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[LBI 2012] Home again

October 30, 2012

[This is the fifteenth, and final, 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.]

02/10/2012

Defying all our predictions, the boat picked us up about 10:00 am, in a brief lull in the weather. It was a near thing – the swell was picking up more and more as each load of goods and people were taken out on the Hine Moana to the Hauturu. A couple of notes on boats:

1) The Hine Moana uses a beautiful launch cradle. She sits in a rolling-stock frame mounted on train wheels, which runs well below the high-tide mark. Launching is a matter of backing the trolley into the water until the boat floats free, and landing is achieved by just driving the boat onto the cradle and quickly securing her before she starts to slide back down.

shock-dampener for Hine Moana - Hauturu tether2) The rope between the Hauturu and the Hine Moana has a shock-dampener on it. The rope runs through a round stiff-rubber loop, and is knotted twice within the loop with slack line between the knots. The whole setup leaves the rope intact for fewer points of breakage (excepting the 2 overhand knots weakening the line), yet adds substantial shock-dampening, as considerable force is required to stretch the rubber ring.

The ride back was rough. I was wearing a scopolamine patch, but still felt queasy. The only wildlife I particularly remember were Buller’s Shearwaters in a large feeding group just off Little Barrier, a pod of dolphins apparently working on the baitball feeding those Buller’s, and a huge concentration of Australasian Gannets between Tiritiri Matangi and Auckland.

We were dropped back in Auckland around 17:15, and I made it home by around 17:45. Now the only question is how long it will take me to catch up on two-and-a-half weeks of Internet absence…

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