Topic: Stacks - Beach One

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Beach One is located immediately south of Gibbs’ Fishing Point.  It has two rock stacks.  Both are very close to each other and the cliff, and both are located at the extreme northern end of the beach.  I call them THE FLEDGLINGS.


Both of the Fledglings are located close to the cliff.  The smallest one is situated close to a corridor cave which is immediately south of it.  Due to its low height, this rock stack has no vegetation growing on it.  Its larger sibling which is immediately north of it, is quite a bit larger, but though higher than its smaller companion, is not really tall in height, being around 30 feet.  It also has a through arch at its northern end.  There is a type of succulent that colonises the top.  This same plant is also present on other rock stacks.  It provides handy nest sites.   Black backed gulls nest on the big Fledgling.


When photographing from the cliff top, for the most part, only the Big Fledging is visible, so whenever I mention “the Fledglings”, this usually means the Big Fledgling as it blocks its smaller sibling from view.  When both are visible or they have clearly been photographed together or separately, then I will mention both.


An old postcard from Pictorial Publications that is still being used, shows the Big Fledgling not long after it had calved off from the cliff.  In the postcard it is much bigger and has a distinctive sharp narrow ‘rear’ on its landward side that rises above the newly formed rock stack proper.  I don’t know how old this is, but I estimate that it is between 20 and 30 years old.







3.1.2001   PHO2008-823





This view looking south along Beach One shows the largest Fledgling.  The smaller Fledgling to the rear is always obscured from this angle.  Future entries will say “the Fledglings” etc., which though true, only the largest Fledgling rock stack is visible.



4.2.2001   PHO2008-831


The photo shown here was taken with a telephoto lens from the Locked Gate.  This is above Beach One.  It shows the largest Fledgling in the foreground.  Gull Rock is to the rear.  It is opposite Gibbs’ Fishing Point.




27 April 2002   PHO2008-863


This view looking south along Beach One, shows the largest Fledgling.  This was taken with my standard 105 mm lens (Pentax 6x7 film camera).







27.4.2003   PHO2008-885-886


These images were taken exactly a year to the day after the last ones taken on 27.4.2002.  They were taken with a 55 mm wide angle lens.



10.6.2003   PHO2008-912


I had come up to Tonga to photograph big waves slamming into the Wall.  It was freezing cold thanks to a roaring southerly.  However, I did get some great late light.



11.6.2003   PHO2008-025, 923


A fine day after yesterday’s freezing, wind blown conditions.  The photo was taken from the southern end of Gibbs’ Fishing Point.  This overlook gives a picture postcard view of the largest Fledgling on Beach One with Whitecliffs and a clear Mt Egmont in the background.



30.6.2003   PHO2008-031


This photo looking down on the Fledglings shows more of the cliff erosion.  Also, the weather was quite rough with a boisterous sea running.







18.1.2004   PHO2008-509


The first time I accessed Beach One.  It was hot with a lot of high cloud.  At the northern end of this mostly sandy beach were two squat rock stacks (later called the Fledglings), situated very close to high cliffs.  The smallest one appeared to have lost its top.  There were clusters of ice plants growing on the larger rock stack.  This stack also had a substantial arch at its northern end.  Guano splattered over this larger of the two Fledglings illustrated its popularity with the local black backed gull population.  The photo shows the arch on the largest Fledgling.  Gull Rock is shown in the background.



23.1.2004   PHO2008-541-543


CLIFF SEQUENCING.  This was done in fine weather.  Both of the Fledglings are shown with their background cliffs.  The smaller Fledgling is shown near the corridor cave entrance (Cave One, obscured).  On the cliff immediately to the right is a downward facing beautiful rock seam.  While photographing at this end of Beach One, I was mobbed by agitated black backed gulls.  They nest on the largest Fledgling.  Outlying rock stacks afford protection from land based predators such as rats, stoats, possums and worst of all, feral cats.


PHO2008-541 shows most of the largest Fledgling with a through-going arch at its northern end.  PHO2008-542 shows most of the smallest Fledgling, while PHO2008-543 shows part of the largest Fledgling (left) and most of the smallest Fledgling (right).



8.2.2004   PHO2008-675-676


Thundery and wet at first.  The Whitecliffs road was badly guttered in places due to heavy rain.  At the Fledglings Overlook, I took a couple of photos of the Fledglings in nice evening light.  Gull Rock is also shown in one of the images.



