Topic: Sand - Beach One

Topic type:





Beach One is located south of the Four Brothers Beach.  Both beaches are separated by Gibbs’ Fishing Point.  For the most part this is impassable.


Access to Beach One is via the Pipeline creek.  This is also the access point to Beach Two.  Thus at the bottom of the Pipeline, Beach One tracks off to the north, while Beach Two tracks off to the south.


The first part of Beach One, between the Pipeline and the reef is in the form of a semi-enclosed cove.  It is bounded by particularly high, crumbly cliffs.  The beach here has shelving and a high rock content which are covered or uncovered in accordance with sand build-up or depletion.  There is a large boulder not far to the right (north) of the exiting stream.  A large bluff that tracks towards the sea immediately to the left (south) of the stream forms a natural boundary that separates Beach One from Beach Two.


This area is the only dry high tide place on either Beach One or Beach Two.  It is the resting place of numerous logs, lots of round, smooth rocks and intermittent flotsam.  Some of the logs have been dumped on the ground above the high tide mark.  This is caused by storm surge conditions resulting in overtopping the normal high tide free zone.


Though technically there are no upper high tide dry beach areas on Beach One, in the middle section, if you are caught out by the incoming tide, you can scramble up onto an area of loose fill and rocks.  Here, you would have to wait for the next low tide as the cliffs are unclimbable. 


A large, low tide accessible reef at the end of the rocky part of the beach extends some way out to sea.  It is the only reef that is fishable from on the Tongaporutu coastline.  There are obviously other reefs, but they are underwater.  This particular reef, unlike the rock shelves and platforms closer in on this and the other beaches, is never covered in sand.  As such, it has a healthy and stable population of mussels, limpets, barnacles and other flora and fauna.


The middle section of Beach One, which is the largest section of the beach, gently curves away to the north.  It is shaped like a large, open horse-shoe.  This area is usually well endowed with sand.  This sand mostly covers a smallish boulder field.  However, during stormy conditions, the beach can suffer from differing degrees of scouring.  This then reveals the medium sized roundish rocks that inhabit the boulder field.  They tend to migrate towards the cliffs.


At the northern end of the beach, the Fledglings rock stacks can be found.  They are quite close to the southern part of Gibbs’ Fishing Point, which is the starting point of Beach One.  Tracking south, here too the sand cover tends to be good.  I have never observed a boulder field in this locality.


During calm conditions, one can get out to the wave-line and have a clear view of Gull Rock which lies just offshore from Gibbs’ Fishing Point.  As yet I haven’t been able to physically access this particular area.







27 April 2002   PHO2008-863


The photo from the Gibbs’ Fishing Point looks south along Beach One.  The sand level appeared to be very good.







18.1.2004   PHO2008-508-509, 517-518, 521-523, 524-525


There was a high low tide of 1 metre, so I wasn’t expecting to roam the beach much.  The weather was dull and the sea state reasonable.  This was my first physical visit to Beach One.  Access is via a creek, so obviously this is only accessible during reasonably dry conditions when the creek is low.


At the semi-cove  between the Pipeline and the reef, the rocks were more profuse closer to the cliff.  Different and more weathered rocks and shelves were a bit further out.  Beyond the reef, the beach swept around and flowed to the north in a loose open arc.  The sand cover was good, particularly towards the Fledglings at the northern end of the beach.


Even though it was a high low tide, Beach One, unlike some of the other beaches on the Tongaporutu coastline is always accessible because there is no bluff to pass.



23.1.2004   PHO2008-537, 546, 548, 555-556, 561-563


CLIFF SEQUENCING.  Stayed up at the Gibbs.  Not feeling too good.  Low in spirits.  There was a westerly breeze accompanied by a choppy sea.  Fortunately, the waves were hitting the beach at roughly a 65 degree angle, which meant that much of their energy was diluted, being channelled up the coastline as opposed to directly coming up the beach.  The weather improved during the day so that there was a mix of blue sky and white cloud.


Between the Pipeline creek and the reef, the sand cover was good, but rocks and platforms were visible.  Just north of the reef there was a small boulder field that was partly buried in sand.  The roundish stones were all similar in shape and size.  For the rest of the beach tracking north up to and including the Fledglings, the sand cover was good.  As I approached Gull Rock, I noticed that there was a highish sand bank that separated it from a massive wall section of Gibbs Fishing Point.  I grabbed a quick hand-held shot as conditions here, though calm were still dangerous.  On the way back towards the Pipeline, as the sun sank lower in the sky, the beach sparkled like diamonds.


