Friday, November 18, 2011

High and low

I could get used to being taken places by chopper. Just climb aboard, clap on the headphones and away you go, no fuss, no time wasted, and the views are terrific. Richard was at the controls, a veteran of 6 years in the British army - which is slightly unnerving in a pilot, you hope there won't be any sudden moves, but all was well. We swooped over New Plymouth and the port, clattered down the coast past the long black beaches with their long white lines of surf, and then inland over what must surely be the neatest and greenest farmland on the planet.

The mountain was hidden in cloud today, alas, so we couldn't get eye-to-eye with the summit, but we snooped over the tucked-away farms and houses to the north before setting down in a distant valley where Bob and Karen took us up some precipitously steep tracks and along knife-edge ridges in the ute before we walked through the bush to see what they were doing there in the name of conservation and specifically kiwi preservation.

Inconveniently nocturnal, the kiwi were naturally a no-show, but we did get to hear the clicks on the radio transmitter that showed Maru was where he should be, down in his burrow conscientiously incubating the eggs while the female that laid them was out recovering from the effort. (Kiwi eggs are about one-third of the bird's body size. Eye-watering.) It was a good walk, and even better to meet people with such drive to improve the environment for everyone's benefit.

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