The image shows Ninepin Rock at the entrance of the Manukau Harbour and at the south end of the Waitakere Ranges. We used to take the students there on a three day excursion at the end of the summer semester. They had a landscape assignment during their stay, while I had nothing to do and  just tagged along to wind down. I always had a great time running up and down the mountains right next to the beach. It only takes around 35 minutes from our Tech to the haunted 1870s Lodge where we stayed. It is an entirely different world.  First of all no cell phone reception! Except when you hike up the nearest mountain for half an hour (or take your car back to Auckland, but that would be cheating!).

It is a rough and spectacular place and every year the landscape looked somewhat different. It was always interesting to see what had changed from the previous year. There was a beautiful lagoon one year, the next year it was entirely gone. The storm just shifts vast amounts of black sand and reshapes the profile of the land. Just like God is playing in an over sized sand pit. Six square kilometers of land, or should I say sand, have been added at this corner of the country since the 1940s.

The shifting sand make the entrance to the harbour extremely treacherous. And it was here where New Zealand’s worst maritime disaster occurred. In 1863 a British Royal Naval corvette, the HMS Orpheus came to grief: 189 men out of 270 people on board remained unaccounted for. The ship was involved in the British preparations for the Maori Land war. Two years later another war ship the HMS Eclipse with nearly 300 men on board was temporarily grounded on a sand bank in the harbour entrance.

Mmhm, I wonder who God supported in that war.

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