Thursday, January 12, 2012

10 January 2012: To Franz Josef…or maybe not

There are times in all journeys when adaptability, understanding, and patience are needed.  Tonight was one of those rare times in our trip when we needed all three qualities to be exhibited by our students.  In the excitement following the glow-worm visit in Hokitika, yours truly, the lone drive of our van/bus, forgot that our van was running low on gas.  Leaving Hokitika around 10:30, I had forgotten that most businesses would be closed by 11pm, particularly on the west coast of the South Island, which has one of the lowest densities of people in all of New Zealand.  By 11:30, having driven for nearly an hour, I had re-noticed that we were very low on gas and determined that we would not make it another 2 hours to Franz Josef.  At this point, Dr. Moran and I made the executive decision to return to Hokitika to find gas and find lodging for the evening.  Upon arrival in Hokitika around 12:15, we found that literally nothing was open.  Our students found the humor in the situation (my forgetting to get gas), but also realized that we had a bit of an emergency on our hands: we faced the prospect of having to spend the night in the van (not a desirable situation at all!)  After finding a few residents to question, we learned of a campground nearby that accepts late arrivals and decided we would camp.  In a most-impressive display of fortitude and skill, our students quickly erected our tents from the Abel Tasman camping trip in the glow of headlamps, and at 1am (to boot!).  By 1:15am, everyone was tucked in their sleeping bag (or in the van, as some students opted for) and off to bed!  Dr. Moran and I were EXTREMELY impressed with how well our Mount students handled adversity and tackled the challenge head-on!  Kudos to them!

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