For the umpteenth time, I was heading back to Auckland today. Due to the wireless internet which died on my the previous night suddenly becoming active again at 7:10am, I wasted a lot of time first thing and only just made it to the ferry in time to get back to the mainland.
The crossing wasn’t as smooth as the way out so I spent most of the trip out the back where the boat didn’t bounce so much. I got talking to a nice chap called Derek, a birdspotter from Essex. I won’t ever use the word “birdspotter” in a disparaging way again after the last couple of weeks (although I may still say bad things about Essex). He’d spent some time on Ulva during the daytime as well and got some great photos of the “robins” there. They’re apparently not really robins, but they were named as such way back when and the name stuck.
Apparently they used to be fed by people with tins of food, so if you head to the island and tap the top of a tin or a jar with your fingernails then scratch the ground as if you’re dropping things, they’ll flock around your feet. Using this method, Derek got up very close for some really impressive photographs. He also offered me a lift into Invercargill to save me getting the bus. I’d intended to get back to the I-Site and walk to the airport (about 30 mins plod), but this saved me the effort. Thank you Derek! In return I just have to send him any of my pics of Sirocco that came out alright. Fair swap!
As a result, I ended up at the airport at 10:00 with my flight not until 13:30. Quite a wait especially as I still hadn’t caught up on any sleep. I blew an hour watching a TV special on Komodo Dragons that Dave Haddock very kindly burned to CD and mailed me in Hanoi (I got it in HMC City when the hostel kindly forwarded them). Very interesting though overly-dramatised by the presenter Austin Stevens. Kind of like Steve Irwin, but more trying to make himself sound impressive than the animals. Great footage though.
After that, a few episodes of bro’Town which nobody outside of New Zealand will have heard of.
Finally my flight was called – slightly late – and I propellered off to Christchurch where my connecting flight was literally sat on the tarmac waiting for me. I’d barely go on board and fastened my seatbelt when the plane started to reverse out.
I arrived in Auckland pretty much dot on time and got the bus into the CBD to see Lou for the first time in two months. Food was had, DVDs watched and arrangements made for the next few nights. As Lou’s working shifts I can’t stay at her’s so I’ll be crashing with Indy and Lisa in Onehunga – thanks folks!