Southern adventure

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So once again I find myself woefully unprepared for a trip just a few days from leaving. On Monday I’m flying to Invercargill, then driving to Bluff before sailing to the Campbell Islands on what should be an amazing expedition.

Unfortunately, instead of collecting lots of snug, professional gear suited to a trip to New Zealand’s DoC-controlled sub-antarctic islands, I’ve spent mornings trying to deal with painters and builders – and evenings at my newspaper job trying very hard to resist headlining stories about Hamilton Council holding a special session to discuss whether they want Steve Crowe’s latest sex expo to come to town, with: “Council urges mass debate on sex event”.

So why am I going to the sub-antarctic islands? Not really sure. Basically Air New Zealand have organised the trip through their internal ‘green team’ – they’ve also run a competition to bring two members of the public – and they’ve asked me to come along to let the general public know about the journey and do some writing and radio aound the experience. Yay!

Mostly I’ve got to thank Hayley McCrystal from Air New Zealand. Hayley seems to specialise in putting me in hairy situations, and once made it possible for me climb to the top of the SkyTower’s mast, where we both clung to the little red flashing light you can see up there, legs buckling with fright as the thin mast swayed queasily in the wind… but that’s another story.

On this trip – Hayley’s not coming, boo – A DoC ranger will be showing us around the (rat) traps on what is basically a jewel in New Zealand’s conservation crown – which kind of seems appropriate in an election year when the Green Party are polling higher than they ever have. Though I’ll be away for election day, mind you, and have cast my vote in advance so while I observe delicate, ancient creatures from a bygone age battle for survival against introduced species, you’ll be watching Don Brash shuffling around in a room with John Banks… hmm. Not so different huh

Though I suspect the Campbell Islands teal probably has a little more charm than the Act Party leader (and as much chance of winning the election).

Anyway, wish me luck. I’ve got a few days to get all my gear sorted – I’m going to use my camou-printed polar fleece hunting gear as a warm layer, which will make me look like an idiot – and I’ll hopefully be able to post a few blogs via our boat captain’s sat phone. So stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I have two weeks to try and forget about all those headlines that got away. Like one colleague’s magnificent, but sadly unprintable masterpiece. He told me that a while back there was a report about a music teacher who had been doing inappropriate things with a female student…

… but there’s just no way you can run that story with “Music teacher’s rhapsody in A Minor”

Catch you soon.

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