Monday, May 30, 2011

Stewart Island

We have just been to Stewart Island for the weekend, the first time to the Island for us. Stewart Island is an eco-tourism destination known for its thriving bird and marine life. We left home with Edel and Peter on Saturday morning, a cold windy morning with hail stones still lying thick on the ground from the overnight fall. The comfortable trip across on the ferry took an hour as we motored at 22knots in the Real Journeys catamaran.  On arrival to the motel where we had booked another hail shower hit, this time the hail was horizontal but thankfully brief and the sky cleared for us to take a boat trip across to Ulva Island, a bird sanctuary with very nice walking tracks. No-one lives on the island and so for the 4 hours that we were there, we were the only people there. The first bird interaction was with wekas on the beach. They are flightless birds also called wood hens and about the size of a domestic chicken.  They came running up to us and provided good photographic opportunities for Warren as they showed no fear at all and followed us about.  There was lots of other bird spotting, some birds we had not seen before such as the South Island Kaka, a brown parrot with a grey head which we also saw in the town feeding from the veranda of a local house. We stayed overnight and then after a wander about “town”, a pub lunch and a game of pool we headed home. The ferry trip home a bit more exciting with 50 knot winds through the Foveaux  Strait and a 3 metre swell. How we appreciated being in a bigger boat than Scot Free!

Back home now we plan to settle down a bit for the winter, although this week Warren is off to Queenstown to help build Rob’s new house.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Winters coming

The hail stones that fell through the night are still frozen on the ground this afternoon.  The weather forecast says we should get a high of 11degrees but the temperature display in the car says 1 and in town says zero so it’s a bit chilly!
It’s raining and the locals say if you wait for the weather to be good you will never get out and do anything so yesterday we donned warm clothes and rain coat to go for an afternoon walk on the South coast. The whole idea was to support Peter who has just had his varicose vein surgery and needs to walk.   It was a good walk along the coast and back via a forest road and the hot coffee afterwards was great.   On Friday Warren and I packed our tent and walking shoes and headed out to Hauroko Lake. We had a good walk along the lake edge and part way up to the lookout but we’ve still got a bit of the north in us and we decided late in the afternoon to pack up the tent and head for home, largely due to the rain and cold.
There is still a lot for us to do here and we have plans to head up to Queenstown next weekend for Warren’s big birthday and then the following weekend we are going over to Stewart Island taking advantage of a locals discounted fare offer on the ferry.  We had quite a list of things to do while here and surprisingly we have been here for three and a half months already so we can’t let the moss grow. Having said that DREEEM catcher might not be going far for a while as the ground between us and the road, which is probably 50 metres across the lawn from us, is very wet and soft from the rain. Our house could be settled here til it dries out.
Work is going really well and I am enjoying both the organisation and the people. It is much less stressful and being part time is great. 
Apologies to all who think we have vanished from contact. Our internet coverage is very limited. We find our phone connection variable and of course need the 3G for internet access.  We can still pick up emails and text on the iphone so long as we wait for the signal to come in so you can still get us.  I also check the emails from work but don’t tell them.