Tuesday, June 14, 2011

French Pass Revisited

I first visited French Pass at the end of March 2010 when my friends Jill and Ian came down to visit me. At the beginning of June, my friends Nancy and Dave came up from Christchurch for the long weekend, and I was lucky enough that they wanted to do the drive out there, so I got to go along again!

It was the same road, nothing had changed, even the same temperature, but the weather was quite different and this made for interesting photography! The weather back in March was fine and sunny - you can see the last blog for a comparison here.

Road to French Pass in the middle of native bush.

We actually stopped here to take a photo of the lovely view. Unfortunately, there weren't many places to stop as the trees screened the view in a lot of places. Here's Nancy getting a good shot between the trees....


I mentioned the temperature was the same - about 12C, the big difference was in March we were still wearing summer clothes so we froze, but this time, as it was winter, we were dressed for the chill so it was much more pleasant!

Back in March 2010, the wind blew like crazy, but this time everything was dead calm and still. Chalk and Cheese.

And here's Dave. Notice the mist coming off the sounds...


And in case you're wondering, here is the gorgeous view we were photographying...


Half an hour further up the road, we came to a place where you could see both sides - on the left the Pelorus sound, and on the right, the Tasman Sea... This one is the Pelorus Sound - note the mussel farm in the bottom right - this is one of many.  You're in Green Lipped mussel farming territory here...


And the Tasman sea...  If you look up at the top right, you can see the French Pass - our destination...

In case you're wondering, the farmland is privately owned, and this area has been farmed (sheep and beef) since 1857.



Our beautiful native bush. Unfortunately, you can see possum damage, the branches that are bare - 66 million possums are munching through our native forest with absolutely no natural predators...


The area we're in is wild and remote, but beautiful...


An old picnic table where you can stop and eat and see for miles. Back in March last year it would have been impossible to stop here because the winds would have been too strong.


Some sort of memorial at the top as well - I forgot to read the plaque! Now I'll have to go back again at some stage to find out what it said!


The cows are monstrous up here. Look at the size of the dung in comparison to my foot!!!!!


Crossroads - we'll go left and explore later!


Anyone have a letter they'd like to post?


The pass itself. French Pass is a narrow and treacherous stretch of water that separates D'Urville Island, at the north end of the South Island of New Zealand, from the mainland coast. At one end is Tasman Bay, and at the other end the outer Pelorus Sound leads out to Cook Strait.

French Pass has the fastest tidal flows in New Zealand, reaching 8 knots (4 m/s). When the tide changes, the current can be strong enough to stun fish! The first recorded European navigation of the pass occurred in 1827. Admiral Jules Dumont d'Urville navigated the pass during his second voyage to New Zealand, in the French Navy corvette Astrolabe. Approaching the narrowest part of the pass, the vessel swung sideward and did not respond to steerage. The corvette struck rocks twice, and was then washed over the reef and into Admiralty Bay. The high energy and complexity of the location was summed up by d’Urville suggesting that no one should attempt to navigate French Pass except in extreme emergency.

In 1888, a Risso’s dolphin appeared in the area. For the next 24 years, this dolphin accompanied boats to and from French Pass. He became famous as Pelorus Jack and was the first dolphin in the world to receive the protection of the law. Pelorus Jack stayed in the Pelorus Sounds, and did not navigate the pass into Tasman Bay. He would meet boats as they came out of the pass, riding their bow waves for 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) to Pelorus Sound. Then he would join boats returning to Nelson at the entrance to Pelorus Sound and escort them back to the pass. Pelorus Jack was last seen in April 1912. The lightkeeper at French Pass claimed he found the body of Pelorus Jack decomposing on the shore


Just north of the Pass looking up into the Cook Strait...


While waiting for Nancy and Dave to read everything about French Pass, I managed to find a Manuka tree in flower and whipped out my macro lens... The flower is only about half the size of my little finger nail.


Down in the tiny township of French Pass, the weather wasn't so good, so while Nancy and Dave explored, I shot this from the window of the car - one of the yachts moored in the bay...


After having a picnic lunch on the beach, we started heading back the way we came. Just one of the little beaches that you can see from the top of the hills...


Looking down the Pelorus Sounds - the weather was turning, misty and starting to rain. That kind of weather has never stopped us from doing anything though...


It just adds a mysterious element into our photography...


Oh look - the fridge again. The best letterbox in the world. Always reminds me of Dr Who for some reason...


Down to Cissy Bay where we found calm waters, an old fishing boat, amazing reflections, mist, and a beautiful spot for photography....


These are the rocks that were on the beach - these rocks were actually underwater - but the water was so crystal clear...



Here's the wonderfully reflected boat and hills...


Just the reflected boat...


Nancy and I found some crabs under the rocks and were enjoying fossicking and photographing....


Until we heard the horn and turned round to see Dave waiting to take us back home!!!!


A good fun day!

7 comments:

David said...

Wonderful scenes and photography Robyn

David said...

Wonderful scenes and photography Robyn

Robyn said...

Thanks David :)

Anonymous said...

So why only butt shots of Dave and Nancy? ;) Katie

Robyn said...

Katie - none of the others turned out :) - for some reason they were all blurry!

Cheers
Robyn

DAve Beaty (davincipoppalag) said...

such wonderful photos Robyn...love the boaty ones =D

Robyn said...

Thanks Dave - Glad you like the boaty ones - after your own heart :)

Cheers
Robyn