Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The long journey home

It’s Monday morning here in Sydney. I’m sitting all alone in my hotel room. I actually had a place to stay last night with one of Ian’s friends, but after the long day of driving and flying I was not feeling very sociable so I got a room. As it turns out I may have completely hosed myself. If I can’t get in touch with Mark Kirkby’s wife, Sandy, before check out time I’m going to have to stay another expensive night here in the hotel. Sandy is at George’s house today and will be my only way into the house. Since I have a ton of luggage I will either need to be stationed here in the hotel or at George’s place. I catch my flight home tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 10:50am. From here I have another layover in China (I won’t be leaving the airport this time) and then another layover in LA. I arrive bright and early (6am) into Orlando the morning of the 5th. I will be taking DOTS back to DeLand and then back to work.

Our last day in New Zealand was filled with wild life adventures. Our first stop was the Royal Albatross reserve. We were lucky enough to be there during chick season. There were two nests within view distance of the observatory. We were even luckier to see a parent feeding one of the chicks. I forget how old the chicks were, but at their age the parents only come back every couple of days to feed their young. One of the parents just happened to arrive as our group did. Ian may have some good video, but my pictures didn’t turn out that great because of the distance. This is a blurry picture of the Albatross chick and parent...

Our next stop was Bushy Beach where there are some Yellow Eyed Penguin nests. This beach is not a reserve…it’s just a place to hopefully view the endangered penguins as they come ashore after their long day of feeding out at sea. We were lucky enough to see 5 penguins…none close enough to get a good picture, but enough to say, “hey, I’ve seen the endangered yellow eyed penguin in person!!”. This is a picture of a penguin behind a plant (seriously)...

Our final encounter was with the blue penguins. This wasn’t a reserve, but also wasn’t a random place for viewing either. This is an area where the penguins come ashore about the same time every night to next. There are well over a hundred birds and they are very predicable so the country built a grand stand of sorts for viewing. The penguins have become quite accustomed to this so they are not turned off by people. Ian and I got there a tad early so we were a little anxious by time the first “raft” (this is what they call each group of birds that are traveling back to land together) of birds came ashore. There were maybe 20 birds that came ashore. They made their way up the shore, across the road and under the fence to their nesting boxes. The neighborhood chicks as well as some friendly neighborhood rabbits greeted them. We stayed long enough to see two rafts come ashore. Apparently there are nearly 300 birds that nest off the shores in this area. On our way back to the camper van we saw a stay penguin or two making their way across the parking lot…how freakin’ cute!

Oh, I just wanted to add a few animals to the livestock list. They also farm Elk, Alpaca and Ostrich. None of which I got pictures of, damn it.

Our trip to New Zealand was awesome! Did I mention that we didn’t have enough time?? I could probably spend a month there and still not have enough time.

1 comment:

Mama Linda said...

Hey Sandy. My first comment didn't go through because I didn't have a google account. I know you are on your way home so I've activated the traveling angels. Thanks you soooo much for all the effort you put forth in this blog. I loved reading every entry! After you've slept for at least a day or more, you should be ready to send the additional photos you mentioned. Welcome home world traveler. The best news is that you wanna do it again, for a month next time! That's a successful adventure.

I love you, Mama Linda