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Reader’s first hand report being in hurricane force winds in NZ

Hurricane force winds often batter Castlepoint – the eastern tip of Wairarapa.  On Christmas Eve winds reached hurricane force (over 120km/h) with gusts close to 200km/h for a time. reader Stacey Martin shares their adventures into these incredible winds.

I’ve just showered and cozy-ed up in bed to write to you telling you about an
exhilarating experience two friends and I had this afternoon at Castlepoint.
We drove up from Wellington in the morning. We were aware of the gale
warnings but as we get them all the time in Wellington (!!!!) we thought we
could handle it. The wind was strong to shake the car all the way from the
city to Castlepoint. At Castlepoint itself it was fairly strong but not
enough to making standing difficult though it was chucking sand in the air.
The real adventure began when we ascended the path to the lighthouse. About
halfway about we were struck by gusts, some sustained for nearly a minute,
that stopped us in our tracks. We held onto the wooden railing for dear life!
I’m a good 90kgs and it still knocked me about like a child’s toy!!! We
nevertheless made it to the top (where the views were stunning despite the
heavy wind) and on our way back down were once again stopped by the wind.
This time around it was violent. I say that because it ripped open the
buttons of my shirt!!!!! Amusement quickly changed to some concern and fear
as the wind just kept howling. The three of us covered down, clinging onto
the railing. It was nearly impossible to move at this point without
completely tipping over. All this while we were being sandblasted by soil,
sand and the likes. It felt like we were being rubbed all over by sandpaper!
This second bust was truly frightful and nothing of the likes I’ve ever
experienced in Wellington. We returned safely, with severe headaches, hurtful
ears, feeling slightly nauseous, tired and with sand everywhere!

I thought I’d write in with our experiences when I read on the Metservice
site that Castlepoint had experienced very strong gusts earlier today at
10am. By the time on the photos we took, this would have occurred between
12:50pm and 14:30pm on 24 December 2010. In hindsight, I guess we should not
have attempted to climb up to the lighthouse but honestly, having never
experienced something like that before, we didn’t even know we were in the
slightest peril. I wish I’d been able to film it all but it was so sudden and
so severe, that all I could think off was grabbing hold of that DOC guard
rail and not falling into the Pacific!

– Stacey Martin


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