Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Conditions are Perfect

Going to Fiordland is all about watching the weather. New Zealanders are the most weather wise people I've ever met. It's like being at sea, only your boat is a giant canoe made of mountains. It pays to know when you'll be blasted by the next dose of roaring forties. Right now though, it's looking good.
Every morning, D.o.C. Te Anau broadcasts weather updates and relays news from team to team in the backcountry. It's like witnessing the birth of DJs and Anchormen. 'Butterboxes' can work like telephones to ring the chopper when clouds pack in. The long thin wire antenna is an appropriately delicate link to the rest of the world.

Hannah Edmonds, Doc Ranger, north side Mt. Lady of the Snows, NZ

Monday, February 22, 2010

Front yard

Great when you can walk out the door and find things you've never heard of. Easy when you're a landlubber on the beach. The weather was calm enough on the rocks for a kelpy afternoon snorkel. Maybe my brother knows what kind of bucktooth vampire fish this is. Thought he looked a little too much like a scorpionfish to poke. Great camo.

Brighton Bight, NZ

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I love helicopters

If this isn't cheating, I don't know what is. However, I feel very little remorse. The Jet Ranger always has 80's rock in the intercom headsets. Judging by this dive off Lady of the Snows, I think he lives for those moments just after he drops off dweebs and gear on the mountaintops.

Fiordland, NZ

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Devil's Armchair

Fiordland is massive. Our camp here at 3300 feet was less than a kilometer from Milford sound, sea level. We camped in this valley hoping to find rare Sinbad Skinks. It's a paleoglacial rampage on the West coast, three hours from my house on the pastoral East coast. On this island, it's possible to live on the Pacific plate, but commute to the Australasian one. We're packing up again tonight hoping the weather will hold for another lizard search.

Camp Oven Creek Valley, Fiordland NZ

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Days at the Ruins are getting shorter. The hills and the water tank are staying dry. Richard revived his basil plant, and feeds it sea air.