stairway to Heaven?

I wonder what these chairs could mean
surf facing with the beach between

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We were surprised to find a shipwreck on Waimairi Beach this morning.  The boat had grounded and capsized late last night, and three people needed to be airlifted to hospital.

The boat, the Debbie Jane 9134,  was travelling from Akaroa to Kaikoura when it started to spin in circles and take in water.  The area where it was grounded has been taped off to keep people away.  We noticed a lot of debris on the beach, and later heard there had been a diesel spill so the beach is closed to swimmers.  By the time we returned the tide had come further in.

There were lots of people and dogs walking as usual and we did see some people in the water.  I imagine the boat might need to be towed to Lyttelton to be repaired.

There was a person on the deck
p’raps wondering how to fix this wreck



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A trip to the beach was ideal for a day when the temperature reached 30 degrees.  On any Sunday there are people walking purposefully and exercising their dogs.  Today there were hundreds relaxing and enjoying a taste of summer.

Last week the water was too cold to paddle, but today we were happy to wade in the cool water, observe all the activity, and savour the sunny day.

Swimmers and Surfers


Building sand castles


Water skiing


Shady umbrellas

Back home I had lunch outside on the patio, decided it was too hot to do any weeding, and sensibly had a siesta.

So many people by the sea
a pleasure that is ours for free

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Horses on the beach

Actually they were trotting sulkies we saw on our beach walk this morning.  The rain threatened but kept away for the duration.  The sun shone and even felt warm at times, although the southerly also made its presence felt.  Hats and gloves were needed for walkers, but the horses were warmed by their exercise.  It’s months since we’ve seen horses on the beach.  I guess it depends on the tides.  Today the high tide was well past and there was plenty of firm sand to walk or trot on.

They trotted past us at a pace
enjoying their shoreline race

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