On Friday I went out to Onoke Spit which is south of Lake Ferry on the South Wairarapa Coast with Steve and Maggie Mae.
It is a narrow strip of land between Lake Onoke and the sea and is a special conservation area where several species of native sea birds breed and there are various types of native flora unique to the area.
This was the first time for several months I have been out to the sea and it was invigorating and calming to be there. I had read that there was the remains of a shipwreck on the spit and I was keen to see it.
When we walked over from the car to the seaward side of the spit the southerly wind became stronger and I could feel my nylon jacket flapping and battering around my ears. The sun was shinning but there was a bank of clouds coming in over the southern headland.
The spit stretched up ahead of me towards Lake Ferry and I knew we had to walk for an hour before we would be anywhere near the shipwreck.
As I walked I realised I had forgotten how much there was to see, and hear and feel. No other people walking or fishing, the only people we saw, the whole time we were there, was a couple heading north past us on a four wheel drive vehicle.
I love finding patterns in the sand, man-made and natural. The stones are "au natural"
There were groups of different sea birds on the sand - gulls and small terns as well as black backed gulls.
And swarming over the sea I could see sheerwaters making their way south, later I would see them coming north.
And birds in the sky swirling and calling above and around us.
And this, I watched it, waiting for it to get closer to the shore, thinking it was a large piece of wood washing in to shore on the tide. Then we both watched it and Steve decided it was a seal and it did appear to move as if it was alive. It seemed to roll over and then put it's 'head' up out of the sea and disappeared. I think now it was probably a basking shark feeding on plankton not far from the shore. What do you think?
We cut across onto the top of the spit looking for any signs of a shipwreck and not knowing exactly what to look for.
The Agenda (Addenda) foundered in 1904 with no loss of life and this is what remains. She was an American barquentine built in 1895, a four masted sailing ship. What you can see are the iron hull fasteners.
On the top of the spit there are wind swept plants, drift wood and the nesting places of some New Zealand seabirds such as the Caspian Tern and the Banded Dotterel. In the spring dogs and people are not welcome on the spit near the nesting birds.
A wonderful day, followed by late lunch at Everest in Featherston - a hot pie and chips to warm up. Even though the sun shone it was a bit chilly as the sky clouded over.
I haven't been to Lake Ferry since the 8 January, a month ago in fact. The weather has been so hot and with the black "sand" I am sure it gets very hot close to the ground. The last time I went MM took off back to the car as soon as I looked like returning and waited in the shade under a ute.
So going today I was really interested to see what had happened to the beach.
As I drive down towards the car park I can see white capes on Lake Onoke and then when I get out of the car the sea is big and the wind is strong. I haven't seen it like this for a long time. Taking off my shoes and putting on my gumboots and staying upright is a bit of a mission.
The wind is blowing from the south onto the beach and pushing the rising tide through the cut and into the lake.
When I walk down to the beach I look across the cutting to Onoke Spit and see the water rushing along the side of the spit and cutting into the sand.
As I walk closer to the beach, the sea gets louder and the waves batter against each other like drunk fighters in a bar room brawl.
Down by the sea the wind batters my ears and I can image that my ears are heavy cloth sails flapping against my head. Suddenly I nearly lose my hat.
Further along the beach I watch the patterns and lines made by the sea as the waves throw themselves against the shore and rush up the beach and then retreat.
Then I remember I had brought some of my pots from the sawdust kiln to photograph among the grey gravel/sand of the beach. So I head for the middle section of the beach where the driftwood is dumped by the tides.
When I made these containers I was mindful of the colours at Lake Ferry and then so excited when I emptied the kiln. I think I will get a selfie stick to see if I can photograph closer to the ground. Getting down and lying on the sand could be maybe a goal. All my pinch bowls just show the upper surface but there are some lovely patterns and marks on the sides.
Debbie Lyddon always photographs her finished work in the relevant environment and this was something I learnt at her workshop in Switzerland. We all took our work down into the paddocks that had inspired it and photographed it there.
When I get back to the car I collect my plastic milk bottle and take it down to Lake Onoke to collect some water to take home to do some dyeing with seaweed on silk and maybe linen. As I take the lid of the bottle off, the wind catches in the mouth of the bottle and vibrates. I twist and turn the bottle in the wind and imagine I am part of a sea orchestra.
When I was walking along the beach I found this piece of kelp tied to a length of nylon fishing line. I wondered what it was for - a pretend kite, a pretend fish? What do you imagine it could have been for?