Dive for Debris

Dive for Debris was held on the 4th March, 2017

Diver heading into the harbour at Ti Point

Diver heading into the harbour [Read more…]

Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) in the Whangateau Harbour

Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) provided free opportunity for 105 people to snorkel for free in the Whangateau Harbour over March.

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New Zealand Fairy Tern

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Karen Baird, the marine advocate for Forest & Bird, spied this poor male NZ fairy tern desperately looking for a female on the 1st November. He caught a fish and then landed calling and calling – typical male behaviour as they do prenuptial feeding!

Poaching in Whangateau Harbour

img_2204This woman was seen recently  gathering cockles in the Whangateau Harbour.

There is currently a ban on the taking of cockles to allow the cockle population to recover from a major die off around five years ago.

The woman indicated she didn’t understand English.

Whangateau Harbourcare Group have written to the Ministry of Primary Industries to ask for signage to be provided in Asian languages so that these people can be made aware of the shellfish ban.

Anyone seeing people breaking fisheries laws is encouraged to phone a fisheries officer on 0800 4 POACHER or 0800 476264.

Crap in the Harbour

 

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I received an email last week from Liz Allen asking for volunteers to help haul some black plastic rubbish sacks that had been dumped over the bank beside the road leading down to the Big Omaha wharf. Angie Gibbons had noticed the bags and thought that they needed to be retrieved, stacked beside the road and collected by the council.
It sounded simple enough, some bags, pick them up, stack them, home for a cuppa. I rode my push bike over from Omaha around the Leigh Road on a damp and blustery Saturday morning with mist hanging in the hills and the odd sharp rain shower just to keep a cyclist on his toes. Still it’s always nice to be outdoors and I love a ride along Leigh road even if it is one of those spring days for sitting by the last fire of the season and not collecting some blockhead’s dumped rubbish.

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After the Rain

This is how the harbour looks after 25mm of rain. High tide on Omaha River.

Omaha River looking North

Omaha River looking North

Omaha River looking South

Omaha River looking South

Will a Storm Surge be Predicted for Whangateau Harbour?

A king tide on the 22nd February, 2015 reaching a level of 200mm from the surface of the road at a new sub-division at Point Wells. The tide covered the footpath leading to the shore  and small fish were swimming up the drains into the low lying sections near the waterfront. Survey pegs of some sections were under water. A storm surge could increase this incursion dramatically.

A king tide on the 22nd February, 2015 reaching a level of 200mm from the surface of the road at a new sub-division at Point Wells. The tide covered the footpath leading to the shore and small fish were swimming up the drains into the low lying sections near the waterfront. Survey pegs of some sections were under water. A storm surge could increase this incursion dramatically.

As cyclone Pam bears down on New Zealand after wrecking havoc in Vanuatu it would be useful to know how a tidal surge from the storm would affect the low lying land around the harbour. Is any such information available?

A storm surge happens when a large storm approaches and passes over a coastal region. This surge happens when the sea level rises from a number of factors. The two main meteorological factors contributing to a storm surge are a long fetch of winds spiraling inward toward the storm, and a low-pressure-induced dome of water drawn up under and trailing the storm’s center. The second effect is responsible for destructive meteotsunamis associated with the most intense tropical systems. These surges can be as high as 13 metres and are commonly 8 to 10 metres. These tidal surges combine with the normal tides in a region and together with the additional wave action can overwhelm low lying areas in a severe storm.

There are models to predict the incursion of storm surges developed for the coastline of the United States for their tropical cyclones (SLOSH) and their extratropical systems (ESTOFS). By the time cyclone Pam reaches us it will be classified as a post cyclonic and extratropical storm. Have these prediction models been developed for New Zealand and are they being used by the local civil defense to warn the residents of Omaha and Point Wells of any potential danger from the storm?

The models that NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) use are described here.