One of my most memorable stops so far was the Whale Bay rocky intertidal. I
have never experienced a coastline so unique. To start off, the geology of the
area was very unique. I could see the progression of weathering from the pillow
basalts to the boulders to smaller cobbles up the beach. It is so interesting to
learn about processes in the classroom, and then actually get to see them in the
field. It was fascinating to see how pools were created in the indentations in the
rocks and between them. This created a unique habitat for the animals living
I loved seeing the diversity of animal species at Whale Bay. Previously, we had
only seen shells and some crabs, but the rocky intertidal zone was full of life. I
remember how excited I was to see two starfish in one of the tide pools, and see
living things in shells instead of just the shells washed up on the beach. Stu
even caught one of the crabs so I could look at it up close.
Besides the geology and biology of the area, it was interesting to see how the
people of New Zealand were using this unique coastline. There were tons of
surfers off the shore taking advantage of the large, high energy waves. At first I
was confused as to why there were so many surfers when the waves would be
coming straight in to such large boulders, but I noticed how the waves were
refracting around the larger boulders, which was interesting to see.
Overall, the Whale Bay rocky intertidal was one of my favorite places to go.
Seeing the unique biology, combined with being able to see geological
processes in the field made this a great experience.