Musical Sands of Oruawharo (Medlands), Great Barrier Island, New Zealand


How I came among Singing sands…by Athéna JOURDAN



This knol is part of the collection: #3 Polynesia
This is the story of how I came among Singing sand.Towards the end of January, my father had decided that as a late christmas present he would take my family and myself on a little trip to Great Barrier Island. All excited and happy to hear the news, I didn’t really know what I was in for. But mind you, a kid is always happy to go on a trip.Leaving Auckland, the excitment was rising and rising as we got closer to our destination. Taking Sealink
(the ferry we took to go there) gave us the opportunity to take our car with us. We wouldn’t have been able to visit the island without a car anyway so it sounded like the best thing to do.

Once arrived in Tryphena, we immediately jumped into our car and on our way we were. Hungry for food we were at the same time seaking for a restaurant and visiting the wonderful place. Being the exact definition of what you would call a “tourist”, we stoped to visit each town we went pass.

Time being very precious, we had to find a camping ground as soon as we could. The small town of Oruawharo being the last place we went to for the day was in fact where we decided to look for a camping ground. Believe it or not after a couple of minutes of getting lost in he town we found an amazing place to camp at. It was a  hidden camping ground which was next to a beach and had a beautiful river next to it, it seemed like the perfect place to stay at after an exhausting day and it was.

Early in the morning the next day, I convinced my dad and mum to go for a walk on the beach. Running and fooling around on the beach. I was inventing a new technique of walking which I call “Slide-walk” when suddenly I heard this really strange noise coming from underneath my feet. I slided again and again and again and found out that it wasn’t coming from the sand so I told my mum and she said: “Oh, that’s strange”.
Then I told my uncle but he didn’t seem very interested and guess who was left. I told my dad and he said:
“Wow that’s amazing, do you know what it is?”, then I said “No” and he said “It’s Singing sand, it can only be found in some particuliar places of the world, this is unbelievable”.

As we got home the first thing that my dad did was checking the internet to see if anyone knew about Oruawharo’s Singing sand. A little research was done and no one seemed to have mentioned anything about it. I was in shock, I realised that I had just made an incredible discovery. It was awesome.

My dad then told me that it would be great if I wrote a knol about it and so I did. I wrote my very own knol about Oruawharo’s Singing sand and you have just read it.

Musical Sand is quite rare.

It can only be found in certain places of the world.
The following page gives a list of these places:
http://www.chariho.k12.ri.us/curriculum/MISmart/ocean/sand6.htm
( Note that Oceania’s spots, both in the Hawaiian archipelago, are listed under North America. )

There is 2 major types of musical sand,

  • The Singing sand
  • The Booming sand

According to the same website, Booming sand can only be heard when sand slides down a (singing) dune.
On the other hand, Singing sand is found on specific beaches and will only make some noise if someone or something walks in it.

You can also tell them apart from the noise they make.

Singing sand:
http://www.chariho.k12.ri.us/curriculum/MISmart/ocean/SingSand.wav

Booming sand:
http://www.chariho.k12.ri.us/curriculum/MISmart/ocean/Booming.wav

There also may be other existing kinds of musical sand ? Like “Frog sand”,  see:
http://www.chariho.k12.ri.us/curriculum/MISmart/ocean/sand8.htm

Musical Sand of Great Barrier Island, New Zealand by Athena Jourdan.

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