Thursday, 8 October 2015

Off On My Travels Again... Waikuku Beach...

 I used to come with my family to Waikuku Beach for holidays...
65 years ago! I have some old photos, I was about 13... Mum
and Dad and my two younger brothers and I often had a friend
along too. We had known each other since we were five
and are still friends today... And talk about the holidays we had.
I have never stayed in the camping ground before...
We used to stay right at the other end of Waikuku in some
old trams that were shifted there and made into batches when they
were taken of the road in the 1950's. We had such fun.
I went back to re-live some memories...

 It's a big sprawling basic camping ground tucked into the
sand hills and sheltered from the strong easterly winds by
stands of huge old pine trees.

 Lots of on-site caravans live here, the owners come at
weekends over the winter then in the summer take
them away and go somewhere else.

 Just along from where I was parked... One of the several
tracks through what used to be a solid thick stand of trees...

Lots of them uprooted and blown down in the huge winds
two years ago... Over the sand hills to what used to be...

 My  favourite beach. We stayed here for weeks on end...
Sunbathed and swam with no thoughts in particular for safety
or sunburn. There was no surf club in those days, on some
days the waves can be huge... It was part of what I loved.
If we didn't get knocked over by the big waves it 
wasn't 'real' swimming!

 Looking south along the long hard stretch of sand...
We used to play and hide and make pine needle huts
in the trees for hours and days on end... Lots of
trees are gone and somehow the sand hills don't look
quite as vast as they used to!

 And along the other way to the north... Where is the river
mouth... The Ashley River mouth used to run out here...

 It used to be where this little trickle of water is... But now I
couldn't even see it... It has moved 2km north... It was
a long walk before I could begin to see where it might be.

 Way, way down the beach I began to see cars...
Oh yes, I thought, I know what they're all doing...

 And sure enough... The Whitebait season has just started...

 And the many white baiters are all out in their spots
with their big set nets trying to catch the most little whitebait.
I talked to two of them but they will never say how much 
they have caught... "Enough for a feed" is the standard answer.

 I walked back round the river looking for the place we
used to go fishing as kids...

 The tide was way out... When it's full in it comes right up to
the tide mark you can see, the river mouth spreads out and
covers up all the area where the white baiters are...

 And all this estuary area is covered with water.
I don't remember it ever being like this... 65  years ago!

 I found this map as I walked back showing the Ashey River
mouth and the huge estuary and wetlands area that has evolved.

 I walked up past the huge old trees...

 And gnarled spreading roots... I did remember them and
the old dusty reserve area.

 And the 'Oval'...There's a road now and a raised up walkway...

  But looking out to where we used to fish...

We used to run down there early in the morning with our hooks
on a piece of string... The fish were easy to catch... Small
of course but we always ate them for breakfast!

The edge of the river is no more... Instead a big wetlands
area... Which is of great interest to conservationists
as the endangered Pied Stilt has come to make it's home...
Only one has been seen so more are going to be released
 in the hope that they will breed.

I didn't find many old memories...

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