Day 4 on Anchor Island. 27th December 2009. Sunshine at last!

Sunny and hot – paradise on Anchor! Amazing how quickly the tracks dry out. Group outing to do Hauturu’s hoppers via Western Loop track. Legs still adjusting to Anchor terrain so took a while, much longer than it normally should take. Set off in the morning and back around 5pm. Discovered an amazing foamy waterfall that could only be crossed by leaping and the 3 of us took some time out for a foam fight! According to Steve, the foam tastes like mahogany. Had a really relaxing lunch in the sun by a lake so untraveled it hasn’t even been named and now I’m curious about the protocols for naming lakes. Climbed pretty high up the island, though not to the summit, but we still got great views of the snow-capped peaks of the Dusky Sounds as it was such a clear day. Saw saddlebacks, NZ robins, yellowheads, fantails and yellow-crowned parakeets (kakariki).

Played A-Z games throughout the day to keep ourselves amused (music groups, animals, countries, capital cities (harder), body parts (dirtier!)). Though tracks had improved since yesterday’s downfall, they were still very muddy in places. By the end of the day my boots had become heavy and legs were tired of hauling myself out of deep mud. Lost my footing on some rocks and cut my arm but received excellent medical attention from Nurse Horn and Nurse Raemaekers. Triangled a few kakapo to get bearings on their positions using telemetry. Then went down Goose and Tumbles to do the hoppers. Unfortunately Hauturu (mystery missing female kakapo) has not been back to her hoppers for food since 22nd December. Everyone exhaused at night, 1 beer and we were all a bit tipsy. So we had some more, and then some wine, whisky and brandy! Played card games ‘til late and listened to music with only the coloured Christmas fairy lights on. Listened to the morepork calling outside. An idyllic way to wind down. Around 11pm we wrapped up warm and took our last brandy out to the bench. Was a full moon and a beautiful starry night. Identified some constellations before returning to the hut to discover Rooster on the deck for the first time in 2-3 weeks (they thought they’d cracked it with him, but on the first day of his 3 day hopper roster, the hunger must’ve got too much for him and he thought he’d come and use his charms to get hand-fed macadamias – it worked). Managed to coax him on to a large parrot swing and hung him from some scales – weighed 2.02kg – great! Then finally managed to encourage him outside but he wasn’t happy about having the door closed on him and let out a loud skraak but thankfully he eventually took the message and went on his way into the night.

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