Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Zealand - Nov 22, 2008 - Logan

Logan Mitchell
Date: 11-22-2008
Location: Te Pukatea Bay, Abel Tasman National Park
Time: ~9 pm
Latitude: 40°57'9.92"S
Longitude: 173° 3'49.78"E
Elevation: 2 m
Temperature: ~15-20°C
Wind: light to moderate
Precipitation: light to moderate
Animals: Dead boar, lots of birds including the New Zealand Bellbird and quail, sand
flies, and lots of intertidal sea critters (hermit crab, flat worm, sea anemone, regular crabs, chitons, millipede, snails, etc)
Breakfast: Scones w/ New Zealand brand of Nutella (it had crunchy stuff in it like
crunchy peanut butter!) and peanut butter.
Lunch: Pita bread sandwiches w/ cheese, tuna, and cucumber.
Supper: Pasta with sundried tomato sauce and salmon.

Photo notes:
Flat worm
Crab that is about the size of a pea!
Closed sea anemone and barnacle
Hermit crab

We hiked ~7km today which we knew wouldn?t take all that long, so we took our time along the trail and had many stops. We met a hunting ranger on one beach who hunts wild boar in the Abel Tasman National Park. New Zealand has many introduced species that have dramatically impacted the natural flora and fauna, and now much is being done to try to control or eliminate these introduced species, one of which is the wild boar. Wild boar cause extensive damage because they dig up the forest floor in search of roots to eat. The ranger had parked his boat on the beach, but it became stranded when the tide went out and so we helped him push it back into the water so that he didn't have to wait for the tide to come back in. He had killed one boar that day which was sitting in the boat. He told us that he usually kills 2-3 boar when he goes hunting, but that he doesn't go every day. The way they kill the boar is they release dogs which have GPS transmitters attached to their collars, and when the dogs corner the boar, they follow the GPS track to where the boar is cornered and then shoot it. Its not really sporting, but then again they are going for efficiency and not sport. Low tide that day was right at lunchtime, so Spruce and I went searching for cool intertidal critters and we found a ton! By turning over a few rocks that looked devoid of sea critters on top we found whole communities on the undersides. The neatest find for me was a hermit crab. When I was a kid I used to live in Tucson, AZ and every summer we would come up to visit the Oregon Coast and one year my Mom allowed me to get a pet hermit crab. You could hold the hermit crab on your hand and it would come out of its shell and crawl around, so I decided to see if this New Zealand hermit crab would do the same thing, and it did! It was pretty shy though, and eventually it decided to just hide out in its shell until we left. The weather today was
cooler and the light to moderate rain is starting to soak most of our camping gear, but we are still in good spirits. There are a couple of huts at the larger campgrounds where we would stop and get out of the rain for a little bit.