Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mercer bay – Near Piha

Before heading up to Waitangi I spent a few days at Piha with friends. It was nice to get away from everything for a few days, no laptop, cell phone, internet, politics etc. I found that I wasn’t as reliant on caffeine as I thought I, was drinking very little coffee over the weekend. My friends are studying engineering for the most part and the lack of political discussion was a bit frustrating. The blatant sexism displayed by the guys that were with us was pretty disturbing and I challenged people on several occasions during which they tried to turn it into a joke and change the subject.

On one of the days we visited a beach called Mercer bay, to get into the bay meant climbing down a several hundred meter high cliff. The route in and out is near vertical in places and ropes had been put in place to aid the climb. The bay was stunning, a flat open beach surrounded on three sides by towering cliffs and with the ocean on the other. It was a completely different experience than any man made environment I have ever been in.

One of the expedition, diretly behind him is where we climbed down

Through one of the cliffs was a pitch black cave filled when the tide is full, in which literally no one could see their hand in front of their face. The cave was lined with sea weed in places and the roof dropped and rose without warning. The cave came out into the ocean and a swim/paddle was needed to get to the next opening in the rock. After splashing our way around with the tide almost completely out we walked into one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, a natural cave the size of a huge fatory with a circular opening at the end about 50 meters wide and rising several hundred meters to blue skys. It was like a cathedral but far more beautiful with birds circling throughout the cave.

The sides of the cave near the water were lined with multi coloured bivalves such as clusters of mussels and the occasional oysters. Crabs easily the size of my hand hid in crevices and starfish attatched themselves to walls. The diversity and abundance of life was beautiful and indicated that not many people know about or come to the cave. I kinda wish I had been able to get a camera to the cave but at the same time I doubt pictures would have done justice.

Portugese Man Of War - Dead

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