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Recent Items

Driftwood amongst the budding dunes.

Storms brought driftwood, large and small

The storms at the end of May 2022 ate away at the Manga Pirau Street beach entrance again, causing a 40 cm drop-off into driftwood. And they brought driftwood, large and small high onto the beach. It reached as far as the blue post at the beach end of the north track off Reay Mackay Grove, and into the area…

Kāpiti coastal hazard information

Kāpiti Coast District Council have just released (May 2022) a pile of Coastal science information. They say: We asked independent consultancy Jacobs New Zealand Limited to assess our district for coastal hazards, from Ōtaki in the north to Paekākāriki in the south. The assessment updates previous coastal hazard assessments of the Kāpiti Coast District shoreline. It identifies areas susceptible to…

Swell Warnings explained!

Wellington Region Emergency Management Office says: Swell Warnings explained! 🌊 For those of you who have seen the swell warnings come out and are wanted to know a bit more about how these work - take a look at this great explainer video put together by @MetService. Essentially: waves come in all different heights. To get “significant swell height” they…

On a small lake, black swans with cygnets, adults with necks craned, and a mallard duck flying splashily away.

Black Swans and their cygnets

Back on the 4th of May 2022 I spotted 'our' two black swans on the lake at the end of the road. They had 4 cygnets with them. I didn't see them again until today (23 May), and it seems they've lost one of the small flock. 

Map and graph showing effects of different combinations of climate scenarios and land subsidence.

Sea level rise and Waikawa Beach subsidence

We’ve all heard about sea level rise, but it’s also important to know that parts of Aotearoa New Zealand are subsiding, including Waikawa Beach. Add that to the sea level rise and the forecast effects become a bit different. Sea level rise isn’t uniform around the world — the science over recent years has shown that things are more complicated.

The sad state of our river for summer swimming

Horizons Regional Council, via LAWA (Land Air Water Aotearoa), test the river at the footbridge for E. Coli once per week over summer and make the results publicly available, referring to their Traffic Light System. I've now collated the results from 2016 to 2022 and have included them below. Note that start and end dates haven't always been strictly observed,…

A coach full of people outside a white building. The coach is drawn by a team of horses.

Spanking down the level beach, in a horse-drawn coach

The beach has always been a road — so says anyone around here. In my mind, that meant that occasionally a coach would manoeuvre its way along the sand. But apparently Waikawa Beach used to be fair thronging with travellers, as the following excerpt from a very interesting book makes clear: From Foxton to Wellington in Cobb and Company’s coach…

Spiky spinifex seedheads on the plants on the dunes.

Spinifex holds sand and builds dunes

Did you know that native Spinifex and Pīngao grasses help hold sand and build the dunes, while Marram Grass was planted by Europeans because cows would eat it? In times gone by, before we had a robust roading system, cows (and other stock) were often driven along the beaches. In recent years Horowhenua District Council have provided thousands of spinifex…

Waikawa river mouth, as seen by drone.

Waikawa Estuary photos April 2022

Twitter user SirWB recently posted several drone photos of the Waikawa Estuary and river mouth. It’s very interesting to see the area from above — it’s changed so much in the last few months.

SCreenshot from Stellarium showing Jupietr and venus next to one another.

Jupiter and Venus 'star' together on 01 May 2022

You may have been watching the evolving pre-dawn line up of planets in the eastern sky. I mentioned them at 4 Planets and the crescent Moon and When planets align. On 01 May 2022, just before dawn, there’s a special treat when Jupiter and Venus will be so close together it may be hard to tell them apart. Both planets…