Topic: Stacks - Gibbs' Fishing Point

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Gibbs’ Fishing Point separates the Four Brothers beach from Beach One.  It has only one rock stack – GULL ROCK.


GULL ROCK.  This is a large rock stack that is situated on the seaward side of Gibbs’ Fishing Point.  Specifically, Gull Rock sits about 30 feet to seaward of the long wall-like cliff that overlooks ‘The Wall’ that houses Cathedral Cave and the Four Brothers Beach at it northern boundary, with Beach One at its southern boundary.  That is, the cliff runs from north to south with Gull Rock being located nearer to the northern end of the cliff wall.


I believe that Gull Rock calved off the cliff in a whole piece.  That is, a ‘knob’ at the leading edge of the northern cliff wall, most likely fractured, effectively splitting the knob off.  I don’t believe it emerged from a cave roof collapse as none appear to be able to form here to sufficient interior depth for such a cave to occur.  Also, another large knob of cliff promontory at the extreme northern end will most likely carve off to become another large rock stack in the future.


Gull Rock has two cracks radiating down from the top on the northern/landward side.  One is larger than the other.  This rock stack has small patches of ice plants inhabiting  its top.  Gulls do nest there.  Gull Rock is subject to big swells and storm induced overtopping spray plumes.  (This rock stack is approximately 80 feet in height, but spray plumes can easily top100 feet in severe weather conditions.)  Storm conditions excepted, it is mostly outside the wash zone.  It is subject though to both incoming and backwash waves.  In short, it takes a real pounding, but is thus far amazingly resilient.







4.2.2001   PHO2008-831


The photo was taken from the Locked Gate above Beach One with a telephoto lens.  The view looks north and shows Gull Rock situated off the seaward wall of the Gibbs’ Fishing Point.  The largest Fledgling rock stack (one of two), is also shown, (in the foreground).  This resides on Beach One.







27.4.2002   PHO2008-860, 862


These two different views of Gull Rock were taken from the Gibbs’ Fishing Point.  I remember it being stinking hot on that day, despite the overcast weather.







30.6.2003   PHO2008-030


The photo shows the denuded cliff-top and part of Gull Rock.  It is being hammered by waves.  Spray plumes reaching over 100 feet in height drench these cliffs during storm conditions, hence the lack of vegetation.



13.8.2003   PHO2008-171


CLIFF SEQUENCING.  Gull Rock is shown from the Four Brothers beach, specifically below Gibbs’ Fishing Point.



6.9.2003   PHO2008-1023


There was a ferocious wind blowing off the sea.  I had my 300 mm lens for some close-ups.  One image shows wave action at the base of Gull Rock.



29.9.2003   PHO2008-208


ALPHA STORM.  The photo shows the waves breaking far out to sea with the top of Gull Rock in the foreground.  Could only get one shot at this exposed location as the wind, rain and salt spray were coming directly at me.  Spray plumes were coming right over the top and onto the paddocks for some distance behind me.



1.12.2003   PHO2008-443, 446


A fine day.  This was the first time I accessed the fishing ledge lower down the cliff.  I wasn’t very comfortable being at this spot as it is regularly overtopped by spray plumes in bad weather conditions.  I got a clear shot of Gull Rock with White Cliffs in the background.  The photo also shows the gap separating it from the vertical cliff wall.  This was also the first time I accessed a cliff promontory I called the Brothers Overlook.  Using both my 135 mm and 55 mm lenses, I photographed looking south along the Four Brothers beach.  Gull Rock is in the background.



3.12.2003   PHO2008-1136, 1148


I again accessed the Brothers Overlook.  This time I had my 55 mm, 105 mm, 135 mm and 300 mm lenses so I wouldn’t miss anything.  The weather was grots in that it was overcast with drizzle.  Although there was no wind, a large swell was running.  Despite this, there were some people fishing from the fishing ledge.  I got a nice image with a large wave and with Gull Rock in the background.  Later on, I was blessed with magic light as the sun broke through the cloud base just before setting.







18.1.2004   PHO2008-507


This was the first time I had accessed Beach One.  The weather was overcast which was good for cliff photography.  At the northern end of the beach, I photographed the large rock stack on the seaward side of the cliffs.  Previously I had only seen it from Gibbs’ Fishing Point – the clifftop.  IT WAS HERE THAT I GAVE GULL ROCK ITS NAME.  The top of the rock stack slopes downwards from east to west.  That is, it slopes downwards towards the sea, not downwards towards the cliff wall.



23.1.2004   PHO2008-537-538


CLIFF SEQUENCING on Beach One.  A fine day.  Took a couple of photos of Gull rock.  One shows more of the cliff, while the other is a closer view of Gull Rock.  As of 12.9.2009, I have not yet managed to access the seaward side of the cliff wall to the rear of Gull Rock.





After days of persistent rain, I wanted to go up to Tongaporutu to see if there were any more cliff collapses.  I walked along the cliff top towards Gull Rock and Beach One.  Due to the rain, the flax bushes, some surviving banksias and pohutukawas looked quite healthy.  Usually at this time of the year, they would be gasping, as would the grass.  A few black-backed gulls flying above Gull Rock took the usual exception to a human in their domain.  Waterfalls were gushing off the cliffs.



