I’ve just arrived in the town of Westport, which is on the western coast of the South Island. The last few days have been relatively laid back. We finally left the hippy conclave of Takaka (which admittedly is a nice town) to journey southwards to St. Arnaud… a small ski village located on the shores of Lake Rotoiti. We spent two days in St. Arnaud, looking at various things of geologic significance.
Among the interesting sights we got to experience, was a brisk hike up Mt. Robert yesterday (which was also my birthday), which overlooks Lake Rotoiti. After arriving at the top, we were caught in a short snow flurry, but were able to take cover in a shelter along the trail. The views from the top were quite dramatic and fascinating. However, clouds quickly moved in and it began to rain on our way down. The last few days have actually been rather rainy too, which is somewhat disappointing. I’ve never been to a place where the weather changes so fast though.
On the first night at St. Arnaud, a few of us went for a walk down to the lake. It started out quite clear with some clouds across the lake. In the 15 minutes it took to get to the lake, the wind picked up, it started to rain, and then started to hail! We tried taking cover under some trees (no thunderstorms thankfully) but the hail storm was quickly over. On the walk back, it cleared up again and things were fine. Everyday has nearly had some sort of experience like that. It’s quite crazy.
Internet access has been extraordinarily spotty though. And most of these places have stupid setups that require you to pay money if you want to upload pictures from a camera. So it’s been quite hard to share my pictures. At the moment, this internet cafe is costing about $0.50 for every 5 minutes of computer time that you use. It’s rather ridiculous if you want to do anything serious, like editing/sharing pictures, but for quick email writing, it suffices.
Anyway, we have some serious geology to do over the next week while we stay at a very nice geology field station in Westport (run by the University of Canterbury). We’ll be under the direction of a new geology professor for the next few days as well. Some of the stuff we’re going to do sounds absolutely fascinating. So far, this field camp has been a blast and we’re looking at some many different types of things.
All of us have been pretty surprised by how fast the first week has flown by.
And now… for some pictures (from the past 2 days).