29.2.2004   PHO2008-694, 696


SUPER-STORM EVENT.  Super-Storm Three  The past two Sundays have delivered two severe storms.  And this weekend promised to deliver a third in the trilogy.  This was to be in the form of a deep depression stomping in from the Tasman Sea, along with the remains of tropical Cyclone Ivy, due to track down the east coast.  On Saturday 28th, it deluged down, hour after hour after hour ...  The Whitecliffs road down to Twin Creeks proved to be impassable.  I slushed a short distance along a road that had almost melted under the tremendous onslaught of water.  I very carefully turned Cecilia (my Toyota Corolla car) around and slid my way back towards the entrance gate.  I then walked.


Later in the day, after I had trudged all the way down to Twin Creeks and back again, I slogged down to Gibbs Fishing Point to get some last minute photography done.  The sea was stained an orange/brown from the massive soil bleeds that had occurred on Beach One.  Before reaching the southern boundary of Gibbs’ Fishing Point, I accessed the other viewpoint that is directly above Beach One (looking north,) and immediately south of the Fledglings.  Here, I photographed both of the Fledglings with Gull Rock in the background.  It was here that I first made reference to calling these rock stacks the Fledglings.  This name, along with Gull Rock embodies the seagull theme.  My next photo was taken from the southern boundary of Gibbs’ Fishing Point (looking south,) and shows the Fledglings, Beach One and Whitecliffs in the background in stormy conditions.



7.3.2004   PHO2007-207,  PHO2008-700, 1227,1230


I accessed Beach One to document the tremendous cliff soil bleeds generated by the super-storm event that occurred in February.  Along at the Fledglings I was both gobsmacked and dismayed to see that part of the beautiful downward facing rock seam in the adjoining cliff had collapsed.  Specifically, it had collapsed directly above the northern corridor cave entrance  (Cave One.)  It was part of a wider full cliff face collapse.  I photographed this and included part of the smallest Fledgling.  PHO2008-1230 shows the small Fledgling.  PHO2008-1227 shows part of the largest Fledgling and all of the smallest Fledgling.



6.6.2004   PHO2008-1279


From the Fledglings Overlook, part of the smallest Fledgling can be seen in this photo.  It also shows the northern entrance to Cave One.  This is the site of a cliff collapse, instigated by February’s super storm event.



29.8.2004   PHO2008-1362-1363


Similar to 13.6.04 in that it shows the continuing evolution of the cliff collapse that occurred in February 04.  Part of the smallest Fledgling is also shown in the photos that were taken from two slightly different positions.







16.7.2005   PHO2008-807


I don’t really know why, but this is one of my favourite images.  Perhaps it is the starkness of the light and the breaking wave just out from the largest Fledgling.



14.11.2005   PHO2008-1503, 1505


The weather wasn’t promising with big, beefy clouds promising heavy showers.  Down on Beach One it was windy and cold.  I took several images around the Fledglings.  I took one looking through the arch on the larger Fledgling.  I was on the landward side of the ‘window with a view’.  I framed the sea and a squall through the arch window.  The northern end of the largest Fledgling is in the background in PHO2008-1503.





Walking along Gibbs Fishing Point towards Beach One, lots of black backed gulls took offence to my presence.  At the overlook to the Fledglings and Beach One, there were some gulls on the largest Fledgling.  It is the nesting season. The conditions were calm, hot and humid.  Big black clouds boiled up in the sky.  They promised heavy rain, thunder and lightening – soon to be delivered!







13.6.2006   PHO2008-1630


Yesterday, a weather bomb crossed the country, affecting the South Island worst of all.  Up at Tongaporutu, ferocious seas were flattened somewhat by a strong south-easterly (offshore) wind.  At the Gibbs’ Fishing Point, huge waves were rolling in, but their spray plumes were being blown seawards.  Grass was burnt (salt spray) on the northern slope – this only occurs during severe conditions.  At the southern boundary overlook, I photographed the Fledglings and along Beach One towards Whitecliffs.  Mt Egmont was barely visible in the spray haze.  It had white cloud cover.  The wind was very cold.



20.6.2006   PHO2008-1923, 1932


Brutal weather of late, but today is a weather window between fronts.  At the Fledglings Overlook (looking north,) the grass on this small promontory was badly burnt with wind whipped salt spray.  There was no wind today however.  I took a photo looking down on the largest Fledgling and included Gull Rock.  Part way between the Beach One overlook and the southern boundary of Gibbs’ Fishing Point, I went part way down a cliff and took a couple of images of the Fledglings.  One included White Cliffs and Mt Egmont.  Nice rollers were coming in.  The sea looked quite discoloured.  Probably a mixture of churned up sand and debris from recent storms.







