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Seasquirt

The adventures of Fe & Chris

Archive for January 29, 2008

Bye bye NZ

After two months and 7000 odd kilometres, our travels round New Zealand are almost at an end. Today we said a sad goodbye to our lovely Campervan (after spending yesterday evening cleaning it). Awww - it served us well, even if it wasn’t mossie proof. Here it is about to fall off a cliff:

van.JPG

We now have a day or so to spend kicking around Auckland (not entirely sure there’s too much to entertain us, but I’m sure we’ll survive). Next we are going to Thailand for three weeks for more beach bumming, diving and perhaps some temple viewing… ahh how difficult our lives are.

When we return we’ll have to get jobs though, so any offers, of a legal variety only, might be appreciated. Thanks!

Poorly behaved endangered species

The island of Tiritiri Matangi is described as somewhere that anyone with even a mild interest in wildlife must visit. Eagerly we booked ourselves on a boat, with only slight disappointment at the huge number of our journey mates.

One of the highlights of the island is the Takahe, which resembles a rather overgrown moorhen. Now, the Takahe is one of the rarest birds in the world; it’s terribly endangered, and was once thought extinct. Rare birds should, of course, be difficult to see, and behave with a certain dignity befitting their status.

Takehe

This Takahe is stealing a chocolate bar from an old lady’s lunch. How rude is that? This beast is known - it is called Greg and will regularly strut around the beach begging and stealing food. All well and good you might say, more energy means Greg is better able to service the ladies and save the species from extinction! Not so, Greg has been eating too much junk food and can’t keep a lady. He hasn’t bred for years. Utterly useless. He should be confined to the sperm bank then poor old ladies lunches will be safe and any genetic uselfulness will be preserved.

At last…

After nearly two months of intermittent night-time wanderings we finally saw a wild kiwi. Several in fact, probably five. We’d heard one or two wild birds before, and seen captive birds at an excellent breeding facility in Rotorua and one lone beast in a less pleasing exhibit somewhere else (the names all disappear in a blur).

Our visit to Trounson forest was to be our last chance. Armed with red filters over our torches we entered the forest an hour after dark. Within 20 minutes we were listening to a beast snuffling and scratching just five metres from our path. After a suitably short pause to heighten excitement, a North Island Brown Kiwi popped out to say hello (well, it sniffed a little - a hello in kiwi-speak, I’m sure).

Over the next three hours we continued to explore the forest, enjoying brief glimpses of kiwi as they foraged. My particular favourite bird ran right past us as we were watching a scary looking short-finned eel and some crayfish in a stream. Quite brazen it was. Fast too, and with a comical looking rear end.

We decided to retire about 0100, and just as we were about to walk back through the gate to our conveniently located campsite two splendid kiwi decided to put on a proper performance - they strutted their stuff for a good twenty minutes in open view. Excellent stuff indeed.