A stormy anniversary

Full circle - it is the shortest day of the year, and a year since I started this blog.  And here in Wellington we are recovering from a severe midwinter storm - the worst here in almost thirty years - wind gusts reaching 200 km per hour, waves of 15 metres.  Damage - roofs blown off, windows blown out, trees down, electricity supplies cut, landslides, seabirds battered and dumped by the wind and the waves, and so on, but still plenty to be grateful for - lots of risk and close calls, but no loss of human life. 

All that energy!  Without the sound effects it is hard to convey the fear-inducing power - apparently the isobars were lining up from the Antarctic ice to us in a most unusual (thank goodness) formation, that led to very heavy snowfall in the South Island, and dramatic weather in most parts of New Zealand.  Here on Wellington's south coast we get the full force of the southerly storms.  Along from Island Bay the coast road is very vulnerable, but even at our usually peaceful beach there was drama...

Storm swells battering the Island Bay beach.  The seawall was breached during the night and the orange arm of an excavator can be seen, moving the rubble and working to plug the extensive gap. 

In the curve of the beach there is an area of relative shelter from the island, Taputeranga.  Here fishing boats rode the turbulent waves.  Seaweed in large quantities washed up on the shore, but no boats. 

With extensive experience of trying to capture the drama of storm waves in photographs, I was realistic - you can be almost unable to stand in the wind, and the image will look quite peaceful!  But I tried.

With the glistening spray the waves can look playful (just watch that camera!) 

There is a grandeur to the scene with the dark brooding skies and the contrast between the white foaming water and the rugged rocks.

And there is drama, an ever changing scene, waves crashing against the rocks, curling and splashing.

All that energy, the huge forces that shape the environment around us, being made more intense in their effect on us by our effect on the environment.