Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Group Stop Blog ENtry- Alison Gutsche

Alison Gutsche

I knew about Raglan Beach before I went on this New Zealand trip. There was a summer when Endless Summer was on TV everyday and I watched as they traveled to the legendary surf beach. Raglan was better than I ever imagined. It was the longest and widest beach I had ever seen along with its fine, black sand; it was something right out of the movies. I felt like I was walking forever as I approached the famous west coast waves of the Tasman Sea. The waves were bigger than what I was used to at Fenwick Island, DE. The waves were getting as big as 2.5m high and only falling to about 1.5m high, which can be considered low for Raglan's usual waves.

It was a perfect beach day, the skies were clear and there was a slight breeze that filled my entire backpack with black sand. It was the darkest sand I had ever seen filled Magnetite, ilmenite, and rutile. The sand was very fine and very well sorted due to the high-energy waves crashing onto the shore, and was rather annoying in the fact that it was very hard to remove from my hands and fingernails. We dug a small trench to studying the storm layering of the beach and noticed the different minerals in the layers. While digging, we found a small isopod and few different shell fragments. There were an assortment of Pipis, wedge shells, mussels, and cockles.
The large waves were mainly spilling with a few plunging due to the fact that it was a high energy, so it was a dissipative beach. The fine sand and wide surf zone also contributed to the dissipative beach characteristics. The steady sets of waves broke perfectly for surfers close to shore and also farther out to sea. I would have enjoyed returning and watching some experienced surfers brave the waves of Raglan, but our visit was short. Hopefully one day I'll be back and be able to spend more time on the legendary beach.

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