Tuesday, 31 July 2007

July 2007 - the month that was


digger fiddling


A quick pop down to see how the half million dollar sand buffer was holding up..
there was quite a chunk out.. and a steep scarp which a digger was smoothing off.

Monday, 30 July 2007



100mm of rain over 24 hours expected in Dunedin, many streets in South Dunedin are flooded and drains overflowing.
This is a suitable introduction to an issue that has severely affected the livelihood of a fellow surf blogger, Tony at
www.surfr.blogspot.com . His living is based upon tourism, and after the July 11th flood DOC (the Department of Conservation) have shut the Wairakau Stream track on which he guides. He has lost his business until the track is reopened, and we all know how long it can take the bureaucrats to actually do something.

Tony hopes that a wider public awareness of his situation may force DOC to prioritise the repair of the track. The track being out of action also affects the economy of Whangaroa, a lovely but depressed, part of Northland. The changing weather patterns have also impacted on the frequency of good surf up there. "I can’t remember the last A+ swell we had. It’s supposed to go North east gale tonight so maybe some surf early next week, if it doesn’t flood again." says Tony.
See his bushmans friend blog site here with the update on the slip.
click here for article at NZ Herald

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

16 degrees


I wish the water was that warm, but today the air temp got up to and just past (by some reports), 16 degrees. water temp I think was around 8.
So after yesterday's big mish, I stayed local and captured some St Clair spirit.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

In search of waves


An afternoon to spare.. a full tank of gas, and good company. Me and Hayley set off for a mission to find some waves 'off the beaten track down south' which involved a few jumped fences, boggy stinking paddocks, an injured seagull with a broken wing, an angry looking farmer's wife in her kitchen window.. a long trek down a river to an estuary .. and my carrot and cream cheese muffins :0)
So this is what we found on our journey:
Below: We had to climb up a thickly vegetated cliff to get this shot, before that we could hear the surf pounding on the beach & rocks .. sounded like 1000 backs breaking.

Above right and below: Far out to sea a reef was firing like clockwork, not sure if anyone has ever surfed it, but the right looked pretty sweet.

Sunday, 22 July 2007


I thought and wondered alot over the weekend why people are not honest about their intentions and actions, why there is always dishonesty where money is concerned, and over the potential of loosing face. I also have to include myself here.
I find myself not writing on my blog what I REALLY think about many things, including for example the 'political' aspect of the current sand dune process. For me my dishonesty is not so much about money interests, its about loosing or gaining credibility/face, trying to stay neutral and reach for an understanding of both sides of everything. But in doing this I feel I am resisting a gut urge, the one that wants to cry out and say, 'hey this just isn't right'.
I spent many years as a monk, and one of my novitiate vows was asteya, or 'non stealing' .. which boils down to allowing all expressions to move through me without interpretation or interaction from my mind of right or wrong, good or bad.. if something was to be said.. say it/do it and let be, the is no 'me' to take blame or be punished and nobody to hurt. I can only be harmed by how my mind judges my personality, and interprets my actions against those of others actions and reactions. So now I find myself becoming absorbed and concerned with the dune erosion issue.. my 'soul' wants to act in many ways, but my mind restricts any upwelling to act with thoughts of doing wrong, and offending people. What a poor me egotistical outlook :0) Now I have had my jolt back to reality this weekend, I can expend some energy on enjoying my life and acting without repression. Everyone has a part to play in any drama, each and every one is wholly justified in their actions and intents, filling in a part of the divine play.
Life is bigger than the sandpit.

Clipping below from the ODT friday with a response from Mick Reece about the current situation, and short term action on the beach erosion issue.

Below a wider look at the 'works' so far.

Above.. theres always one on the inside :0)

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Some more information about Holmberg Technologies

Holmberg Technologies Inc.
Undercurrent Stabilizer™ System
A Proven Alternative Coastal Erosion Management Solution

Globally, the issue of how to effectively manage coastal erosion is of increasing concern to those who have an interest in the conservation of our precious coastal environment.

Over thirty years ago, Dick Holmberg, a visionary environmentalist, with a unique understanding of the oceans’ behavior gained from his experience as a deep-sea diver, became concerned about coastal erosion and the shortcomings of the methods that were being used to manage the problem. He responded by pioneering the development of an alternative coastal erosion management solution – the Undercurrent Stabilizer™ system.

To-date, Dick Holmberg’s company - Holmberg Technologies, Inc.- has applied Undercurrent Stabilizer™ systems to successfully manage coastal erosion in over 100 projects, responding to a wide range of site characteristics and objectives for clients that have included government, community and private interests.

In contrast to traditional approaches to erosion management, such as rock walls, groynes, artificial reefs and sand replenishment, Holmberg Technologies’ Undercurrent Stabilizer™ systems derive their success from working with nature, rather than against nature, to facilitate the reconstruction of a permanently self-sustaining shoreline environment.

A significant benefit of the Undercurrent Stabilizer™ system is that because it is a permanent self-sustaining solution, installations typically involve a once-only cost for assessment, design and construction. In most cases ongoing maintenance costs normally associated with traditional solutions are eliminated. At around US$2 million per mile Undercurrent Stabilizer™ systems are significantly cost-effective when compared to traditional solutions.

Often described as seabed speed bumps, Undercurrent Stabilizer™ systems are designed to slow sediment (e.g. sand or gravel) laden currents, to halt erosion and induce accretion.

