Dressed in my helmet and life jacket for the helicopter flight
The seasprite having dropped us off on Raoul Island
Life on the island was very different. DOC is a very different beast to the Navy. The island had been hit by a cyclone just 5 weeks earlier and some areas were devastated, including several of the buildings that were being fixed. There was also the annual changeover and lots of annual checks on instruments etc.. However, it seemed a lot more relaxed. We were camping on the lawn in front of the Hostel, with the Pukeko, friendly Tuis and Kakariki. Now I can understand how the Tuis and Kakariki got to the island from mainland New Zealand as they can fly pretty well... although we are told these are different subspecies so must have been here a while, however the pukeko are rather pathetic flyers - so their presence didn't make much sense unless they were brought there by maori (or they could have floated on pumice rafts!)
Nikau palms knocked over and killed by the cyclone
The roof of the shed had been blown off and was a few hundred metres away in the trees...
Our first day on the island it was pouring with rain and we looked around and chatted to the DOC guys on the large verandah at the hostel. The DOC team spend most of their time weeding on the island trying to get rid of the plants that europeans brought with them, including peach, passion fruit, guava etc.. However, there are several orange and other citrus fruit trees and fig, that are allowed to stay and not be removed as they are now deemed historical (I assume as long as they don't spread). They also have several veggie patches so that they get fresh greens throughout the year and to supplement the food that is airlifted in once a year.
One of the veggie patches
The hostel and tents on the lawn
In the evening we were given army RATion packs to eat. See below for what they contained. I barely managed it through the noodles and the main meal. One of the students took it upon himself to try and eat the whole lot - it does say that you should consume the whole thing in 24 hours -but I assume that is only if you are in a intense combat situation when you are burning lots of calories. I think he had a rather bad belly ache after he tried.
The contents of the RATion pack - it is canned cheese!
The hostel lit up at night by the newly installed solar panels and batteries