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[LBI 2012] At altitude

October 17, 2012

[This is the fifth in a series of posts – essentially diary entries – on fieldwork on Little Barrier Island, New Zealand. Internet access was unavailable on the island, so I am publishing them one-per-day now that I am back on the mainland.]


It is not every day that you gain 600m in altitude before morning tea, but today was one such day. I was on D line, which starts around 350m altitude and climbs to around 600m before dropping back to around 500, crossing a valley without a track, walking down another ridge, and crossing another valley. The lowest altitude on D line is about equal to the highest point on most other lines. Even getting to the start point took nearly an hour of walking, chasing the über-fit kakapo monitoring team.

The views from the high ridgeline are, as might be expected, pretty stunning, although the ridge is narrow enough, in places, to induce vertigo. When a decent wind is blowing, as it was today, all the trees on the ridge sway gently. If the trees are your frame of reference as you walk the ridge, this gives the illusion that the ridge itself is gently swaying in the breeze. Unsettling.

The summit itself is off-limits (Kakapo plus Cook’s Petrel plus, I think, tapu), so today’s line is the closest I will get to the summit.

After nearly going out in a search-party for Sunkita (who got back at seven minutes past five), I made the largest ball of dough I have ever made, and turned it into pizza for 19 people. Enough surplus for lunch tomorrow, I suspect.


From → Scientist

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