BLOG: day 5Location: Raoul Island DoC Centre
Weather: Hot, sunny day.
After we processed a very full, very quick safety briefing for the helicopter, we strapped ourselves in for the ride of our lives.
With the side doors wide open and the helicopter banking steeply we felt like we were going to fall out.
This was definitely the thrilling scenic route to the airstrip. We were flown over blue and green lakes and could see the caldera and all the damage from the recent low pressure storm.
As soon as we landed on Raoul we had cameras out and fingers clicking. We tried to use our bodies to write “thx” to the helicopter pilot but I’m not sure he even realised!
After a short walk to the hostel we immediately began our tour of the nearby buildings and workshops.
Firstly, we looked through the DoC hostel and were amazed to see all the photos of the past "Raoulies" (people who have visited Raoul Island in the past) – even Smelly the dog.Lily Rogers was very pleased to find the photo of her uncle who had volunteered quite a long time ago.
We went to the hospital, the smallest in the Southern Hemisphere, measuring some 3m x 3m.
Next was the Rat and Tui Brewery where they have been making home brew since 1991.
The most interesting part here was that each brew had its own name like “Methinks thoust a drunkard oaf, therefore I am” and “A beer with Latitude”.
Then there was the food supply: “Arkwright and Son Groceries – open all hours”.
With wall-to-wall supplies of Vegemite, baked beans, spaghetti, corn chips, chocolate, plus 10 freezers full of meat. And yes, even the elusive Marmite. Jealous much?
We saw the GNS (Geological and Nuclear Sciences) centre, where they monitor for tsunami, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
We saw what appeared at first glance to be a crystal ball but turned out to be a solar monitor.
It acts as a giant magnifying glass that burns a line through a piece of paper, which tells you how many hours of sunlight there are each day.
Then there was the museum, the woolshed, the solar panels, workshops, and lastly we arrived at the world-famous Raoul Island orchard. We were a bit upset to see only one very small orange.
Only one! But we did get to sample one later on and, wow, they are amazing!
How many of you have ever heard of a RatPack? It’s not a secret hunting weapon or a code word used by the Navy.
It’s a ration pack. I use the word rations lightly here, however.
It’s mostly used for very tired, very hungry defence force personnel, not 18 slightly peckish teenagers.
With an average of 11,500Kj per pack they are meant to be a day’s worth of food, though I think we could have made one last the week.
Happy, rather full and tired, people crawled into their tents but some of us decided that we could not miss this once in a lifetime experience and slept under the stars.
ABOUT RHIANNON SCOTT
Rhiannon is in Year 13 at Taihape Area School, is a talented equestrian and is a member of the Dressage New Zealand under 21 talent squad.Rhiannon has been involved with the native planting programme in Mt Stewart Native Forest Reserve and has charted the movement of sand dunes as a member of the OUASSA (Otago University Advanced School Sciences Academy) Programme.
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