PHO2008-563 was taken from the Beach Two side of the Pipeline promontory.  The Pipeline access is to the rear of this promontory.  The start of Beach One is on the left of this promontory.



4.2.2004   PHO2008-654


We have been having some very wet weather of late as evidenced by this waterfall gushing down onto Beach One.  As can be seen, the sand level was good.



29.2.2004   PHO2008-693,  PHO2011-2149


SUPER-STORM EVENT.  Super-Storm Three.  This massive rainfall event triggered equally massive cliff/soil bleeds on Beach One.  PHO2011-2149 was taken from above the reef while it was still raining.  PHO2008-693, taken at the Locked Gate in better light later in the day, shows one of the massive soil bleeds, bleeding down onto the beach and into the sea.  Round rocks were also visible, indicating that some scouring had also taken place at this location.



7.3.2004   PHO2007-207-208,  PHO2008-701-702, 706, 708, 711, 718, 1225, 1228,


I wanted to access Beach One to document the destruction meted out by February’s Super-Storm event.  A 0.4m low tide was due at 5.29 pm.  The weather was fine with little wind.  At the bottom of the Pipeline, there was a huge debris field and the banks were really gouged out.  How things had changed!  I was primarily there to document the numerous, massive soil bleeds and cliff collapses that had been triggered by February’s storms.  The beach, though reasonably well endowed with sand, particularly at the northern end, did have a boulder field present just north of the reef.  Rocks were present in the cove area between the Pipeline and the reef.


PHO2008-718 shows the Pipeline entrance to Beach One.  This is the southern boundary.  A small creek that forms part of the track down onto the beach, empties onto the beach here.



13.6.2004   PHO2008-1280-1283, 1286-1287, 1289-1290


This was one of those rare, crystal clear days where the atmosphere was completely devoid of any haze or salt spray.  The beach state was reasonable, apart from the boulder field.  Pools of water were present around the Fledglings.



29.8.2004   PHO2008-1359,1361-1362, 1367

The beach state was reasonable.  PHO2008-1359 shows a collection point of washed up stones.  The large boulder that has split in two, came down in a recent cliff collapse.









A 0.3m low tide was due at 3.47 pm.  It was sunny with a cool breeze.  I had planned to photograph the caves at Beaches One and Two as it was forecast to be cloudy.  Much to my annoyance the sky rapidly cleared.  On the 19th September, Tongaporutu had been hit by an alpha storm.  This was two years to the month since the first alpha storm I observed on 29.9.03.


Down at the Pipeline, the beach had been denuded of sand right down to bedrock.  At the bluff that separated Beach One from Beach Two, I estimated that around two feet of sand had been removed.  I wanted to do Beach Two first.  While waiting for the wave sets and the tide to drop further, I spotted a beautiful amber coloured round stone.  I planned to take this home.  (It is currently in my lounge – 1.2.2010).


I documented Beach Two.  I had planned to also do Beach One, but as I later discovered that I hadn’t packed my extra roll of film, I couldn’t.  Also, by the time I returned to the Pipeline, my headache had gotten worse and I was knackered.



14.11.2005    PHO2008-1491, 1495, 1500, 1503-1504, 1508, 1510, 1512


A 0.5m low tide was due at 3.24 pm.  There was a south-westerly blowing and beefy showers were present.  The beach appeared to be more built up with sand than my previous visit last month when virtually everything had been stripped down to bedrock.  Rocks were still present at their usual haunts, but the overall sand level had improved.


At the Fledglings end of the beach, around the back, the sand was built up between the small Fledgling and the large Fledgling.  It then lowered quite dramatically towards the northern side of the large Fledgling in the vicinity of the through going arch.  It was like the sea had been pushing sand around and up.  Waves were broaching the slightly raised beach on the seaward side of the arch and spilling over into a large, localized pool.


In the small cove at the extreme northern end of Beach One, where it bounds the Gibbs’ Fishing Point, small whirlwinds sketched perfect circles in the sand.  I photographed these looking back towards the large Fledgling.


At the reef, I took several images of the reef that highlighted the showery conditions.  Like its smaller cousins of rock shelves and platforms, the reef was higher on its landward side and lower on its seaward side.  This was true of the reef as a whole and equally when broken down into parts.


