Thursday, April 30, 2009

Red Wine and Swine Flu

Once more, John was the perfect host at his house when we had navigated through the Wellington traffic after disembarking from the ferry.

The wine flowed freely as we awaited the arrival of Jen, Doug and Margot to assist with the consumption of John's cooking and all the whitebait we had brought with us from the South Island. Naturally, the talk revolved around the outbreak of swine flu, which D and M were busy supervising. A phone call from D confirmed that he may not be able to leave the Beehive basement and join us for dinner.

But join us they did! And it's fair to say that D was fairly vibrating with excitement at the impending apocalypse, dashing out to answer his urgent calls and summoning M for briefings in the hallway. It was all very exciting.

The gesture of the evening was "shut it down", kindly modelled here by Gaye:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"May Cause Drowsiness....."

In the car and up the coast today. Departure was intended for 6am but for some reason the alarm was not correctly set so we were somewhat delayed in hitting the road. Then further delayed as Gaye picked tomatoes, and emptied the compost. Etc.

Meanwhile I was in the car “warming the engine.”

Naturally we forgot vital things like a camera download cable and Gaye’s frozen vegetarian patties for tonight’s meal and inevitably these things were progressively remembered as we got further and further from home.

The Kaikoura Coast turned on the entertainment for us with two pods of bottlenose dolphins performing close to shore, and the weather got measurably worse as we approached Picton. MAF’s Didymo-alert man cheerily assured us of a rough trip across to Wellington, at which point Gaye started to show early signs of seasickness even as we stood on the dock.

“This is a lucky break,” she finally announced as she broke out the anti nausea drugs in preparation for crossing Cook Strait. “I get a chance to test the medication before we hit the real thing with the Navy”. (The Navy is rather unkindly referred to in this week’s Listener as having “a hilariously patchy record of commissioning and fitting ships that can barely reach Norfolk Island without getting puffed.”)

The results? Unconsciousness right through a trip that was not unlike a train journey. Smooth sailing on flat water.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Stress City!

Time to leave home.
Months of preparation and planning were totally insufficient when pitched against some determined hard-bitten procrastination. Packing six months worth of equipment in a day is not the most relaxing way to start an adventure but it had to be done. Here is our list:

- 10 cotton t-shirts/shirts/singlets
- 5 pairs of shorts
- 3 caps/hats
- 8 pairs of socks
- 2 sarongs
- 8 pairs of underpants
Warm clothes for winter:
- Polypropylene tops and long johns
- Jersey/sweatshirt
- Bush shirt/swanndri/polar fleece
- Raincoat and overtrousers (PVC, flexothane or old goretex etc that's OK getting trashed)
- Overalls
- Comfortable clothing for evenings, including some warm gear
- Fancy dress gear for the occasional party

NOTE that due to the hot humid climate it is advisable to bring loose, airy, cotton garments of light colour. Plenty of them too, if you are there spring, summer and autumn, as you will be doing lots of sweating. This also applies to socks and underwear. Wear and tear on clothes is very high on Raoul.

- Lightweight sleeping bag/or duvet
- Sleeping bag liner/or sheets
- CLEAN tent/bivvy bag if you think you may want to camp away from huts in the weekends
- Good sized daypack, of 35-40 litres. (Daypacks are provided for use by permanent staff).
- Overnight pack of 60-90 litres
- Drink bottles (1.5 litres x 2)
- Waterproof container for camera gear
- Sunglasses x 2
- Headlamps and torch
- Rechargeable batteries and charger.
- multitool knife
- scissors?
- lighter

- Towel
- Toothpaste x 8 medium tubes
- Toothbrushes x 4
- Sun block x 2-3 bottles
- Razors (electric is okay, but take blades as well in case it breaks down)
- Deodorant
- Sufficient tampons etc
- Personal first aid kit for field use when you are not working
- Liniment, arnica cream etc
- Consider a plastic, sealable container for personal items
- nailclippers
- hairbuzzer
- ventolin

- Steel capped boots for workshop and potential toe-crushing jobs
- Ordinary leather boots for weeding/tramping. Raoul is hard on boots, so two pairs of general work boots are advisable.
- Jandals/sandals. Sports sandals are excellent.
- Sandshoes/cross trainers are also useful
- Dubbin/Snoseal for boots
- Spare bootlaces
-Gaiters/putties (knee height)

Leisure Equipment
- Books (there is a library with a reasonably good selection of old and new books)
- Tapes, videos, DVDs (there is a TV with video player and DVD player, and a stereo for tapes, CDs and LPs) Sopranos, Outrageous Fortune, Kubrick
- Cameras – Olympus, Panasonic, video + cables, batteries + chargers. Firewire.
- Laptop power cord and memory stick
- Snorkeling equipment
- drybags – all of them
- Wet suit / masks/ weights/ fins/ rash vest
- For boating, a “shortie” wetsuit has been found to be useful.
- Stamps and envelopes for letter writing.
- Favourite cookbooks
- Chess board and clock
- Other games
- Passports
- Binoculars
- Two way radios x2
-ipods, dock and connection wires
- bungee for camera
- pg string
- kayak, paddle, buoyancy vest, deck for the SURF on our front doorstep!!!

Brewing kits for afterwards
Bottle caps to keep the beer in the bottles
Coffee beans (feed the addiction)
Plunger mugs
Coffee bean grinder