5.8.2007   PHO2011-1029-1030


There was a stiff westerly blowing and the sea was amped up.  I took two images of the Fledglings from different viewpoints.  The first was at the southern end of Gibbs Fishing Point.  This looks directly down on and south along Beach One with White Cliffs in the background.  The large Fledgling is being hammered by waves.  The second viewpoint, the Fledglings’ Overlook, is on a small knoll that gives views both north and south of Beach One.  The northern view looks directly down onto both of the Fledglings and along to Gull Rock.  Again, both are being hammered.  Despite the risk of chicks being washed off, gulls persist in nesting on the large Fledgling, though not at this time of the year.  The wave risk is perceived as being less of a threat than feral cats, stoats and rats which are denied access.



12.9.2007   PHO2011-1036, 1041-1042


Wednesday dawned fine as in no wind, but there was a ceiling of light grey cloud.  In a word, dullsville.  No good for landscapes but perfect conditions for cliff detail photography – no dark shadows.  I took several images of the Fledglings.  One shows the large Fledgling’s beautifully illuminated arch, specifically its wavy rock strata.  Another shows the large Fledgling with some nesting black backed gulls.  Gull Rock is in the background.







10.2.2008   PHO2011-1161


It is hot and humid and there has been some rain, but we need heaps more.  There is a light northerly and poor visibility due to a sea mist.  Above Beach One, I noticed a full cliff face soil bleed.  It spread out to sea close to the reef in a large fan.  I took a photo from the southern end of Gibbs’ Fishing Point looking down on the Fledglings and along Beach One.  I primarily took this to show the full extend of the soil fanning out in the sea in the background.  White Cliffs is consumed by sea mist.  Though there was virtually no breeze to speak of, there was quite a swell running.



25.6.2008   PHO2011-1882


Despite horrible weather conditions, I was able to get a quick photo looking down on the largest Fledgling.



24.7.2008   PHO2011-1265


SUPER-STORM EVENT.   Super-Storm Two.  A severe storm with north-westerly winds had hammered the North Island yesterday.  Its artillery included heavy rain, high winds and huge swells.  Though the weather today was calm, there was still a big sea running.  I accessed the small knoll that overlooks both north and south of Beach One.  I took a photo of the Fledglings looking north towards Gull Rock.



28.9.2008   PHO2011-1318


A short weather window was due today.  Daylight saving had just kicked in so I wouldn’t be going home in the dark. I strolled along Gibbs’ Fishing Point to its southern end.  I took a photo looking down on the Fledglings.  White Cliffs and Mt Egmont were clear.  There was a fair surf running.  Some black backed gulls were parked up on the large Fledgling.







22.7.2009   PHO2011-1615-1616


Today was a weather window between fronts.  The sea was big and noisy but the wind appeared to be deflected by the angle of the hills.  Though fine, the atmosphere was saturated with salt spray.  I accessed the knoll that overlooks north and south of Beach One.  I took several images of the Fledglings.  One was a standard view looking north towards Gull Rock.  One of the others was looking down on the small Fledgling.  There were a lot of rocks between it and the cliff.  These were the remains of the February 2004 Super-Storm Event.



2.12.2009   PHO2011-1685


From the Fledglings’ Overlook, I looked down on the Fledglings and across to Gull Rock.  On the largest Fledgling, the ice plants, like those on Gull Rock, were flowering and also looked very green and lush in the wet light.  There were lots of black backed gulls about.  The breeding season.  I also took another photo from the southern boundary of Gibbs’ Fishing Point.  This shows the Fledglings with Beach One to the rear.


One interesting thing I noted was that there were a few loose rocks near the top of the oldest Fledgling.  The rest of the rock stack has no other loose material of this nature.  How did they get there?  After attending a lecture by Dr Jim Hansom of the University of Glasgow, I believe they could have been deposited there by waves. I will have to check this idea out the next time I access Beach One.







16.5.2010   PHO2011-1809


From Gibbs’ Fishing Point I photographed Beach One with the panoramic camera.  The Fledglings were included in the image.  They appeared to be relatively unchanged.  I came up to Tonga specifically to get this image because for the past few days we have had a very vigorous storm belting the crap out of everything.

Up at Tonga, I was blessed with a short sun window which lit up most of Beach One and some of White Cliffs while further south black clouds were belting out sheets of rain.  On the largest Fledgling the scrubby shrubs seemed bright green and I saw a flock of small brownish birds down on it.



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