Undercurrent Stabilizer™ systems successfully reduce wave energy and current velocities forcing the precipitation of indigenous sediment onto the shore. This reduction in velocity and hydraulic energy also reduces transport of sediment from the shore. The technology restores and protects the near-shore as well as facilitating the restoration and conservation of dunes and bluffs without interfering with the outer surf zone. The technology remains in place providing solid underpinning which facilitates storm protection.

Provided an initial feasibility study proves to be positive, an Undercurrent Stabilizer™ system is custom designed to address site-specific conditions, characteristics and performance objectives.

The system typically includes a geo-mass template designed to re-contour a deficit near-shore profile (one that loses sand) into a shallow, gently sloping accretion profile (one that gains sand). Each system is an interlocked network of concrete filled geo-textile tubes that extend like long “fingers” perpendicular to the coastline and sometimes incorporates a shore parallel component (especially where bluff or dune undercutting by wave action is possible).

Once installed, the technology follows the slope of the beach and near-shore and disappears completely out of sight, as the beach-face and near-shore accretes.
The effectiveness of Holmberg Technologies’ approach to coastal erosion management has been verified by independent scientific and technical studies and supported by international university research, as well as by thirty years of empirical evidence.

For more information visit: www.erosion.com and www.blufferosion.com
In Australia or New Zealand contact:
Chris Johnson, BBS. Australasian Representative, T/F 00-64(9)-5358066 – Email: andresim@ihug.co.nz

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

An alternative Dune Solution

There have been many theories and talk about a suitable method of restoring our dunes to a safe and acceptable state without extensive costs and risks.
1/ More Sand Sausages.
2/ An artificial reef or bank.
3/ Continual re-supply of sand from the Otago Harbour/Tomahawk
4/ Sand trap fences, as Duke Gilles did in the old days
5/ Relocating Mitre10 Mega as an artificial reef
And all agreed the current action, although necessary is not a solution at all, just a bandaid.

I have had contact with an overseas company (Holmberg Technologies) who have extensive experience and success in coastal dune restoration, and thought it offered an alternative to what is currently proposed, all it would need is the support of the powers that be financially to empower the work. Below is a copy of an email I received back from them:

Hello Nic,

Thank you for contacting Holmberg Technologies Inc. Your contact details have been forwarded to me as the Rep."down under." I've checked your Blog out and it is great! - you and fellow Bloggers appear to share our concerns re conservation of the coastline.

The situation on the coastline in Otago reminds me of the old Chinese proverb which goes something like: - "A crisis is merely an opportunity in disguise!" The crisis on the Otago coastline is an opportunity for our company to assist you through our knowledge and experience and, (I suggest) an opportunity for stakeholders to learn from the past, and open their minds to support a proven alternative.

From your perspective at least stakeholders should have learnt some tough lessons about the limitations of concrete walls and sand filled tubes and (soon to come!) sand replensihment as a means to "defend" the land against the open sea!!!
These methods simply dont work effectively (without adverse effects on the environment) because the basic underlying strategy of trying to defend against the sea is fundamentally flawed.

Holmberg Technologies Inc's strategy is to facilitate reconstruction of a beach profile to create a natural self sustaining beach and dune system - i.e. Holmberg's strategy works with nature rather than the "traditional" engineering approach of working against nature - like most brilliant ideas quite simple really! To do this we use geotextile tubes filled with concrete to
initially (and after storms) trap sand suspended in the system to rebuild the beach profile.
We use concrete because experience has shown that sand filled tubes dont stay intact for long, replenished sand washes away (and eventually money runs out for its replacement etc.) and the new beach needs the solid underpinning of concrete to cope with storm conditions.
The tubes we use become buried out of sight very quickly in open coastal environments and have not been shown to interfere with the surf zone. As you will have probably seen from the examples on the our website Holmberg Technologies Inc has the experience and technology to manage the type and magnitude of situation which you are facing in Otago. What we will need eventually however is the united support of stakeholders. If you have questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
I have attached some introductory information which you may
want to post on your Blogg.

Kind regards,

Chris Johnson,
Australasian Representative
For Holmberg Technologies Inc.

Middle's Beach Dune progress


Managed to find a tide low enough to get down on the beach and walk along to get some photos, couldn't make the walk all the way along to where they are laying the rock mattresses, as I would have been late for work, well I was 10 mins late as it was. Hard to get a clear shot as no sun gets in to the dune area, feel sorry for the workers, must be cold, look at the frost on the sand on the pic below! The sand thats being washed away already from this buffer is creating a nice surf bank at St Clair too.
Thanks again to Mark for sending me the scanned clips from the ODT, I appreciate it soo much.

And some 'Letters to the Editor' of the ODT newspaper.. plus an Editorial

Monday, 16 July 2007

Midwinter Xmas Dinner

At work today for lunch we had out midwinter christmas dinner complete with trifle.. mmm So a full belly set me up for a complete kook surf (not that I need any excuses for sucking) .. so opted out of it early to take some photos.. light was fading fast with some semi sunset ones .. slower shutter speeds etc .. got some nice sequences, so stitched one together. Below:

'fixing' the steps

I mentioned on my blog a few weeks back how the bottom steps closest to the pool were swaying when hit by waves.. council has recognised the need for repairs, and opted for the bandaid approach, filling behind the stairs creating a wedge with concrete.

Above left, workers concreting the concrete wedge in, with inset pic of the poured concrete under the stairs. Right, the other side of the stairs was filled in with the same wedge last week.


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