This V type formation (channelling) mostly occurs on the landward side of the reef and appears to be a common feature of all reefs, rock platforms and shelves at Tongaporutu where they are exposed at low tide.  I don’t know if the same is true for reefs, etc., that are always covered by water.  Most probably not.







26.6.2006   PHO2008-1936, 1944-1945


A 0.7m low tide was due at 4.23 pm.  The weather was fine with a stiff south-easterly.  Down at the Pipeline, the sea state was so calm you could have launched a dinghy or a kayak.  The beach was quite well built up at the low tide mark, but at the Pipeline bluff that led around to Beach Two, it was scoured out.  I didn’t venture past the reef as I wanted to concentrate on the reef proper and the area around the bluff.







12.9.2007   PHO2011-1032, 1034, 1043-1044, 1046-1047, 1050


A 0.5m low tide was due at 4.23 pm.  It had been dry for several days.  Wednesday dawned fine as in no wind, but there was wall to wall cloud cover.  In a word, it was dullsville.


The beach at the Pipeline had more sand than when I last visited on 26.6.06, but plenty of rocks remained.  Between the Pipeline and the reef, rocks and boulders were resplendent, but there were areas where the sand had built up.  This meant that I didn’t have to do a Lord of the Dance to get over the boulders, but could use the high sand level as a flat, comfortable walking platform.


On the northern side of the reef, as I walked close to the cliff line, I was struck by how high the beach level was there.  It was as if someone had scooped the sand up and piled it up high at the cliff, while the beach as a whole sloped away down towards the wave-line where rock shelves, bedrock and rocks dwelt.  Also, the resident boulder field of smooth, roundish stones were exposed.  Sometimes they are buried in high sand cover.  At the base of the cliff, a party of smooth, roundish stones had gathered, ferried there by the sea, although due to the high sand cover, most of them were buried.  Further north up to and including the Fledglings, the sand level over all the beach was much improved.  However, a pool of water lounged at the large Fledgling’s arch.


27.9.2007   PHO2011-1086


A very low 0.1m tide was due at 3.59 pm.  The weather had been unusually calm for some time and mostly quite dry.  It was fine with a sou-south-easterly.  I had brought Adam Buckle, the photographer, up with me as he hadn’t been to this location before.  I said that I would document Beach Two and he agreed to do Beach One.  This was so that the other party didn’t leave unwanted footprints in the sand.


From what I could see, the sand cover appeared to be more improved from my last visit on the 12th.  As the tide had already gone out quite a way, the incoming waves were just kissing the beach.  The photo here was taken close to the Pipeline.







10.2.2008   PHO2011-1177


After a day of rain and mist, the weather cleared in the evening.  As with the other beaches that I visited today, the beach state was very good.



9.3.2008   PHO2011-1189-1191


I didn’t access Beach One.  The photos were taken from the cliff-top.  A 0.2m low tide was due at 6.09 pm.  The weather was cloudy with a stiff westerly.  Two of the photos show the reef and rock shelving to the rear of the reef.  This graphically shows how the shelves fracture and split.  The beach looking north towards Gull Rock had good sand cover, but some rocks were exposed just north of the reef.



6.4.2008   PHO2011-1200


From what I could see, the beach cover looked good, but some boulders were present in the boulder field just north of the reef.



20.4.2008   PHO2011-1208


A 0.5m low tide was due at 3.58 pm.  The weather was fine with a stiff south-easterly.  I haven’t accessed the Pipeline Beaches One and Two for some time.  This is because access to them is such an arsehole.  I didn’t get down there today either, instead choosing to photograph from the cliff-top above the reef.  This view looks north along the beach.  The beach was exceedingly well endowed with sand.  Has been for months and months.  The boulder field immediately north of the reef was partially visible, and rocks and stones frequented the area at the bottom of the cliffs for some distance, before yielding to sand heading towards the Fledglings.



3.6.2008   PHO2011-1877-1878


From the cliff-top overlooking the reef, more round rocks were exposed than usual on the beach.



18.8.2008   PHO2011-1285, 1287


Last month a Super-Storm Event devastated the coastline.  I knew that access to the Pipeline would be impossible, so I decided to photograph from the cliff-top looking south along Beach One.  A 0.4m low tide was due at 4.48 pm.  Today was a short break from the terrible weather we have been having these past few weeks.  From what I could see from the cliff-top, the tide wasn’t all the way out; the beach had been stripped of much of its sand.  Bedrock and rock fields were exposed.



