Topic: Strata - Pilot Point

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Pilot Point begins at the southern boundary of Rapanui South.  Specifically at the Pilot Point cave that I have been documenting.  Pilot Point has two boundaries.  The Tasman Sea is on its western side while the Tongaporutu River is on its southern boundary.  A substantial arch is situated at the corner where the Point turns sharply to landward (travelling east but facing south).  A ‘Family of Rocks’ inhabits this zone on the Tonga River side of the arch.



27 April 2003  

PHO2007-189 and PHO2008-881

The Pilot Point cave is where the Tongaporutu Project Proper began.  I was so ignorant at this time that I didn’t know that the large boulders shown in PHO2007-189 had only recently fallen down from the cliff above.  I even sat and had lunch on one of them.

Just before taking photo PHO2008-881, my tripod head packed up.  Due to the low light, this meant that I couldn’t obtain the depth of field that I wanted.  After a lot of cursing,I vowed to return in a fortnight’s time with a repaired tripod and repeat this photo.  When I did return on the 18th May, everything had changed.  Gobsmacked, I thought that if things were changing so quickly, then perhaps I should record them.


13 July 2003  

PHO2008-058, PHO2008-059

These two photos feature the magnificent Pilot Point arch.  The rocks in front of it I later called the ‘family of rocks’.  Also shown are White Cliffs and Mt Egmont.  The rocks in the foreground are only rarely uncovered like this.  To have it so calm in the middle of winter was an unexpected bonus.  The only reason I took this photo from this angle was because a fellow photographer had gone up to the top of Pilot Point to photograph from the more usual viewpoint.  Not wanting to repeat what he was doing, forced me to look for a different perspective.

27 July 2003  


I grew to love this beautiful green algae that embellished many of the cliffs.  The area in which they inhabit is known as the splash zone.  Of further interest is an unusual ‘soccer ball’ rock formation protruding from the cliff face immediately above the algae.  These soccer ball concretions are quite a prominent feature on some of the cliffs on Beach Two.



20 July 2008  

PHO2011-1243, PHO2011-1253, PHO2011-1256

SUPER-STORM EVENT.  Storm One.  This storm took out the beautiful Pilot Point arch.  (PHO2011-1243 and 1253).  Also, this cliff/arch collapse was so massive, that it triggered a daughter collapse at the Pilot Point cave.  This was where the project proper began.  At the cave, where an arch had once stood there was now a free-standing ROCK STACK that I have nick-named ‘Pat’s Stack’.  This is because I was the first person to see it.

12 October 2008  


This triangle shaped boulder emerged from the destruction of the Pilot Point arch on the 20th July.  I was particular drawn to it’s shape and the lovely wavy rock strata pattern.

The triangle rock is part of a new family of rocks.  They have joined the original family of rocks situated at Pilot Point that I am currently documenting.

12 November 2008  


This clearly shows the stratification in the cliff where the Pilot Point arch sheared off.



3 June 2009  


The triangle shaped rock now has a small colony of green algae growing near its top.  Interestingly, nothing has colonised the lovely wavy patterned, lighter coloured strata seam that predominates in this rock.  Also, some of this strata has been carved off.  This was to be expected due to wave action over time.

2 December 2009  


The triangle shaped rock currently sits in a small pool of water.  The lovely, wavy lighter coloured strata has suffered more wave action damage.  The green algae colony has spread and is now joined by some small mussels.  Though the sand level is quite high, this rock, along with its larger companions, sit high on the beach compared with their sinking older family members.



27 June 2010  


The triangle shaped rock is well wedged into the sand.  Most of its beautiful patterned strata has now been covered by large mats of mussel spat.  It will be interesting to see how this evolves over time.


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