Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Group Names - What the?

You might be wondering how we came up with these strange names for these groups. Those of the caving persuasion will know that they are the names of famous caves in the South Island.

Xanadu is found around the Fox River on the west coast, Bulmer and Nettle Bed are part of the Mt Owen massif in the Kahurangi National Park and Starlight is the cave at the bottom of Harwood's Hole near Takaka.

Wednesday 1st June

Wednesday id the first day of the two full days spent at Waitomo. Two of the four groups spend the day caving, while the other two divide their time between a lecture by the education officer - Scott Adkins at the Waitomo Discovery Centre; a drive out to some prominent landmarks such as Marokopa Falls and the Mangapahoe Natural Bridge as well as a guided visit to the Ruakuri tourist cave - a physically easy but thought provoking day.

The cavers on the other hand spend their time with guides in Zweiholen and with staff in the Mangapahoe cave found on the Stubbs' Farm out Te Anga Road way. The caves are dramatically different and rewarding in different ways. Zweiholen is pretty, it is mostly dry (but muddy) while Mangapahoe is wet and rough on the body,

Tomorrow will follow much the same pattern.

Tuesday night shenanigans

Well kind readers, we have settled in.

Dave Stout provided much entertainment while the students got to know each other by way of introductions, groups were formed by drawing numbers from a hat and organised into the various daily activities as is dictated by the programme.

Dinner was cooked by Rosemary Barsanti and a variety of offsiders. It proved excellent fare and was devoured eagerly by the punters. Followed by the classic kiwi pud of Orange Chocolate Chip ice cream and fruit salad from a tin. Yum!

That wasn't the end of the night though, We headed off to the Ruakuri reserve for a night walk to test the cohesion of the new groups and to introduce the students gently to the world of caves.
Many screams were heard and nervous peals of laughter when some encountered spiders and cave wetas up close and personal.

One group even walked the whole track twice, not recognising any of the noticable landmarks on the way around.

At the conclusion of the walk when students were asked to describe the path that we had taken, many struggled to visualise the small figure of eight pathway. Duncan, one of the staff on the trip pointed out some constellations in the crystalline sky using an amazing torch before we loaded up the vans and headed back to Tokikapu Marae for a well-deserved sleep.

Wednesday brings a full day of activities. Some will spend the day above ground and others under; completing at least two caving trips over about six hours.

Look out for reports by the students on the various activities of the day.

Adios muchachos!