Whatipu Sea Caves
Monday 5 February 2007

Expedition write-up by Ian.

Outside the first cave.

Waitangi Day fell on Tuesday this year, which for some reason meant Monday was a holiday as well. So what better excuse than to saddle up and go on an exploratory mission out West?

It was quite a surprise to find just how far away from the sea these caves are. Before getting there I seriously didn't know if we would be getting wet because it wasn't low tide when we would be there. We obviously didn't need to worry.

Leaving Manukau Harbour, Ninepin Rock (with lighthouse) at left.

Apparently 600 hectares of sand has arrived since 1930. (I think that was the year mentioned.) Survivors from the HMS Orpheus shipwreck in 1863 (189 lives lost) made it to Cutter Rock, at the left of the photo below. The sand now reaches out to Ninepin rock, on the right side of the photo below.

Whatipu from the air.

One of the objectives for me for this mission was to try out a new LED on the front of my caving helmet. In series with a 1 ohm 5 watt resistor it gave pretty good light, but I decided it wasn't quite bright enough to do without any optics. It's not quite bright enough for that. Also the rocks in these caves are very dark, and soak up lots of light.

We saw and heard several rocks fall while we were there, mostly from around cave mouths. They were a good reminder for us to keep our helmets on when near to the cliff or in the caves.

Rock Art.

Not realising we were going to be caving for so long, it was mid-afternoon by the time we eventually got back to the car - and our lunches! - and had a well-earned feed and rest. Pity the camera didn't focus right.

Say "che..." er, "orange".