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January 25, 2011

Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Cape Kidnappers forms the south-eastern end of Hawkes Bay, situated on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island.

It's quizzical name comes from British explorer Captain James Cook's voyage of the Endeavour in 1769. While making landfall at the cape on October 15, 1769, local Maori attempted to abduct the servant of a member of Captain Cook's crew. The crew member was Tiata, a Tahitian accompanying Cook's interpreter Tupaia. Cook's journal states that Tiata was in the water near Endeavour when a Maori fishing boat pulled alongside and dragged him aboard. Sailors from Endeavour's deck immediately opened fire on the fishing boat, killing two Maori and wounding a third. Tiata promptly jumped overboard and swam back to Endeavour, while the remaining Maori paddled their craft back to shore. A 4-pounder cannon was fired after them from Endeavour's quarterdeck, but the Maori boat was soon out of range. (Wikipedia: Cape Kidnappers)

The cape these days is famous for its three colonies of Australasian gannets, a bird related to the albatross. Although a popular destination with tourists as well, it is not all that accessible for those who rely on legs to transport themselves rather than wings since the high tide comes right up against the cliffs of the peninsula. Trips to the cape have to be timed to start with the out-going tide and completed before the in-coming tide starts to cover the shoreline once again. Fitter and adventurous types hike the 18km (11 mile) round-trip from the seaside village of Clifton. Others pay for a ride on the trailers hauled along the beach by a convoy of powerful tractors, which is what I did on this recent outing. Should you ever get the opportunity to visit the cape yourself some day, be prepared to get at least your feet and lower legs wet on the outbound journey as the tractors set off while the tide is still quite high, albeit going out.

I managed to get some interesting photos of the coastline and Cape Kidnappers itself, as well as a sampling of the gannets. Please enjoy my Photos of Cape Kidnappers and the Australasian Gannets

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