Sunday, September 27, 2009
2009. Brooklands Spit and Waimakariri River Mouth
2009. Waimakariri Walkway by Spencer Park, Brooklands Spit
I drove to Spencer Park about 18 kms from my Burnside Christchurch home, as I wanted to walk north along Brooklands Spit to Waimakariri River mouth. By dunes I parked at the end of Heyders Road, where Waimakariri Walkway began.
2009. Waimakariri Walkway & Flax overlooking Brooklands Lagoon
2009. Waimakariri Walkway & Cabbage Trees, Brooklands Spit
I walked sandy Waimakariri Walkway with pines and grassy dunes on my right, and Brooklands Lagoon, flax and sea rushes, Juncus krausii, on my left. With sentinel cabbage trees eastwards, I passed low tide salt marsh westwards, with Mount Thomas further north-westwards. A bearded walker passed, then a female jogger passed.
2009. Brooklands Spit south-eastern view of Pegasus Bay, Banks Peninsula & Port Hills
Side tracks went into Brooklands Lagoon salt marshes and mudflats. Other side tracks climbed dunes to the Pacific beach. Through dune-binding pines, I took a side track over a spongy pine needle mat to admire the great curve of Pegasus Bay and southern views of Banks Peninsula and Port Hills. Pacific-side pines were wind sculptured. Brooklands Lagoon-side pines gave wind shelter. I wondered when conservationists would plant native dune-binding trees?
2009. Waimakariri Walkway western view of Maimai in Brooklands Lagoon
2009. Closeup of Maimai in Brooklands Lagoon
Along south-eastern Brooklands Lagoon, I passed 9 maimais - duck-shooting hides - sprouting like reeds in lagoon waters. By saltmarsh wetland, I passed a picnic table and two benches with western views over maimais and distant Seafield Park.
2009. Waimakariri Walkway 2 km Sign
I passed a wooden 2 km sign (weathered)...
2009. Waimakariri Walkway Grassy Dune & 3 km Sign
I passed a wooden 3 km sign (unweathered). A male walker nodded when passing, wearing a hat, Swanndri tartan shirt, longs and joggers. I wore a shirt, windcheater, longs and walked bare feet. I'd slipped my jandals off as sand irritated, aggravated by pulverised powder, caused by SUV and motorbike tracks, despite vehicle prohibition signs. I passed fresh side tracks, where motor- bikers had ripped over dunes.
2009. Waimakariri Walkway north-western view of Brooklands Housing, Brooklands Lagoon
2009. Waimakariri Walkway Fork, Brooklands Spit
2009. Waimakariri Walkway Pine Track, Brooklands Spit
2009. Waimakariri Walkway 4 km Sign, Pine Forest, Brooklands Spit
On the far side of Brooklands Lagoon I saw Brooklands houses. By a muddy ditch, Waimakariri Walkway forked right into a pine forest, guided by orange plastic markers. By wooden 4 km... then 5 km signs, I still strode through pines, with glimpses of Brooklands Lagoon through pines. I wandered through dark pines and thought of symbiotic mycorrhizae on pine roots.
2009. Waimakariri Walkway Salt Marsh, Brooklands Spit opposite Brooklands. Port Hills backdrop
2009. Waimakariri Walkway south-western view of Salt Marsh, Brooklands Spit
2009. Waimakariri Walkway 5 km Sign, Brooklands Spit Pine Forest
2009. Dry Creek Driftwood, Brooklands Spit Pine Forest
2009. Waimakariri Walkway Markers, Brooklands Spit Pine Forest
2009. Brooklands Spit End, Waimakariri River Mouth
I crossed salt marshes for a while near Brookands Lagoon, with views of the lagoon and further south to the Port Hills. After crossing a muddy creek filled with driftwood, I broke through dark pines into sunlight at the end of Brooklands Spit.
2009. Whitebaiter & Vehicles, Waimakariri River Mouth North Bank
2009. Whitebaiters & Caravan, Waimakariri River Mouth North Bank
2009. Whitebaiters & Set Net, Waimakariri River Mouth North Bank
2009. Whitebaiters & Trolley, Waimakariri River Mouth North Bank
2009. Whitebaiter, Set Net & SUVs, Waimakariri River Mouth North Bank
2009. Whitebaiter, Sets Nets & SUV, Waimakariri River Mouth North Bank
About 200m away on the north bank of Waimakariri River mouth, I watched whitebaiters tending their set-nets in the water. On the south bank by fallen pines and masses of driftwood, I sat on a fallen trunk and counted 14 rows of set-nets, with whitebaiter SUVs and trolleys parked on the mudflat, backdropped by Pines Beach pines.
