Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Kiwi cruising

This week's cruise ship visitors had a mixed bag of weather; they arrived yesterday morning in bright sunshine and just a gentle breeze - just perfect for wandering around the village.

The Silver Discoverer moored out in Halfmoon Bay

Low tide on Halfmoon Bay - lots of seaweed to collect for the garden

Looking up Main Road - 2km from home!
The wind got up during the night and dawn brought low cloud and drizzle for our visitors' guided tour to Ulva Island. Our choppy ride over in the water taxi was a tad bouncy but the tenders coming from the Silver Discoverer were open zodiacs so a lot more exposed than an enclosed water taxi. With a front moving through at speed there were times we thought the guided tour might be called off but the Weather Gods blessed us and passengers started arriving on Ulva Island - a tad wet in the rain and spray but full of enthusiasm.

Lots of people and narrow paths make for a bit of congestion so I steered my group past a couple of others and we headed off to the Sydney Cove turn-off. Another group got there just before us so we changed plans and took another track; what a turn of luck though as partway along we came across a kiwi! Especially exciting as it's the first kiwi I've seen over at Ulva Island - and also the first Stewart Island kiwi that I've seen in daylight. We watched him/her for a few minutes and I managed to sneak in a quick pic before he/she disappeared into the bush on the other side of the track. Woohoo!

Nigel watching the kiwi cross the track
With huge grins on our faces, and with the sun coming out, we completed our short tour of beautiful Ulva Island. The island was set aside as a nature reserve in 1899 and I reckon it's one of the best examples of temperate rainforest in all of Aotearoa. I love its diversity - not only of the trees and birds, but especially of ferns, mosses, shrubs, lichens, orchids...

Zodiacs leaving Ulva Island jetty on the way back to the
Silver Discoverer on far right
My patch is a heap more modified than Ulva Island but there are still gems to be found when you look closely...

Lobelia angulata (above and below)

Thelymitra venosa orchid (above and below)