Saturday, February 22, 2014

Limestone Island

Limestone Island is well named - for it is almost entirely made of Limestone. Once the site of a quarry, it is now managed by the municipality of Whangarei with support from a local cement company. There is a caretaker on the island and much work has been down to restore native vegetation, stabilize historic structures, and provide paths and signage. While I was ashore visiting, a tour boat arrived and 20 or 30 visitors rambled around the ruins and walked the paths that circle the island.

I anchored off one of the quarries and rowed ashore, landing on the beach under Victorian ruins of the manager's house. The quarry here is small by modern standards and I am glad that the mainland provided a more suitable place for a quarry early in the last century, preserving this little island for visiting boaters and tourists. Following are pictures I took while walking around the island.

The edge of the quarry reflected in an excavated hollow - now a thriving
 pond. The broad leaved plant is flax, which was once cultivated here and grows all over the island

I like the edgy textures of the rock contrasting with the soft bushes above.

Panorama from the quarry looking toward Whangarei. Onerahi is to the right. A derrick at the water edge was used to load the limestone on barges.

Manager's house. This was abandoned after a decade and the residence moved to the mainland quarry operation. It was re-roofed and occupied in the 1950's by a family who mined limestone here for fertilizer.

House as it would have appeared in the late 19th century. What a difference a roof makes!

Walk to the cement works and lime kilns on the other side of the island. Shipwreck beach lies just past the flax plant.

Iron from the wreck of the Victoria - a coastal scow wrecked here more than 100 years ago.

More great textures and colours (with saturation increased for effect)

Lime kilns used in cement manufacture appear to be in good condition

I love the echo between the curve of the vine and that of the brick arch

The structure of some of the columns is laid bare by the weather making interesting patterns

View back to McLeod Bay with old cement wharf to left

A Maori Pa (hill fort) looks out over the new cement plant on the mainland shore. These wooden survey marks are common in NZ.

Returning along the central ridge - Onerahi to the left. An airport covers the flat top of the hill just out of the frame.

Leaving Limestone Island.

Just half a jib and making 5-6 knots in 20 knots of south wind.


Mark said...

Don't know if you have yet heard about the accident in La Paz involving John on your sister ship Time Piece. FMI see the blog from Tom and Jeanne on Eagle:

Chris Bennett said...

Thanks for letting us know - what an awful accident. I will get in touch with John directly or via the blog.

Ann Adams said...

Lovely pictures as usual. I especially loved your echo picture!

Chris Bennett said...

Thanks Ann! This was my last sailing trip for a long time. Back in Canada now.