Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wifi, gannets, and other stuff.

Apologies for my absence of posting. It is difficult to find a wifi connection in New Zealand...or at least in Hawke's Bay. Fortunately, (after many hours of struggle) I found our modem (and after many more hours of struggle), set up a wifi network in our house. I'll post more about the house later. It feels gigantic, and we have rooms that we don't know what we're going to do with (I tried really hard to not end that sentence with a preposition). It is heated by two wood burning stoves, for which we have no wood, so it was a little cold last night. And I must quickly learn to accept insects (and spiders) as cohabitants, as there does not appear to be such a thing as screens in New Zealand.

Thought I'd try to catch everyone up on what we've been doing the last few days (besides buying appliances).

Last Sunday, we took a drive toward Cape Kidnappers, home of the world's largest mainland gannet colony. For the less athletic, there are two tour companies that will 1) take you by tractor to within 1km of the gannets or 2) take you by bus to within a few feet of the gannets. But since we don't all have $80 to throw around, the gannets are also walkable. [Note to those from the USA: In New Zealand, when a government sign says: "Allow 5 hours for round trip", do not go thinking: "I'm in good shape, I'll finish in 4 hours." This is important to remember when visiting the gannets because your entire walk will be on a beach that is not there at high tide--you leave 3 hours after high tide, walk for 2 and a half hours, look at the gannets, then hurry back so that you will make it to your car 3 hours before high tide. Even then, you will find yourself walking in a foot of water at least once.]

[One more quick note. Beaches (below the high tide line) in New Zealand are considered streets, so a 4th option would be to drive. There were a few people doing this in SUVs of various sizes and conditions, and several people making the trip on ATVs and off road motorcycles.]

But I digress, the walk is absolutely stunning.

On the walk, you actually get to see 3 colonies of gannets.

The largest is probably the least impressive, except that you can get within a few feet of the birds; in fact, there's a rope that designates where the humans are allowed to stand, and where the gannets are allowed to stand.

Looking back through my pictures, it looks like we were at Waipatiki Beach the day before. The beach is nothing special, though somewhat secluded.

The small town around the beach is rather neat to take a stroll through; there is not much here, just some houses and a holiday park.

Like everywhere in New Zealand (including our backyard), there's a reserve nearby. I believe these are native plants.

And like everything else in New Zealand, you usually have to work (climb) for the good views.

No comments: