26 May 2015

Waves batter Wellington's south coast

4:31 pm on 26 May 2015

Cook Strait ferry services have resumed after heavy seas earlier today cancelled one service.

Met Service says large ocean swells washing over Wellington's south coast today are now easing.

The large waves broke loose an airport warning buoy, disrupted Cook Strait ferry services and brought surfers down to the shore at Lyall Bay, earlier today.

Wellington Airport spokesman Greg Thomas said the large marker buoy was one of two positioned off the airport's southern flight path.

It is designed to advise tall vessels over seven metres in height not to enter the area.

Mr Thomas said the buoy - which was torn free by today's waves estimated at up to six metres - had been salvaged and an investigation would now start in to how it came loose.

He said the buoy was designed to handle much larger swells.

Kiwi Rail cancelled its 2.45 Interisland ferry departure from Wellington this afternoon after the seas exceeded safer passenger operating limits.

Passengers were transferred to later sailings.

Two Bluebridge ferry sailings today had also been restricted to freight only.

Met Service meteorologist Emma Blades said today's large swell was generated by the strong south westerly weather flow lying to the south east of New Zealand.

She said the size of the sea was "not off the scale", and was now receding.

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