It took me 1 hour 35 minutes to walk Brooklands Spit from Spencer Park to Waimakariri River mouth. Southshore Spit further south by New Brighton was much longer and wider.
2009. Duck, Brooklands Spit, Waimakariri River Mouth
2009. Fallen & Live Pines, Brooklands Spit End, Waimakariri River Mouth
2009. Brooklands Spit End: Driftwood westwards view of Brooklands Lagoon Mouth left & upstream Waimakariri River right
2009. Whitebaiters, Waimakariri River Mouth North Bank
I watched three shags and a duck floating in the current, and diving for prey. I examined south bank driftwood, and coolpixed north bank whitebaiters.
2009. Brooklands Spit south-westwards view: Brooklands Lagoon near Waimakariri River Mouth
2009. Brooklands Spit southern view: Brooklands Lagoon near Styx River Mouth. Banks Peninsula Mnt Herbert & Mnt Bradley backdrop
I backtracked through pines to more driftwood on the east bank of Brooklands Lagoon, where I watched waters flow into Waimakariri River, past a gull perched on the end of a fallen pine, backdropped by a north bank yacht club.
2009. Brooklands Spit northern view: Brooklands Lagoon Mouth into Waimakariri River
2009. Brooklands Spit northern view: Brooklands Lagoon Mouth into Waimakariri River. Yacht Club backdrop
Back on Waimakariri Walkway, I passed the 5 km sign again, and cut across dunes and several SUV tracks to whitebaiters on the south bank of Waimakariri River mouth.
2009. Brooklands Spit End Whitebaiters, Waimakariri River Mouth
2009. Brooklands Spit Whitebaiters. Waimakariri River Mouth North Bank backdrop
2009. Brooklands Spit Drag Net Whitebaiter. Waimakariri River Mouth North Bank backdrop
2009. Brooklands Spit Drag Net Whitebaiter & Gulls. Waimakariri River Mouth North Bank backdrop
2009. Drag Net Whitebaiter, Brooklands Spit, Waimakariri River Mouth
I saw 6 SUVs on the mudflat and 6 rows of whitebaiter set-nets in south bank waters. Whitebaiters wandered the mudflat, checking their set-nets. I watched a whitebaiter drag his net in shallows upstream, haul his drag-net out of the water, look for whitebait, then drag his net downstream, then haul and inspect, and repeat...
2009. Whitebait Trolleys, Brooklands Spit, Waimakariri River Mouth
2009. Whitebait Trolleys & Caravan, Brooklands Spit, Waimakariri River Mouth
I looked at 33 whitebaiter trolleys parked higgledy-piggledy below spit dunes, with metal-framed set-nets stacked on each trolley, with box nets on top. Each wire-mesh set-net had frame prongs for pressing into river mud. Two small whitebaiter caravans were parked by trolleys. Whitebaiter boots and waders lay by a caravan stool.
2009. Banded Dotterel Nesting Area Sign, Brooklands Spit, Waimakariri River Mouth
My walk back to Spencer Park along Brooklands Spit beach took 1 hour 10 minutes. Near the end of Brooklands Spit I saw more BANDED DOTTEREL NESTING AREA signs (two) than banded dotterels (one). Leaving Waimakariri River mouth, I passed big driftwood logs below dunes. Driftwood became smaller and smaller the further south I walked from Waimakariri River mouth.
2009. Driftwood, Brooklands Spit, Waimakariri River Mouth, south-eastern Banks Peninsula backdrop
On the low tide beach, I passed a lone southern pied oystercatcher and several gulls. I had the late afternoon beach to myself, except for shells, driftwood, kelp, footprints, gull tracks, dog paw prints, deep horse hoof prints and SUV tracks.
2009. Foot Prints & Gull Prints, Brooklands Spit
2009. SUV, Brooklands Spit. Pacific & Banks Peninsula backdrop
Three noisy SUVs passed south, belching diesel fumes.
2009. Brookland Spit southern view of Mt Pleasant & Mt Cavendish, Port Hills. Banks Peninsula Mt Herbert & Mt Bradley backdrop
While the sun set behind dunes, lengthening beach shadows, Pacific waves glowed red. Northwards, a vapour plume flew east of Waimakariri River mouth. Southwards, another plume flew offshore, obscuring Banks Peninsula views. Mount Pleasant loomed ahead, speckled by houses, with Mount Herbert and Mount Bradley behind.
2009. Brooklands Spit view of Brooklands Lagoon Sunset
I crossed a dune for a last look over twilight Brooklands Lagoon. Back on the twilight beach near Heyders Road exit, I saw three couples: fisher folk casting into surf; lovers holding hands; photographers flashing.
2009. Heyders Road Beach Entry, Spencer Park by Waimakariri Walkway
Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.
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