Today I went to Ocean Beach on the South Wairarapa coast, south of Lake Ferry. I want to collect some small pieces of coloured seaweed for some dyeing experiments and just to go there.
To get there you have to drive east from Featherston and along the Western Lake Road which takes you past Lake Wairarapa. This is the third largest lake in the north island covering 78 sq kms or 30 sq miles and at it's deepest it is 2.5 mtrs deep. Nowadays the lake is classified as "supertropic" (highly polluted) because of the level of nitrates in the water from intensified agriculture in the area.
It is believed that Wairarapa means "glistening waters" but as you can see it was far from that today.
When we first arrive at the beach it is clear, windy and a bit cold, but it gradually gets more overcast and colder and begins to rain.
The wind was blowing along the beach from the east and it's effect on the sand and stones was quite marked.
I do love watching the sea and the waves as they break and make endless different patterns on the sand. Today the sea was flat and covered in wrinkles like slept in linen pyjamas and the noise of the waves breaking on the shore was almost continuous. At the shore the sand churned up and mixed through the sea making it grey.
Across from the sea are little baches, one flying an All Black's supporter's flag and one with a windmill to generate power.
They are all tucked in under a row of cliffs and I notice there are no power lines.
Up above high tidemark there are tyre tracks heading north and south, almost like a highway. If I had walked north along this "highway" I would have come to Onoke Spit which is directly opposite Lake Ferry. I suspect that people go there to catch whitebait as they do at Lake Ferry.
Today I collected coloured and different textured seaweed with the thought that I would dye some paper or linen but it is very smelly.
As I walk back to the car I can't help but notice again the bleached driftwood well above high tidemark and it reminds me of Westerns and collections of bleached animal bones in inhospitable deserts.