First, put this on:
See for yourself.
If he hasn't been for one already, Vincent and I usually take Joe for a walk in the evening, before dinner and after Vincent has finished working for the day. It's my favourite time of the day to walk; day itself is ending but it isn't quite dusk - it's that in-between, suspended time. It looks magical but in a real way; the magic may not be good - it might be, but it might not be, too. A few weeks ago, now, one of those walks took us to Tunnel Beach, which is about ten minutes from central Dunedin but feels worlds and light years away. I kept comparing it to Narnia but I don't know if that's an accurate description; it felt like unusual things were possible, and like it had a past of struggle. We met people coming back from it and it's funny, but I felt a sense of connection with them which wasn't striking until we came back. Tunnel Beach feels like a turning point. or at least a point of note. I don't know what's changed since we went there but I feel as if something must have; you can't visit a place like that and not be changed.
The tunnel was commissioned by Lord Cargill in the 1870s, so his daughters would have access to the beach below, separated from St Clair by beautiful and imposing cliffs, where they would swim. It was carved out of solid rock in which, at places, you might be able to see fossilised sea urchins and even bones of an extinct whale, if you had a torch. The cliffs rise up around you, and the endless sea makes you feel as if you must have reached the end of the earth (which made me think of The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader). The sense of mortality you might feel, watching the waves crash through the hole in the rock becomes unimportant; without being conscious of it, it feels insignificant in the face of the magic. I'm convinced the place is the beginning of another world.
See for yourself.