28.9.2008   PHO2011-1318


A 0.4m low tide was due at 4.07 pm.  A short weather window was due today.  It was fine and sunny with a light south-easterly.  However, a big sea was running.  I wouldn’t be able to access the Pipeline, but photographed the beach looking south from the cliff-top.  Although the tide was high, from what I could see, it appeared as if the beach was experiencing some sand replenishment, particularly up at the Fledglings end of the beach.



12.10.2008   PHO2011-1350


A 0.8m high low tide was due at 2.54 pm.  The weather as fine with a slight westerly breeze.  I had planned to visit Twin Creeks, but as an aside, when finished there, I wanted to photograph Beaches One and Two from the cliff-tops.  Large stone fields were visible in the middle third of the beach up at the cliff-line.  At the wave-line and the northern third of the beach where the Fledglings were, the sand cover appeared to be good.







22.6.2009   PHO2011-1767-1768


A 0.4m low tide was due at 3.16 pm.  I haven’t physically accessed Beach One or Beach Two since September 2007.  This is mostly because the track down to these beaches is for me an absolute pain.  You have to slop your way through muddy tracks and then along a slippery stream bed before reaching a jumbled up log pile that you have to scramble over.  Then, you have to ballet dance your way across slippery rounded stones that litter the exiting stream.  On top of that, you have all your equipment to lug.  Fine if you are big, muscular and/or fit, but I’m not.  After all that effort, you finally, finally touch sand.  Then you have the job ahead of you.  Now dear reader, you REALLY know why I don’t get down here that often!


Today, the weather was fine and had been for a while.  This meant that, hooray; the stream would be low enough to slosh through.  The only minus was that there was a biting cold southerly roaring away.  Southerlies hit the beach at a direct angle when trudging south along the beach.  On top of this, I decided to only take the panoramic camera down to the beach in an effort to save weight.  This is the camera that I bought from Adam Buckle and am still getting to grips with knowing how to use it properly.  Every single operation on it is manual.


Down at the beach between the Pipeline and the reef, the sand level was well built up from mid-beach to the wave-line, but scoured out at the cliff bases.  I was easily able to access the reef, even though there was still two hours to go before low tide.


I had planned to take two panoramic shots from the reef.  The first one would encompass Beach One in its entirety, plus part of the reef, while the second image would show Beach Two.  After this, I planned to go down and do Beach Two first, then Beach One.  (However, after experiencing problems with the panoramic camera on Beach Two, I was unable to return to Beach One).


From what I could see of Beach One, the round rock field was visible in the middle section, along with the usual cliff fall debris at the base of the cliffs.  The beach then smoothed out with full sand cover right up to the northern boundary.  I have never observed a boulder field at this end of the beach, or to be more specific, the northern third of the beach.



22.7.2009   PHO2011-1614


Today was a weather window between fronts.  It was amazingly sunny, but the atmosphere was drenched with salt spray due to storm surge conditions.  Though windy in New Plymouth with stiff westerlies, up at Tonga, it was virtually windless.  A 0.2m low tide was due at 3.55 pm.  I went to the Fledglings Overlook.  From what I could see looking south, the beach appeared to be little changed from my visit last month.  I did see some rocks at the base of the cliff just north of the Doll’s Face cliff formation.  This has a cave at the cliff’s base.  Though the beach up at this northern end is mostly sand covered, some rocks are usually present, but they are insignificant in comparison to the ones located further south.







16.5.2010   PHO2011-1809


Though I didn’t actually venture down onto Beach One, I did observe and photograph it with the panoramic camera from the southern part of Gibbs’ Fishing Point.  From what I could see, there were quite a lot of rocks visible mid way down the beach at the base of the cliffs.  These were the usual round rocks that are part of a boulder field that is covered/uncovered by sand.  Apart from this the beach appeared to be relatively well endowed with sand.


After a fairly lengthy period of benign weather, a deep low slammed into us on Friday 14th and lasted for several days.  It was still hammering New Plymouth as I came up to Tonga.  I thought it would be raining up here with waterfalls, but I was lucky and had a brief sun window, hence this photo.

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion