Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Zealand Photo Album

It's time to unveil my photo album for our trip to New Zealand. So here it is, I hope you enjoy it.  I spent many hours sorting, correcting, captioning and geotagging.  I took over 1,700 exposures over 25 days, and condensed it down to 130.

New Zealand

I still have a few rolls of film to develop from my waterproof point-and-shoot camera.  Check back soon for those, I will have them digitized and will post them in the above album.

Sadly, I lost my beloved handheld gps unit on the trip, so I had to geotag all the photos manually, and I can't post all of the awesome elevation profiles I hiked.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I am currently working on captioning and geotagging my photos. The recovery of the bad SD card was successful, and here is one from the Milford Track.
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Fresh Off the Plane

24 hours of flying.  And now I am wide awake (it's 8pm nz time).  Time changed tonight for DST in our favor, but for only one hour out of twelve.   Do I dare start sorting through the pile of email and photos? No, I would rather blog at the moment.  Patience my friends.  Photos will come in due time.

The flights went well.  All on time, full, friendly.  Slept about 8 of the 12 hours of the trans-pacific flight, briefly waking only two times.  I am getting good at this?

Before we left Auckland, we attended the Pasifika Festival.  Like a state fair, but so much better.  Many South Pacific Islands represented with food, singing, dancing, arts, crafts, and other events.  Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Tahiti, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Tangata Whenua (New Zealand Maori).  Needs pictures and video to do justice, coming soon.  It was great to mingle with the locals, and not stand out so much as tourists (we were all wearing hats and cameras). 

I miss New Zealand already, but it is so good to be home.  Pet the cats, shower in my own bathroom, sleep in my own quiet comfortable bed....Aaahhh.....

Friday, March 12, 2010

sad to be leaving nz

sad to be leaving nz in 24 hrs. enjoying Auckland, climbed another volcano today, Pasifika fest tomorrow.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

One week to go.

The last several days have been very long and tiring but fun.  After Franz Joseph Glacier we visited Arthur's Pass.  I gave Avalance peak a good try but just did not make it, not because of stamina but time restraint (we were given only 6 hours to comlete the hike, and then drive 5 more hours).  So I made it about two thirds of the way up, and Tom made it to the top.  It was the hardest single-day hike I have ever done, with un-relenting uphill and rock climbing on all fours. 

The Kiakoura Coast Track was very nice, a three-day hike through farms with mountain views and on the beach.  Saw some sea lions and dolphins.  The itenery was only 8 miles per day, and our stuff was shuttled for us, so the hike seemed very easy compaired to the Milford Track. 

About halfway through on the first day of the Kiakoura, I was stung by a bee on the inside of my left arm.  It hurt quite a bit, and it has been a long time since I was stung and forgot how much it hurt.  I slept poorly that night from the itching, and by morning it formed a 4"x2" rash, hot and swollen.

I pushed through the second day of the Kiakoura, careful to protect the rash from the sun, but in a daze from the Benedryl I took to try to control the itching and swelling.  By the next morning, the rash was from my armpit to my elbow, and my hand was starting to feel tight and tingly.  I was taking the max dose of Benedryl and it seemed to be doing nothing but make me tired.

I had had enough and decided to ask for a ride to the car, and forgo my final day of hiking track. The nice farmers gave us directions to the nearst town of Kiakoura, 45 minutes away.  Luckly, Helen-Marie drove me to town since I did not have authoriziation to use the rental car.  We had only 2 hours to drive 45 min, see a doctor, get an Rx filled, and get back to pick up the rest of the group.

We found a nice family practice and I explained to the receptionist the situation.  Within 15 min I was talking to a doctor, and he wrote me an Rx for Prednezone.  He said it had something to do with the fact that it was a foreign bee, which you can react to more easily.  Also, the doc gave me the go-ahead to kayak the next day.  So we filled the Rx and got back to the rest of the group with 30 min to spare!

The Prednezone helped a lot and within a few hours the redness and itching went down.  It is still very sensitive to the sun so I have been wearing long sleves even in the hot times. 

Today we went sea kayaking in Tasman Bay in Abel Tasman Natial Park.  The weather was sunny and calm, ideal for paddling.  Brought back lots of memeries of my wonderful Everglades trip.  Tom was my kayak partner and he did well for his first time, with minimal arguing between us. 

The 3-hr ferry ride from Picton to Wellington was beautiful through the sounds.  Most of the group was passed out on the couches in the lounge of the ship by the end of the ride.  Wish I could post pictures for you but I really need to go to bed, it is 2am here!  Tomorrow is TePapa Meusum and dinner at Helen-Marie's cousin's house!