Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday 29th May - Optional extras day

Thursday is the day when we students get to try out a commercially provided caving experience. A lot chose to participate in the Abyss trip offered by Black Water Rafting. One group headed off to join a trip in the morning.

We had a bit of waiting around at the start, then wow…… what a beautiful deep hole to abseil into, shaped like an hour glass, it went from wide to extremely narrow making the caver needing to be very “manoeuvrent” (!!) It was sooo cool in that the guides let you lead rather than follow, turning head lamps off and allowing you to find your own way.

A flying fox was cut short with a loud bang as the guides tried (but failed) to scare you. Then we regrouped with a nice hot coffee or tea and anzac slice to revive us. Our group conquered our fear of jumping into the unknown and leaped off a 5 meter cliff into the cave stream. When the water finally came back after Mr Cresswell jumped in and we got to paddle downstream in the dark to see all the glow worms. We went back down stream in the dark with the guide whistling ‘pop goes the weasel’. We got to slide down a dam, went through a squeeze, climbed up three waterfalls and climbed through into daylight again.

What a great experience, we all loved it – Dusty, Kent and Michaela.

Tuesday 27th May and Wednesday 28th May

First ever experience of underground caving!! Absolutely wicked!! I entered Gardner's Gut for the first time on Tuesday, warm, dry, excited and nervous of what it would be like. I left cold and wet (after completing the squeeze) with a whole new appreciation of wide open spaces.

Wednesday evening we changed our plan and went back into Gardner's again, ready for a new squeeze. the formations were amazing, so beautiful. I felt so privileged to be in the group that went through there. The squeeze was awesome. Very different from the first one; definitely more of a challenge. Overall these two days have been amazing; so much was learnt and there is so much that cannot be described. Humming holes, water and wetas. All was great fun!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Night Roaming

After a wonderful dinner, our intrepid group set off to explore Ruakuri scenic reserve with the Aranui cave. The students had a little navigating exercise to do in the dark.

On return to our accomodation we went through the next days program.

Then we did out homework.

Arrival At Waitomo

Freyberg High School Geography trip to Waitomo arrived safely. The students got settled in and took part in a ice breaker exercise led by Ms Carter. We are looking forward to dinner and a walk in the dark after dinner.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Year 12 Geography trip to Waitomo

As of Monday the Year 12 Geogoraphers will be in Waitomo. We'll be learning about Limestone landscapes and the beautiful, bizarre subterranean world below the surface. We'll caress a glowworm, goggle at Stalactites and squirm through mud to get there. One thing;s for sure, we'll have fun doing it.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Year 11 Geography Trip to Napier

A new trip for the Geography Department was this one. Successfully organised by Mr Cresswell (Thank you very much by the way!)

We zoomed up Bluff Hill in the bus, interesting negotiating those tight bends and believe it or not the sea fog had us completely "socked in". This made it difficult to assess the changes to the Napier landscape from the 1931 Earthquake. Believe ot or not, very shortly after we left the top, the fog lifted off to produce a lovely day. Don't worry though, we'll be back next year.

A rush into the CBD to grab a bite to eat then off to the Museum. Very informative in such a compact area.

Funny point though, the Earthquake display is in the basement! Not sure if I'd want to be there when the next big one strikes!

The afternoon was used to locate Park Island, the site of one of the larger mass graves for the 1931 Napier Earthquake. We had some trouble locating the actual site, but what a lovely spot though.

All that remained was to high tail it home. Lucky for a few they got to drive in Mr Collier's car who shouted them an Ice Block in Dannevirke - Nice!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Day Five

Hey! What a great trip. Thank you so much to the staff and the students involved. It is always nice when things go well.

I can say that it is good to get home again though, recharge the batteries and get back into a new week of school.

I have already been hammering the Year 13 Geography class with the stuff that they were meant to learn on the trip. It always surprises me (it shouldn't, I guess) that some don't even remember the name of the volcanoes that they walked past and over! Don't worry though, I'll drum it into them.

We will get a team photo up from Tangiwai soon.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Day Four

This is the 2nd attempt at today's blog as technical issues led to the first one disappearing into the ether. Let's just say the internet access is pretty dodgy up here and I suppose getting anything up is a minor miracle. I just feel sorry that Lydia and crew did a great job on the blog before the whole thing went down on us. So, I'll keep this brief...

Great day again today - despite less favourable weather over the crossing. The misty conditions reduced the views for Andesite and led to the desicion to not go for Ngauruhoe, instead Mr Brooks took James & Eliza to the summit of Tongariro, only to submit them to press-ups at the summit! The rest of the group enjoyed the trip across and here's a misty photo from the day...

Rhyolite enjoyed the field studies and after measuring daisies and studying hebes down various parts of the Bruce Road we made our way to Silica Rapids for lunch. The talk on the chemistry of the rapids was interrupted by Brendon's curious invertabrate discovery, "What's this Mr Steed?" he enquired. Sadly it wasn't a new mollusc but a plain old possum poo...classic discovery Brendon.

Basalt blitzed the rafting, swam at Pukawa and had time to enjoy a soak at Tokaanu hot pools, a luxurious finish after a full and busy week.

