It was an event-filled week at Abbey, with something on every evening: lectures, films, a traditional Maori Hangi dinner, a heart-stopping semi-final NZ/South Africa Cricket World Cup match (won by NZ in the final minutes) on the big screen, a Persian New Year celebration hosted by Iranian students, and Whiskey Education Night. After six shots of single malts, I was barely able to stagger back to my room! (Tomorrow, I leave on a short trip to Christchurch).
I've included a link to a recent Abbey Update newsletter, where Charles Tustin (the head of college) explains the symbolism of the items on the table below and also a bit about the Hangi dinner. http://us8.campaign-archive2.com/?u=4519c4a0c0cabde2cec5fa310&id=cddbb7d87c&e=2cbfd319f1
You wouldn't know it, but I am dancing! Below is Whiskey Education Night.
Hamish volunteered to take Caleb Irvine and I cockling, and as we were about to leave the area, spotted a difficult to identiy marine mammal on the beach. It turned out to be a rare leopard seal -- which occasioned great excitement. Later that evening, the cockles were steamed and turned (by Abby) into an appetizer and a fabulous chowder, which we had with lightly-seared tuna and local salmon.
The photos above are of fur seals.
A rare leopard seal resting at Aramoana beach.
The Mole is a 1,200m breakwater stretching out into the sea from Aramoana beach. Apart from many gulls/terns/shags, we saw albatross, fur seals, and even a few small blue penguins.
Tairoa Head and the Royal Albatross Colony (only land-based albatross colony in the world) directly across the mouth of the harbor from the Mole.
The birdwatchers (note telescope) spotting an albatross in flight.
My colleague Hamish offered to take a Belgian PhD student on a field trip to Aramoana, a beautiful site at the mouth of Otago Harbour (about 27K North of Dunedin) that is directly opposite the end of the Otago Peninsula. So of course I begged to tag along -- which meant completing the field-work induction course. (I am now stuffed with useless knowledge about what to do if I become hopelessly lost in a NZ forest or my van slides off the road into a bay). Anyway, it was a gorgeously warm and sunny day, and for my sake, the field work was combined with a search for the NZ clam tua tua and for cockles. The tua tua proved elusive, and unlike the cockles, which are in shallow bay waters, finding them requires immersion in the (frigid) sea. The fog also rolled in just as we started. But it was a wonderful outing, and we at least returned with a supply of cockles.
Beginning to dig for cockles on the mud flats.
Showing a tua tua clam (shell)
Plenty of tua tua shells -- but where are the live ones?
The fog rolls in ....
A Portuguese man-of-war! One of several we encountered on the beach.
Hamish and I emerging from sea, soaking wet and sadly sans tua tua.