During the October school holidays 1 Kea, 2 Cubs, 9 Scouts, 1 Venturer, 2 high school exchange students, 2 leaders and 7 Parents tramped the Heaphy Track (one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks). As Kahurangi National Park is remote and we split into two groups, walking in opposite directions (and swapping car keys along the way) to simplify the logistics of getting our vehicles back!
‘The Karamea Crew’ (starting on the West Coast) stumbled on the most amazing natural phenomena within hours of starting the tramp – enormous quantities of (natural) sea foam on the beach. This was the result of large amounts of phytoplankton (single-celled algae) being smashed up by a particularly relentless crashing surf, combined with circular currents leading to nutrients (from sand dwelling organisms) being trapped in the surf zone and the fierce wave action trapping air bubbles. The foam rushed up the beach (ahead of the waves) enveloping those brave enough to enter the ‘danger zone’ but not actually leaving you wet! The foam is a sign of a healthy productive beach ecosystem. Lots of fun too!!
The enchanted forest was another highlight, with the trees being draped in thick coating of lichen, algae and moss. Swing bridges were plentiful with the wind making our first crossing ‘interesting’ and one bridge being the longest DOC swing bridge in NZ. We saw Weka, looked unsuccessfully for Great Spotted Kiwi, saw numerous carnivorous land snail shells and found a live one, saw a South Island Robin, heard a Kea and were passed by quite a few mountain bikers.
The days were quite long and we were rained on for one morning. The youth performed amazingly and never complained (well except for corny jokes )!? We stayed at Tahoma Sea Scouts hall (in Mapua) on the way back to the Ferry (thank you Tahoma!) and we found the most amazing French bakery near the hall for breakfast!?
A special thanks must go to the supporting adults – for their help and assistance! And to Gary for organising the trip!
Yours in Scouting