Sunday, January 12, 2014

5 January 2014: Picton & Marahau

A drizzly morning was on the docket today as Dr. Moran and I awoke around 5:30am due to the large skylight above us in the sitting room of our ‘apartment’.  I made my way to the Rental Cars New Zealand this morning around 8:15 only to learn that our missing trailer was not missing, it was non-existent!  Unfortunately, the agent I worked with in Auckland a week ago never found our group a trailer to rent, so we were without a trailer!  I spent the next two hours talking to every and any car rental agencies that would listen trying to get a trailer for the remainder of our trip.  Louisa and Magda, at Ace Car Rental, worked to find a trailer in Picton for me, but again, to no avail.  Keeping my calm, I made my way back to our hostel to talk to Dr. Moran about our predicament.  It was then that the owners of the YHA came through for us.  Ok, so the room arrangements, as we learned, got mixed-up the previous night, but today, the owners, Kahu and Peter Bugler, would come through for us!  Peter asked his brother, Lloyd, whether we, a group of complete strangers, could borrow his trailer for the next 12 days…and then leave it 4 hours away in Christchurch.  To my amazement, and without having to sign my life away, Lloyd took a nominal fee for the ‘hire’ (Kiwi for ‘rent’) of his trailer.  So, we were back in action and on our way!  Many, many thanks are extended to the Bugler family for their generosity!

The trip to Marahau from Picton took us through Nelson, a coastal town with its own community-supported wildlife sanctuary, and miles and miles of vineyards.  This region of New Zealand is known for its vineyards and hops and it was evident throughout our journey.  The students slept most of the way to Marahau since we were up so late the previous night.  When we arrived in Marahau, we quickly got our gear out of the trailer and made our way to beach!

Marahau is the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park, one of the most-visited parks in the country.  Beaches line the main road through Marahau and our students were quick to do some exploring on the vast tidal flats that become evident during low tide.  The students searched-out hermit crabs, seastars, limbs of seastars (!), and clams that would be boiled or cooked on the grill at our accommodations for the evening: The Barn.  We have had great learning opportunities that have been fairly structured, now the students have taken the reins and are exploring and learning more about their environment without prompting.  Awesome!

We returned to the The Barn to cook dinner, including the clams from the beach, and prepared for our sea kayaking and backpacking trip into Abel Tasman National Park tomorrow.

The Bugler's trailer: a very functional solution to our problem!

Chris Lorch (Nursing, 2019) and Dorian Shann (Physical Therapy, 2016) looking at a seastar on the Sandy Bay (Marahau) tidal flat.

Our students soaking-up the Austral summer sun on the tidal flats of Sandy Bay (Marahau).

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