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Kaikoura - Capital Adventures — LiveJournal
May 24th, 2008
08:15 pm
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Kaikoura



Skipping Hanmer, going straight to Kaikoura.

It's not that Hanmer's not worth a picture or two, it's just that I was driving, for the first time in a couple of years,  and was exhausted by the time we got there.  The hot  springs were most welcome, as were the lamb shanks at the pub. The backpackers, on the other hand was not. It could have been great, a very pretty little place, but the proprietress was officious and the  beds were squeaky. I didn't get a whole lot of sleep. Claire got some, but had nightmares about the ferry sinking.

Kaikoura is where things start getting really complicated. The seaward Kaikoura ranges in the distance mark the northern end of the Alpine fault which occurs on an east-over-west subduction zone. Off this coast is the Hikurangi trench, a continuation of  the southern end of the Kermadec trench which is on a west-over-east  subduction zone.  I remember my stage I  geology lecturer kind of knitting his fingers together to demonstrate this.  I also remember him apologising to us for having to teach something as complicated as the geological history of New Zealand to stage I students.
This whole geological mess continues north under Wellington and out  Hawkes bay.

The Hikorangi trench brings cold Antarctic water and assorted sea mammals close to the coast here, which in turn attracts tourists in large numbers. They used to attract whalers, but they're not so welcome any more.

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From:wcg
Date:May 24th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
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It probably says something about me that right on the heels of thinking "How beautiful!" I thought "That looks like a good invasion beach."

The complete absence of sand would be advantageous, though I imagine the water remains shallow for a long way out. But that's what flat bottomed amphibious transport ships are for.

Thoughts of amphibious operations aside, you really do live in paradise. That's just gorgeous.
From:siliconshaman
Date:May 24th, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
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Yeah but with the right shore defences, that open beach would become a slice of hell. Open as anything, no dunes and no easy way to dig into that pebble beach.

But right now, that is very beautiful!
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From:wcg
Date:May 24th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
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True enough. However, there are things that can be done with helicopters that didn't exist during WW II.
From:siliconshaman
Date:May 24th, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC)
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Very true that, and it would probably come down to a long range missile duel first, and who had any close defences left at the end of it. Come to think of it, I wonder if it's even possible to make any position completely defensible.

Still, that's something I hope never gets tested there.

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From:dianavilliers
Date:May 24th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
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It makes me happy that you see the beauty before the invasion potential. The other way round - I wouldn't want any friend of mine to live with that.

I can't find anything specifically on warfare in pre- and early European Kaikoura - Google gets overwhelmed by ads for whale watching tours - but this is a rich place. The name Kaikoura translates loosely as 'a feed of crayfish' and other seafoods would have been equally abundant. Between that, reading between the lines in the district plan -
"Successive waves of Maori migration settled in the Kaikoura area, each overwhelming and inter-marrying with the former. Rapuwai, Waitaha, Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tahu flowed into each other in turn to form the tangata whenua[1] of today."
and being invaded by Te Rauparaha, I think this bit of coastline has probably seen its fair share of conflict.

The beach is steeper than it looks in this picture as the panorama merging process distorts things a bit, and it does fall away rapidly.

[1]people of the land

Edited at 2008-05-24 10:02 pm (UTC)
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From:wcg
Date:May 24th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the additional info. I can see why the Maori kept coming ashore there, and why they stayed.

As for seeing the beauty first, I learned to recognize beauty long before I learned to look at shorelines with a critical eye toward their utility for amphibious operations.
From:siliconshaman
Date:May 24th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
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I remember my geology teacher saying New Zealand was where Nature got really creative!

Lovely picture though...
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From:timbrk
Date:May 27th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
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[sigh]
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