8.2.2004   PHO2008-675


Wet again.  I accessed a cliff promontory above Beach One that I later called the Fledglings Overlook.  This affords views of both the northern end of the beach where the Fledglings rock stacks are located, and the southern part of the beach.  I took a couple of photos of the Fledglings in washy evening light.  One of the photos also included some of Gull Rock.



15.2.2004   PHO2008-678


SUPER-STORM EVENT.  Super-Storm One.  This was the first of a trilogy of storms that occurred over three successive weekends.  The image shown here was taken above the reef on Beach One.  Gull Rock is in the distance.  This photo gives more of a location view.



22.2.2004   PHO2008-681, 684


SUPER STORM EVENT.  Super-Storm Two  This was the second of a trilogy of storms.  I was hoping to access the Four Brothers beach among other places.  However, after a week of apocalyptic weather – storm after storm, starting with the one that outdid Cyclone Bola last Sunday, the 15th, I wasn’t overly optimistic.  However, with huge swells, I thought I might get a few shots of waves slamming into the cliffs at Gibbs’ Fishing Point and of them sending up gargantuan spray plumes.  This proved to be the case.  Some images show Gull Rock being battered by pounding surf.  A brave black-backed gull stood atop it, but not for long.  If there had been any chicks on top of Gull Rock then they would now be goneburgers.



7.3.2004   PHO2008-714, 1225, 1229


While on Beach One documenting the damage caused by February’s super-storm event, I took several photos of Gull Rock.







20.8.2005   PHO2008-1401


This photo, taken from the Four Brothers Beach, clearly shows Gull Rock sitting off Gibbs’ Fishing Point.



21.8.2005   PHO2008-1429


I had come up to Tonga especially to document some of its caves.  Access to the beach below Gibbs’ Fishing Point is not often possible.  Today it was, just, and I managed to obtain a closer view of Gull Rock.





It was very hot.  Clouds were boiling up in the sky, much like tropical monsoon weather.  Heavy rain was forecast.  No wind to speak of.  It is nesting season and there were some black-backed gulls present on Gull Rock.









Sunday.  Gibbs Fishing Point.  I walked down to the cliff edge, rugged up against the wind.  My face was stung with wind whipped soil particles and some got into my eyes.  Five sheep on the wrong side of the fence walked ahead of me towards Gull Rock.  Atop Gull Rock was a young black backed gull chick, along with a protective parent.  I didn’t think much to its chances of survival if the predicted gales and big seas arrive today.  (Monday, as I am typing this.)



31.1.2006   PHO2008-1566, 1573, 1575


During a film shoot with Sticky Pictures, I managed to do some aerial photography.  Though not tack sharp, these images of Gull Rock still provide a valuable visual record from a rarely available viewpoint.



30.3.2006   PHO2008-1602


The Tasman Sea was experiencing an exceptional calm period and I wanted to make the most of it.  Again, a very low tide, 0.1m, allowed me to venture far out to the wave-line.  I took a photo showing Cathedral Cave, Gull Rock, Whitecliffs and Mt Egmont.  A good location image.



20.6.2006   PHO2008-1923, 1630


The weather had been quite brutal of late, but today was a weather window between storm systems.  I strolled down to the Fledglings Overlook above Beach One.  The grass on the knoll was badly burned by the wind.  Looking north, I photographed the largest Fledgling with Gull Rock in the background..  Later on I accessed the Brothers Overlook and took some evening photos with the 105 mm lens that looked south along the Four Brothers beach.  The images included Pinocchio, Gibbs’ Fishing Point, Gull Rock, White Cliffs and Mt Egmont.



26.7.2006   PHO2008-1960


It had been a blue sky day with Mt Egmont in clear view.  In this photo, Gull Rock shows up well in front of a well lit White Cliffs.







15.7.2007   PHO2011-1015

Although the photo was taken just past Pinocchio on the Four Brothers beach, the view leads down to Gibbs’ Fishing Point with Gull Rock clearly shown on the seaward side.  Mt Egmont is in the background.  This is a nice location image taken on a calm, fine day.  It was taken in the late afternoon.



12.9.2007   PHO2011-1043


The day dawned fine as in no wind, but there was wall to wall high, whitish grey cloud.  In other words, dullsville.  I planned to access Beach One as this kind of light is great for cliff detail photography.  I got a couple of images of Gull Rock from the beach just north of the Fledglings.







23.1.2008   PHO2011-1152


Tuesday, 22nd saw the remnants of Cyclone Funa hit Taranaki and the lower North Island.  Though the tropical depression had unleashed powerful winds and generated big swells, it dumped virtually nothing of the wet stuff that the land is crying out for.  This summer has thus far been exceptionally hot and dry, thanks to La Nina.  At Gibbs Fishing Point I took a photo of Gull Rock.  Though partially obscured by the cliff, it clearly shows the two large cracks on the northern side of the rock stack.  These cracks appeared to be getting larger.  Also, perched on the highest point, are a pair of black-backed gulls.  Though over-exposed to a degree, all detail is preserved.





