I just returned from a fantastic weekend camping trip with Will and Juliet to Goat Island marine nature reserve on the east coast, north of Auckland. Around 70 years ago, this area of water was declared a protected zone and all fishing was, controversially, banned. The University of Auckland have since undertaken ongoing monitoring of the marine life and, amazingly, it has reverted back to a level of biodiversity richness believed to be not dissimilar to how the waters would have been prior to the arrival of the first settlers. I get very excited about success stories like these, especially having spent a happy hour or two snorkelling amongst the swaying kelp forests and colourful fish (most common were snappers, blue cod and goat fish) – beautiful. The only downside were the salp (tiny invertebrates surrounded by gelatinous goo) ricocheting off your face and lips. Good job my mouth was sealed around the snorkel otherwise I would have probably ingested my daily amount of protein after only a few minutes.
We stayed in an idyllic campsite with a very ‘home-made’ feel. I was looking forward to finally sticking two fingers up at my jet-lag with a long sleep in the rural dark and quiet but unfortunately it turned out to be the noisiest night I’ve had for a long time, thanks to the combined cacophony of a frustrated, horny bull, a group of ‘spirited’ (in every sense of the word) youths (OK now I feel old; I just wrote ‘youths’) and my first experience of the strangled scream of a kiwi (of the avian variety – the strangled screams of the kiwi youths were alas confined to my sleep-deprived mind). Hey ho – it was still wonderful to wake up in a field to sunshine, a sea view and a cup of tea. Why does tea always taste extra good when you’re camping?
Here are piccies of the view I woke up to this morning, as well as one of the beasts that kept me awake last night. Could be Cornwall, couldn’t it? (I will stop the tiresome Cornwall comparisons soon, I promise.)