Shelley, congratulations on your very impressive prospectus. Best wishes for your own work on the freshwater environs.
50 degrees south and discover
its hidden secrets
It's 3pm on Monday (6th Dec) and in around five hours we will be on the HMNZS Wellington making our way to Campbell Island. Just enough time then to get some photos loaded and write a quick blog! Sorry but I didn't manage to get a video clip together (gave up editing around 11pm last night).
So lets backtrack to last Friday...
Alex James, Mark Crompton, and I flew down to Invercargill on Friday (3rd Dec) while Colin and co. had driven down the previous day. Dashing off the plane I swiped most of the sick bags just in case - thanks Air NZ, I'm really hoping I won't need them!
We went straight to the DOC quarantine store and started the three-day process. Things were well underway when we arrived and by about 5pm we had all the food packed and through to the quarantine room.
Day two meant going through our research and personal gear. It was a day of opening boxes and packing into fish bins - everything had to be bagged as well as the fish bins aren't water tight. It was sort of like Christmas opening all those boxes although they may not have been my first choice for presents!
It should be noted that every piece of clothing gets looked at almost under the microscope to ensure no tiny seeds or other material is present. I must say that the DOC crew do a fantastic job with this process. It was a surprise to some that our gear didn't pass muster which meant a date with the super sucker vacuum and tweezers. Alex James gets the reward for having nothing - not one seed or bit of material - being found in his gear. I won't name the ones on the wall of shame, partly because I was one!
The day was not manic but it was big with lots of packing, repacking, and lifting, plus the 30 degree heat in the secondary quarantine room was more akin to acclimatising for a trip to the tropics than the Subantarctics. So I promise you the sweaty brows in the photos aren't from the pressure of the day but just the heat. On the upside, any animal sneaky enough to get past the DOC staff wouldn't cope with the conditions any better than us.
Day 3 was an earlier start with loading of everything into the trucks ready for transport to Bluff wharf the following day. The DOC team really excelled here, and by the time I had finished dashing around taking photos and video, everything was almost loaded. All the required briefings were performed and we were off by 5pm.
A case of Kathryn's wonderful Mountford Estate wine was cracked open as a welcome drop to the end of each day, and as a thank you to DOC staff and the people who had us up at their houses. Actually, I'm currently at one of those houses, glancing out the second story window at original totara bush and regenerating vegetation - a wonderful vista that's a great forerunner for the outlook ahead.
So time to shut down and make the drive back to Bluff - we will be in touch in five days or so once we are settled in on the island and hopefully the power and satellite phone are working!
Here's to some plane sailing ahead...