Tuesday, August 21, 2012

East Cape, New Zealand

East Cape, New Zealand
East Cape is the easternmost point of the main island of New Zealand.  It is a wild, remote, isolated and beautiful area.  It  has the distinction of being the first mainland place in the world to see the sun each day, according to numerous sources.  I'm not sure what 'mainland place' is referring to, but points in Japan, Fiji and Kiribati also claim that honor.  What I can say, is we were probably the first 2 people in New Zealand to see the sun rise on that day, even though we didn't make it there until some time after sunrise.  Since we saw no other people for miles before we arrived, it is probably safe to assume no one was there before us that day!   So we were standing near the edge of tomorrow!  After walking up the 757 steps we stepped into a small clearing with this glorious view.  I did not saturate or alter the color of the water.  It was just beautiful to see the layers and shades of turquoise stretching to the horizon.  Behind me is a small lighthouse.  Even with a wide angle lens, however, there was not enough room for me to stand and get a decent shot of the entire lighthouse and the ocean in one frame.  The lighthouse used to be on the little island called East Island, or Whangaokeno or Motu o Kaiawa by the local Maori.  Landing on the island and building the lighthouse was a very hazardous job, taking the lives of at least 4 men.  Also, a boat transporting equipment to the island capsized in the treacherous waves.  The lighthouse was completed and the light was first lit on August 9, 1900.  The Maori, however, considered the island sacred and forbidden and said it did not want humans to be there.   No Maori would ever lived there.  The island was continually beset with hardship and tragedy.  Equipment was washed away in heavy rains.  The lightkeeper could not grow a garden or raise cattle to provide for his family because of the poor soil.  Three of his children died.  Ships wrecked on the rugged shoreline causing more deaths.  The island suffered numerous landslides and earthquakes, eventually weakening the structure of the lighthouse.  In 1922 the light was extinguished, and the lighthouse dismantled and moved to the main island where it stands today.
Once the lighthouse was removed and the island was abandoned, all landslides and earthquakes stopped!  
 

7 comments:

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Interesting story. Thank you.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Absolutely gorgeous picture. That colour is so vibrant it is almost unbelievable,but I do believe when you say you didn't alter it. WOW!!!

Robin said...

Karen, wow! Well worth the steps! A very interesting story!

MTWaggin said...

Love the photo and adore the story!

janc@mac.com said...

The Maori's must have been right.

Scott said...

A beautiful place and I'm so glad you were there to capture it.

diane b said...

You must think that you are in heaven already.......it is a beautiful scene but with a spooky tale to tell.