Days Off the Grid

Our time at Farewell Spit was very unique. Surrounded by glittering chilled seawater, scorched by the sun, blown about by gail force winds, and stung by sifting and wind tossed sands, we worked long days. We cored, used GPR and ERT, and took topographic data. Tanned and worn out, we spent our evenings cooking dinner and chatting with our flatmates, a team of researchers studying the Gannat colony at the end of the spit. We would trade stories late into the evenings until we grew tired of talking and dismissed ourselves to snag a little shut-eye or a glimpse of the lighthouse illuminating the starry sky. We were lucky enough to catch a full moon sparkling across the sand and sea while we were here, as well as experience whale and seal sightings.

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Exhausted

Finally got back from our long day’s work at 7:30pm. We were all exhausted, sun dried, and hungry. This was by far our most exhausting day. My shoulders finally burned enough to start peeling, even with three coats of sun screen today. We all feel accomplished and ready to move on to our next site, Farewell Spit. Our northward journey to the spit will take two days, stopping in Nelson for a night. Tomorrow morning we will be rising with the sun and hitting the road early.

Attention: While we may have internet in Nelson, we will *likely* not have it in Farewell. If you don’t see any blog posts soon, don’t worry! Blogging should resume around January 19th.

Working at Edoras – mid afternoon check in

Today we decided to work in the shadow of Edoras! We drove to the Mount Sunday walking track and hiked in a ways to setup our equipment. Following our normal routine, we setup the ERT equipment together, and then started using the GPR equipment.

Around mid-afternoon, I decided to take a run from our setup to the top of Mount Sunday. I predicted that it would take me 30 minutes to reach the top and make it back down, which turned out to be spot on. However, nearing the top on the way up was brutal! I thought I was going to pass out, between my heavy breathing, the steep incline, dehydration, and intense sunlight. I made it though, and took some great pictures. It was a clear day, so they turned out very vivid, in my opinion. I definitely failed to realize the magnitude of the run though. On the way back down, I was running so fast, and it was so steep, that I fell on my bum, bounced a few meters at high speed (keeping my camera safely against my chest), and bounced back up on my feet to keep running! It was a fun time, although exhausting.

Interesting – regarding the blog

I decided to post blog entries, leaving my normal Wisconsin timezone as it is set in my WordPress blog. It actually only just occurred to me that anyone back home won’t be getting those live. I just made some entries, but because of the 19 hour time difference between here and Wisconsin, it will take that long for you Wisconsinites back home to see the entries. Sorry about that. Anyway, when I reference a date, or time, or you see a blog post timestamp – those are in New Zealand time. When you visit my blog January 12th late at night, and see that I just posted – I actually “just posted” 19 hours ago. Gnight!

[I'm editing this posts timestamp so you guys and gals following back home can see this message sooner]

Starting Site #2

Thursday was our first work day at our second site, the first being Haast. We spent most of the day driving roads and tracks, scouting the best areas to setup our equipment. We also took the time to hike to Mount Sunday, aka Edoras for you Lord of the Rings fans. Me and Brittany were the last to start our hike down, and just as we were about to descend, a couple tourists with Lord of the Ring replica swords made it to the top and allowed us to borrow them for a couple quick pictures. Once again, for you Lord of the Rings enthusiasts, the sword pictured below is Narsil.

Throughout the day we also checked out some braided rivers, saw some gorgeous snow topped mountains – rare for the summer, viewed Lake Clearwater and Lake Emma, and spoke with some locals about the area.

A long day on the road

The 8th was a big travel day. We drove from Haast to Mount Somers where we would be working at the Ashburton Lakes, near the site they shot the scenes for Edoras at in the Lord of the Rings. Along the way, we stopped at Lake Wanaka for a snack, souvenirs, and some quick email checking. That evening we met up with Luke Mahon, who would be helping us.

Checking in at Lake Wanaka

Hit the road really this morning from Haast, and we just stopped lunch at Lake Wanaka. Here are some pictures I’ve taken along the way. Sorry there aren’t captions for the last couple days worth of pictures – been on the go a lot. You’ll see the weather is beautiful here!