Oakura Bay Rocks Expedition

By Mark Hanna 06/01/2015


Ever since I was a child, I’ve spent my summers at Oakura Bay. It’s a really lovely beach on the east coast of New Zealand, about 3 hours’ drive north of Auckland. My father’s family has been coming here since he was a child, and for the past 16 years we’ve been lucky enough to have a fantastic bach here.

One of my favourite things at this bay is the fantastic rocks. Near our end of the beach, there is a rocky peninsula accessible only at low tide, and it’s an absolute treasure trove.

Last night I had a really interesting conversation about the stuff I found there with fellow Sciblogger Victoria Metcalf, prompted by one of her tweets about what she and her daughter had found around a similar set of rocks:

One thing I’ve got in the habit of doing in my trips to the rocks is collecting any paua shells I found. In order to carry them more easily, I’d stack them together to hold in one hand, and I ended up quite enjoying how that looked so developed a habit of it. Here are some stacks I’ve collected that we keep on a windowsill back at our bach:

I’ve noticed, in doing this, that some paua shells are more curved than others, which makes them very difficult to stack:

I’m really glad I mentioned this, as now I finally understand why that is:

After being encouraged by this chat we had last night, today I took my phone with me to the rocks so I could share what one of these trips is like, and perhaps find answers to a few more questions I had. Unfortunately my phone died near the end, but I’m quite happy with how much I managed to capture.

If you missed it on Twitter, here are the tweets from my trip. Unfortunately it seems Twitter compressed some of the photos a little too aggressively, so I’m afraid in some case it might be tough to see some of the things I’m trying to point out.

If you see I’ve called anything by the wrong name or if you have anything more to add, please let me know in the comments:

Oops, by “thung” I meant to say “thing”

“thus” should be “this”

I meant to say “damp” instead of “damn” here

If I were paying more attention last night, I might have remembered that Victoria had mentioned that these creatures are called chitons:

“are’of” should be “area of”