Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Coffee Table

An incident at the woodworking shop has caused it to close temporarily. I won't be able to work on the coffee table again until the next course starts at the end of July.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Bike!

Over the weekend I finished putting together my new bicycle. It is a Yeti ASR-SL with a Rock Shox Reba Team fork. The rest of the bike is made up from parts I have been hoarding and some taken from other bicycles.

I rode into work this morning over Mount Victoria. The picture is from the summit parking lot looking northeast up the Hutt Valley. The sun was trying to break through the clouds and managed to find a few holes.

Looking over the Wellington harbour

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Onekaka, workshop and field trip

I have to say one of the best things about studying geology is that you get to travel to some really interesting places to go on field trips. So I jumped at the chance to go on my first bonafide field trip in New Zealand with the NZ paleoclimate group. The caveat being that I had to sit through two days of workshop first, before I could justify a couple of days in the field. Fortunately the weather was kind to us, considering it is mid winter in New Zealand. The two days of workshop were cold and wet, but it cleared up nicely for the field trip at the weekend.

The workshop was held at the Victoria University field station in Onekaka near to Takaka in the north of the South Island. The workshop was actually very interesting, and a great way to meet other researchers in New Zealand working on different aspects of climate change over the last 30,000 years. The disciplines ranged from soil scientists, botanists, palynologists, glaciologists, geomorphologists, paleoceanographers and even a climate modeller!

So after two days of lots of discussion it was off to the Cobb Valley - a glaciated U-shaped valley with lots of moraines and peat bogs.... and also lots of sand flies for mid winter?

Field trip.... who is really bored?

Cobb Valley

Then on the second day a couple of us headed out to Whiriraki Beach, just south of Farewell Spit the northern tip of the west coast. This has to be the most spectacular beach I have visited in New Zealand, especially as the sun came out just as we reached the beach. The beach is made up of large sand dunes and large sediment outcrops of fluvial conglomerates which have weather some caves.

Whiriraki Beach - lots of caves to explore

Beautiful example of sedimentary cross bedding at Whiriraki beach
Drew and I spent the entire time geologising.... and decided that as well as these spectacular sediments there was also a fault right at the end of the beach. I will have to check that on the geology maps!
The wonderful seaside bach
The best thing about the four days in the area was that Sam's parents generously let us stay in their rather un-bach-like bach (beach house) just near Farewell Spit. It was so nice to wake up and look out over the sand flats and then sit around the fire at night. Just a shame that we could spend more time enjoying it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Coffee Table Part 4

Made some more progress on the coffee table tonight. I have cut all the pieces to length and it is now ready to be doweled together. I plan to put a hidden drawer under the top. This weekend I will need to buy some drawer runners and some more wood to build the drawer.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Coffee Table Part 3

I was able to work on on the coffee table tonight. I sanded the top and bottom of the table top, which is starting to look pretty good. I have trimmed the ends of the top and it is now nearing its finished shape. I will router a smooth edge on the top at some point.

I also cut the legs down to size - 100mmx80mm. I didn't have time to cut them to length though, which is why there are two instead of four.

The table top and legs (back left)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Queen's Birthday Weekend

We had a long weekend this weekend because of a public holiday on Monday. We decided to go an explore a part of the north island island we had never been to - Taranaki. The region gets its name from a large ~2500m (8200ft) volcano, Mount Taranaki. The volcano is nearly perfectly circular and has a parasitic cone, which makes it look like a smaller Mount Shasta.

Mount Taranaki

We drove around the mount which forms the southwest corner of the north island. At the west-most point is Cape Egmont and a lighthouse.

Cape Egmont lighthouse

Dawson Falls are on the southeast flank of Mount Taranaki. Just upstream from the falls is a small hydro power station - one of the first operating in New Zealand. It is the oldest continually running power stations in NZ and one of oldest in the world!

Dawson Falls