So tomorrow we pack up and head home but while the trip will come to end and we hope you enjoy the all the stories about the week.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Day Three

I'm going to hog the first bit of the blog today so I can have a rave about one of the most fantastic days across the Tongariro Crossing I have ever had. The weather was perfect, warm but not too hot, and clear blue skies. It was spectacular. I was lucky enough to take a small group (Jodi, David, James & Sho) up Ngarauhoe, which took only just over two hours...a huge effort. The views from the top were to die for and because we had time on our side we could enjoy both the crater rim AND the true summit, something that hasn't been done on a Freyberg trip before and something that was great to be part of. The puns from David & James came thick and fast..."what was the PORPOISE of the trip? To get the ENDOLPHINS flowing". After shingle sliding down the mountain we caught up with the rest of the group for lunch and enjoyed the rest of the crossing with them. An amazing day!

So the three groups continued their rotations today. Rhyolite did the crossing, Andesite went rafting and Basalt did the field studies. Here's some of the classic stories from the day...
Rhyolite: As earlier said, it was a perfect day for the Tongariro crossing. Matt Rennie took up a left-field challenge to carry a 6kg rock up the Devil's staircase. Why? hard to know, but impressive? Oh, yes! Jodi Curtis, after having climbed Ngaruahoe and catching up with the main group for lunch, carried on down the rest of the mountain, running parts of the way and finishing the whole trip at the front of the group - exhausted? No, she was ready for more. How does she do it....Maybe we should ask Mr Young, who did the crosssing for the 2nd day in a row and is lining up a 3rd tomorrow!

Andesite: After Miss Stewart entertained everyone by putting on her life jacket backwards (accidentally) and looking like a tele-tubby the group hit the water. Georgie, Katie & Moana tell me... their mouths got full of water from all the waves splashing over, Roanna put her helmet on backwards, they laughed their heads off from Tommo's (the guides) lame jokes, got numb from the cold from their swim half way down the river and felt like beach whales when they got pulled back into the rafts (very funny !). The group also enjoyed Pukawa for a swim and Tokaanu to look at the hot springs, where this photo was taken...

Basalt: Mr Collier totally had everyone sucked in when he was giving a talk to the group up at Whakapapa today when he fell backwards (well purposefully leaped backwards) down a ledge out of view from the group. Some students were very relieved to see him reappear shortly after, nasty trick! A perfect day for field studies again today.

Lawrence & the field studies group measuring daisies

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Day Two

Day Two

Thanks to those who have commented on the blog. Hopefully I have fixed up the time-zone :). Today we split into three groups (named after common rocks in the area) to start the rotation of activities: Rhyolite went rafting, Basalt did the Tongariro Crossing & Andesite did field studies. I will now leave it to the students to describe their day (Craig Steed).

Rhyolite: Sooo we went rafting today down the Tongariro River. There was amazing scenery and took us 2 hours to raft 13kms. Jordyn took a fall out of the raft but no harm done just a bit wet. We took a swim in prison land waters which was absolutely freezing!
While Hannah, Sian, Mrs B and John the Bus driver went for a coffee and supermarket shopping to stock up the food supplies, along with 8 cucumbers, in the mighty town of Turangi.
We had a look at some mud bubbling at the thermal pools at Te Kaanu. And we found trout in the little river.

Basalt: Pretty much we climbed up a giant mountain, and we went swimming in the Emerald lakes and it was freezing only five people had the balls to get in. On the way down it looked like a five minute walk to the hut easy as but oh, no an hour and a half later we finally get there. Major mission completed.

Lawrence & Alan - swimming in the Emerald Lakes Brrrr... Tongariro Group

Andesite: It was time for a bit of school work today, measuring mountain daisies and counting plants. Pretty exciting stuff. And also the size of leaves was needed in this work. After this we walked to the Silica Rapids and took the pH levels of the water.

Written by Hannah, Lydia, Katie, Kayla, Christina, Eva and Grace.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Day One

Blue skies and warm sun accompanied us for our journey north. After a lunch stop at Taihape we enjoyed breath-taking views of Mt. Ruapehu as we skirted around Tongariro National Park heading towards Whakapapa. We all jumped out part way along the Desert Rd. so Mr. Collier could give a brief talk about the geography of the region.

After arrival at Whakapapa we set up tents and sorted out cabins before heading off across old lava flows, under light rain, to the Taranaki Falls. The very keen went for a swim in the icy waters before heading back to camp for dinner.

A good start!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Weather Outlook

I have been ferreting about for new forecasts and one of my favourites - is suggesting that the chances of rain are decreasing from Monday next week, winds from the west.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens over the weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Trip Organisation

The trip week is fast approaching and it appears that not enough people want to stay in a tent. We are looking for at least 2 groups of people - 8 probably to move to tent accomodation. I am sure that this will be sorted by Friday this week though.

Weather is looking average for next week. The big anticyclone straddling the country is sure to move off and we will start to see to arrival of a more northwesterly pattern which can bring some rain and possibly snowshowers to the Tongariro area.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ruapehu Trip 2008

This blog has been set up to allow Freyberg students to blog their experiences outside the classroom. We are going to try and do a daily blog while we are up the mountain. So watch this space...