Friday, January 23, 2015

Onehunga Bay stingrays pay a heavy price for tide gates that are not functioning?

On my morning walk around the 'bay,' I was met with a very sad scene. I am sure many of you have read my blogs and seen news reports about 'the Ray at the Bay,' swimming freely, delighting the visitors and locals as it frolicked on the mudflats. It was a point of discussion; for families, for the regulars, who varied in their opinions as to how safe it was for their dogs and kids, but for the most part, the ray was seen as a 'positive.' My first big shock was the actual death, but it was not one ray---it was at least four, stranded and helpless, dying a slow death, as the water receded. WHY now? OK, there are several theories but the commonality is that the water was at a King Tide last night, meaning that the balancing low tide was equally extreme. The water was still going our=t when I visited this morning and it is not often that nearly ALL of the mudflats are exposed. It is my belief (and that is open to challenge) that the Council is able to conation an amount of water in the bay, whenever it wants. It does so for special events but with the work going on, in the bay and on the other side of the motorway, it seems that this has not happened. This is not a blame game, but the question needs to be asked---could this 'vision of nature at its best,' not been saved? Did these creatures have to die, simply because 'people' who brought about a system where the gates controlled the water flow and natural tide ebb, need to die because this situation had not been foreseen? The feeling this morning was one of sadness. Very few people were silent on the matter. I loved the way families explained to their children about these magnificent beasts, about the obvious connections to Steve Irwin and how there is always an other side to 'viewing' these animals, about nature in general, the wider 'big picture,' that nature represents. For the future--well more rays will come, seeking the 'rewards' of the bay and delight us again, but how about we make sure they have access--in and out of the bay. I have enjoyed the last few months and had many conversations with people. I hope we see new arrivals very soon, but please Council, sort out the 'gates.'

Saudi King's 'younger' brother takes the throne---he's only 79!

So the King is dead, to be succeeded by his younger brother. Apparently there are quite a few more siblings, lining up to take their turn, once his 'new' majesty succumbs to the inevitable. The former king and now his replacement are aligned to the West, yet we often hear of rumblings within the kingdom, whereby various groups operate in a manner that is decidedly 'not pro-western;' not that I see that as a negative position. One suspects that things are not as simple as the likes of the USA and its allies would wish. For sure, the last of the 'Father of this nation's son,' will leave the scene too as they slowly 'leave this earth. What happens then, in this kingdom that has public beheadings, flogs its citizens for any utterances that are seen a against the 'religion.' It is on first appearances a 'modern nation,' but one with deep divisions and the potential to become the next 'basket case' Middle Eastern failed nation, for the moment held together by a vast security system that represses any opposition, and one that still keeps women very much in the background. As for foreign workers, especially those from poorer countries---well---they won't get a look in and they better keep their mouths shut! Guess I am not going there anytime soon. BUT---one wold hope that the people of Saudi Arabia gradually assert themselves, in ways that are sadly missing in its neighbours.