Caving Excitement at the Bay with the Dragon Boat Rock

Dragon Boat RockOn a recent tramp, Dave was imparted with the secret knowledge of some dramatic sea caves just outside of Auckland.

We had to investigate. We took a couple of LED torches, but little did we know that we could have used much more serious lighting.

The Bay with the Dragon Boat Rock, is inaccessible, as well as very remote. The Knotted Flax leads the wayHowever, cavers from generations gone by found a way, and the place of the knotted flax leads the path down the sheer cliff face. There are several ropes along the way to help you negotiate your journey down, but it is a technically difficult climb, not for the vertigo-suffering-inclined.

Once at the bottom, we ventured into the first cave we saw on our right. Despite low-tide, there was still water running through it. The cave took us through a winding, dark journey, probably over 100m, and eventually led us out to another bay, with several more caves. We needed all the lighting resources we had available.

While we did find ourselves on hands and knees, down one cave-arm, most are very large. One leads into a cathedral-sized cavern, with an open vertical chimney at the top. Very impressive. If you were caught out due to poor tide-management planning, you could potentially seek refuge there, but it wouldn’t be very pleasant.

There is water running through all of the caves, and in one spot I found myself chest-deep before deciding to turn back. My trusty Tevas proved to be the ideal footwear choice.

Having calmed down from all the excitement of actual real caves, I started noticing the extensive marine life around us. Crabs were scuttling about everywhere, cave walls were wall-papered with star-fish, mussels, snails, and many other colourful life-forms.Oh it's a crab! Rock-pools contained actual fish. With the exception of the marine reserve at Goat Island, I have never witnessed such a diverse and abundant marine ecosystem.

It is sad that to see actual marine wild-life, we have to venture so far off the beaten track.

View all photos here.

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