Today, there is a light northerly, sea mist, wall to wall cloud and light rain as the country is assailed by a family of feeble fronts.  It is hot and humid and there has been some beautiful rain, but we need heaps more.  The parched paddocks are crying out “Pretty please, water us!”


As I walked towards the southern end of Gibbs Fishing Point that looks down on the Fledglings and Beach One, I noticed that the pair of black-backed gulls I saw on the 23rd January had a single brown fledgling.  It appeared to be of flyable size, but none flew off as I passed.  It must have been there on my last visit but out of sight.



20.4.2008   PHO2011-1211


This is only the second time I have accessed the fishing ledge from which Gibbs’ Fishing Point takes its name.  It was a blue sky day with a clear Mt Egmont.  This is a rare photo that shows Gull Rock close up from its northern side.  Though the landward side is in shadow, detail is clearly visible.  It also gives a better perspective of the gap that separates Gull Rock from the cliff wall.  The two cracks are clearly visible, especially the larger one.  A second photo shows more of the fishing ledge with only a partial, shaded view of Gull Rock.  Mt Egmont is visible in both images.



3.6.2008   PHO2011-1879


With the digital camera, I was able to get a close-up of Gull Rock.



24.7.2008   PHO2011-1265


SUPER-STORM EVENT.  Super-Storm Two.  The second in a trilogy of storms pounded the North Island yesterday with north-westerly winds, heavy rain and huge swells.  The photo here was taken from above the Fledglings on Beach One.  Although the larger Fledgling dominates the frame, Gull Rock is visible in the background.  A wave, splashing up the cliff wall partially obscures Gull Rock from view.



18.8.2008   PHO2011-1285-1286


I am still recovering from the flu.  This is the fourth week and I am still lumbered with chest congestion.  Today is a sort of break in the terrible weather we have been having these past few weeks.  The photos showing Gull Rock were taken at the locked gate above Beach One and not from Gibbs Fishing Point.  The first image, a vertical view, shows a massive soil cliff collapse that is bleeding down onto the beach.  The Super Storm event of last month triggered this.  In the distance is Gull Rock.  The second image shows the road and my car, Cecilia, with Gull Rock in the distance.  Specifically, it shows how close the cliff has eaten back towards the road.  This road has since been closed to sightseer traffic.





A short fine weather window blessed us today.  As I strolled past Gull Rock towards the overlook to Beach One, I spotted two black backed gulls resting there.







22.7.2009   PHO2011-1615


Today was a weather window between active weather fronts.  It is fine but with very strong westerlies.  I visited the overlook above Beach One.  I took one photo looking down on the Fledglings with Gull Rock in the background.  The conditions were very bright due to surf spray.


19.9.2009   PHO2011-1902, 1905


Photographed Gull Rock mostly with the digital camera.  The first location was at the Locked Gate above Beach One.  This mostly shows the old cliff erosion with Gull Rock in the background.  PHO2011-1905 was taken from the Four Brothers Beach and shows Gull Rock in conjunction with the Gibbs’ Fishing Point.  Cathedral Cave and Mt Egmont are also featured.  Calm conditions and a low tide of 0.1m meant I could get further out to seaward for a better perspective.


Of further interest, PHO2011-1905 also shows a large top to bottom fracture that bisects the seaward portion of Gibbs’ Fishing Point.  In time, I believe that this will calve off to form a new rock stack.



2.12.2009   PHO2011-1687


Due to foggy conditions, this side of Gull Rock showed up well.  The cracks in her landward side wall also showed up well.  On her top, the Maori ice plants (Horokaka) were looking particularly green, thanks to all the wet weather we have been having.  They were also flowering, being pink in colour.  A pair of black-backed gulls were parked on top of one of the ice plant clumps.  They are a breeding pair.  I took a couple of photos with Gull Rock being cleanly separated by the sea.







31.3.2010   PHO2011-1796


A very low 0.1m tide was due at 5.41 pm.  The beach level had built up even more than when I visited on Sunday the 28th.  I had brought up my panoramic camera as I was hoping to get some good late light images of the Four Brothers Beach in particular.


Due to a combination of an exceptionally low tide combined with an exceptionally high beach state and an extended calm period, I was for the FIRST TIME EVER, able to access the EXTREME SEAWARD SIDE OF GIBBS’ FISHING POINT.  From here I was able to get a GROUND LEVEL VIEW OF GULL ROCK FROM THE FOUR BROTHERS BEACH SIDE OF GIBBS’ FISHING POINT.  The remarkably straight line mega-wall and White Cliffs in the background were bonuses.  There was even a black-backed gull parked atop Gull Rock for good measure!  From memory I got at least four images of this very special, very rarely accessible place.  This was despite my fumbling with the camera, hoping I’d calculated the correct exposure, scared of where I was and praying for reasonable light.  I was so taken up with what I was doing, I didn’t really observe the state of Gull Rock.  Superficially it appeared to be little changed.

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