15 August 2012

Cook Strait lighthouse


I crossed Cook Strait from the South Island to Wellington yesterday, and drove back to the valley today. Partway across the Strait, I wandered out onto the observation deck to look for seabirds, but the ocean seemed strangely devoid of life. No albatrosses, no shearwaters, not even a gull. The sight of this lighthouse leaning against a faint row of Jacob's Ladders partly compensated, though.

Update:
Maritime NZ tells me this is the now-decommissioned Karori Rock Beacon. Engineer Jim Foye says, "Karori Rock was decommissioned in 1996 and replaced with a light call Tongue Point on the mainland, the main reason was to enable the site to be safely accessed. Karori Rock was left in place and still acts as a visual mark."

The beacon is the subject of a 1918 paper (Holmes, R. W. (1918). The Karori Rock beacon, Cook Strait, New Zealand. Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 206(1918), 331–337. doi:10.1680/imotp.1918.15868). Work on the beacon was completed in October 1915.

The lean in my photograph is an illusion: the tower itself is vertical but slopes on the landward side to increase stability.

[14 August 2012, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 300 mm, ISO 100, 1/640 at f8]

All content © 2012 Pete McGregor

5 comments:

Zhoen said...

So stark and lonely.

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

the first thing that popped to mind was, 'i can't cook straight!' aside from the humor, this is a beautiful, haunting image. lovely work, pete!

robin andrea said...

I love the mood of this photo, Pete. For some reason it made me think of Odysseus strapped to the mast, leaning out to hear the Sirens song.

Anne-Marie said...

Hmmmm. I've never seen this lighthouse before, and I can't even identify it. Depending on its location in Cook Strait, it's most likely to be a light beacon, somewhere like Ninepin Rock. I love its lean! Great capture of it too, Pete.

This page has a link to a map of all lighthouses and beacons in NZ:
http://www.maritimenz.govt.nz/Commercial/Shipping-safety/Aids-to-navigation/Lighthouses-of-New-Zealand.asp - you'll be to identify its location better than me.

That's enough lighthouse geekiness for now!

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, yes — not much too it.

Barbara,thanks!

Robin, I'm sure some of the currents in Cook Strait would have tested Odysseus. The sea at the entrance to Tory Channel, where the inter-island ferries reach the South Island, is usually spectacularly scary, even in good weather.

Anne-Marie, I thought you might like this! Thanks for the link to the Maritime NZ website; I checked it and it's not shown, so your guess about its being a beacon sounds on the mark. I've emailed Maritime NZ, so when I get a response I'll update the post.