Thursday, October 03, 2013

Top Of The Lake

Top of the lake, AKA Glenorchy.  And one shot in Kinloch.
Misty morning that broke out into a sunny day.  Stunning through and through!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Some travels in recent times

Lake Tekapo (on a sunny day) About a third in from
the left is Mt Cook - NZ's highest mountain at 3754m
Lake Tekapo (on a miserable day)
Old cottage McKenzie Country
Old cottage Banks Peninsula 
Lake Ianthe (on a miserable day) 
Lake Ianthe (on a sunny day)
Our Lady of the River
Bruce Bay
Lake Moeraki, sunset
Lake Hawea - nearly home!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Winter time!

On the way home from Christchurch this week.  We had a massive snowfall in the south the week before and there was huge amounts of snow in some areas.  The drive was stunning - and slow with al the stops I had to make to look at and photograph the scenes.

Driving up the main road in Methven.
An incredible view of Mt Hutt!
The Southern Alps in Canterbury
McKenzie country
Lindis Pass

Lindis Pass
Lindis Pass
Lindis Pass
Lindis Pass
Lindis Pass

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Home again, home again joggety jog...

I arrived back in Auckland last Tuesday - a week today, but I stayed the night there and went on a wee visit to Butterfly Creek again to see the croc keepers there.

It was my first night with feather pillows and a divinely comfortable bed - soft in all the right places!  I also had my first proper hot shower in 3 months.  At the croc bank we only had room temperature water so even though the water was mostly about 30-35ºC, it was coolish compared to air temperature.  I never complained though as having cool showers was a necessity of life in the oven that was Chennai!  Directly after a shower, I'd sweat and getting dry enough to put clothes on was not a very activity.

The bliss of having a hot shower and getting dry and dressed with no problems was indeed a moment of note in the history of Jenn.  It took a few days to get used to hot showers though - even though they are vital here.  No one in their right mind would have a cool shower when it is 0ºC outside…

Arriving at Kuala Lumpur on the way home.
On Wednesday I arrived back in Queenstown with not one item of winter clothing to my name.  In a word "Brrrrrr".  I was losing up to 40ºC from the last week in India.  A shock to say the least!

Luckily I had pre-warned mum and she arrived with a warm jacket, scarf, hat and gloves.  I had suggested she just bring me a feather duvet, but the jacket etc was probably much easier with seat belts and carseats in mind.  It wasn't too bad, overcast but mild, thankfully.

Lucy lit the fire when we arrived home and we had leek and potato soup with toast for dinner.  Perfect! 

I've been in NZ a week today and time is passing quickly and quite sneakily!  I have to make a plan for the next few months and then another for the medium term…  If anyone has any bright ideas of new and exciting careers that require little effort on my part, do get in touch!  

Monday, June 10, 2013

And another last day :(

Now it's time to say a fond adieu to Sri Lanka.

I can't wait to come back - I found my little paradise here and I never knew it existed in this wonderful country.

I had no idea that there were opportunities to see so many animals and birds, I'd never looked into it of course.  But still…  I was amazed to see a leopard, lots of monitors, both land and water, so many muggers, so many elephants, even a gorgeous tusker who came so close to us.  So many birds, storks, herons, eagles, little birds, big birds and those pesky peahens by the millions (or so it seemed!).  They're not really pesky, but they are so common - and so noisy!

I met heaps of wonderful people here.  I also had no idea that there are so many people so passionate about keeping the environment safe and well for the creatures that live here.  The work they do is incredible and given the circumstances that they fight against, they really are phenomenal!

I would love to come back very soon and bring people who I know would love it here also.
Thanks Sri Lanka!

Friday, June 07, 2013

Last day...

Today is a sad day.  For many reasons

My favourite crocodile baby died this morning.  He was a wee Morelets croc of about 9 months old.  He never grew very well and when I arrived he had a small lump on the base of his tail which grew quite a bit over a couple of months.  He was struggling to survive in the tub with 5 others so we separated him and he had his own little penthouse to himself.  

We started to feed him every 2nd day.  Sometimes he ate well and other times he nibbled, but usually something went down.  We were giving him some vitamins and supplements to help him along, but he was weak and often listless.
Mini-Morelet a few weeks ago
A couple of weeks back he seemed to perk up - he attempted to nip another person who was feeding him while I was away and then he did the same to me when I was cleaning his tank when I got back.  I was excited by this change in attitude.  Sadly it was short lived and the next time I had to feed him, he couldn’t even climb onto his basking tile.

It turns out he had a lung infection and a large infection on the base of his tail, he wasn’t destined for a long life, but I enjoyed my time with him and he will always be my favourite Mini-Morelet.

A shared TukTuk, from the bus window
This afternoon I had to take public transport into Mahabalipuram to withdraw some money so I went out to the bus stop.  Either a bus or a shared TukTuk would come along.  A Tuk Tuk came first so I checked he was going to Mahabs and he said yes and tossed out the very old man who was sitting in the front so I could ride in the front.  I objected but he wouldn’t have it, saying I would have to ride with ‘local people’ in the back who may be drunk.  I rolled my eyes and we set off.  

When we got to my destination, I opened my wallet to pay him and he said Rupees100!!!  I was shocked and I said exactly so in unrepeatable words!  I usually pay about 25-30 for this journey. I threw him the money and left.  I regret not giving him a 50 instead.   I thought I wouldn’t see him again but lo and behold, when I was waiting for the bus home he drove by!  He stopped reversed and said he could take me back in his shared auto, but with no other passengers (thinking I needed a private car I guess).  He said it would only be Rupees100!  I said no and that the bus was only Rs15.  He then told me there was no bus stop where I was standing and I needed to walk further.  I said I knew this was bus stop and I wasn’t going to travel with him so good bye.

I didn’t trust him one little bit.  He was a young’ish, unpleasant creature who I don’t ever want to see again.  I’m sure I wouldn’t have made it home safely if I travelled alone with him.

To make me even more pleased about taking the bus home, I forgot that I was catching the bus slightly closer to the croc bank so it was in fact only Rs9 for the fare!  I saved myself Rs91 plus heck-knows-what...
Our local bus stop

Today is also my last day at Madras Crocodile Bank Trust in India.  As ready as I am to leave, it feels slightly bitter sweet.  There are so many things I would like to have done or things I’d like to have done again.  I was here about 2.5 months and have loved the experience so much.

There have been challenges and achievements.  But as a whole I would do it over again in a flash.  
It feels very odd to be preparing to leave now.  I get 2 nights in Sri Lanka and then back to NZ to plan my next adventure (hoping this planning will be done in front of a very warm log fire with lots of delicious winter treats.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Crocodiles et al

Yesterday I attended a vet workshop held at National Zoological Gardens in Colombo.  It was held in conjunction with the Crocodile Specialist Meeting (CSG) being held just outside of Colombo in Negombo.
I was asked to light the traditional lamp as a representative of the delegates.  Also asked were the director of the zoo, chief organiser of the CSG meeting, director of Madras Croc Bank, the 2 vets presenting the workshop etc.  I felt very special!  Me, of all the people attending, probably the least experienced and least known.  It sure is all about who you know…
The traditional lamp
After a presentation by a Brazilian vet, we had lunch then I sneaked out and explored the zoo.

A big cat snoozing - just like a small cat

Lots of animals and some in less then suitable enclosures, but in general (and considering we're in South East Asia) this zoo is amazing.  It is a lush and well cared for piece of land right in the middle of a big city.  Several of the exhibits were well above expected standards and some western zoo's could learn a thing or two from here I am sure.
And a small cat thinking it's a big cat...