5 am is always an ungodly hour, and today unnecessarily proved it true. We were out to go sampling at the low tide, and 5:30 wake up/5:50 departure was actually nice; if it was Sharon on her own, she’d have been out 60-90 minutes before that. Glad to know we’re being considered here. We drove out to Ohope Beach in all of 5 minutes before some light hiking over the side of a cliff to reach a more remote beach. There we set up quadrats to start sampling organisms in the different tidal zones with our trusty field guides, not-so-trusty eyes and the water lapping at our ankles in minutes. Quality research happening as the sun rose behind us. It was pretty beautiful, and after we finished quadrats we got to take picture samples, which was an entertaining challenge of picking the best spots.
After we collected all our of data we got to walk alongside the cliff and across to a pretty area for a group pic, where the waves tried their best to drench everyone (I got off dry, for once). Photo hopefully coming soon? After that we headed back to the camp just before 9, despite a potential earlier promise for snorkeling. Turns out the water was too murky and the waves picking up a bit much for casual snorkeling. Summer bummer, but it’s okay. We ended up back at the station doing laundry, chilling and with a run to the local ‘Warehouse’ store, where this chick got a $0.50 USD candy bar, quality sleeping bag, some body wash on a string, toothpaste and a swimsuit for less than $35 USD. It was a bit confusing between what was and wasn’t on sale, but we got out of it like pros. Seriously, so cheap.
Returning to Max’s beautiful sandwich bar spread was a gift I wasn’t ready for, and I loaded up a bombin’ roast beef/cheese/mayo/hummus/alfalfa sprout/spinach sandwich. Followed by hummus-loaded cheese for good measure. God the food here is so good, especially after work in the sun. We got to hang out for a while after that until a beach trip at 3, when Laura, Emily and I revisited the plant id site to walk the full loop we’d only covered half of that day. It was green, well-lit and quiet, and despite my sweating over it the hike itself was fine and some good time for photos and bonding. After we made our way around the path we were back to the beach to meet up with Max and everyone else, where it was refreshing to walk through the water about knee-height.
Dinner was a delicious spread of lamb, mint jelly, squash, potatoes, salad and chocolate avocado mousse for dessert. I had seconds, wanted thirds, and settled for a hearty dessert. Man oh man is this program so good with everything, seriously no complaints thus far. Post-dinner was an interesting talk about some basics of New Zealand (energy spread, the Treaty of Waitangi, the official languages and some other good things to know), which was pretty informative and is to be continued tomorrow. Fun fact, only Maori and New Zealand Sign Language are official languages of the country; English has some petitions going around to make it official, despite it being the language of the courts and every official document/office. The more you know.
After that I stayed up working on an assignment determining the type of pyroclastic fall at an outcrop we sketched on day 1, listening to some tunes and scarfing down this delicious mango-lilikoi yogurt mixed with strawberry-vanilla cereal. It’s basic but such good food, I’m always so happy to come back to the kitchen. They showed What We Do In The Shadows, which my family in Illinois loves and I’ve been dying to see but dang, I had to catch up on posts, writings and some sleep. Didn’t get to bed until super late of course, but I tried. I was wiped but it was a grand day!
Side note on the title of the post: in the car, Laura asked if Max had everyone’s personality down yet, and he said, “no, no way not yet”. But with maybe one follow-up question he admitted to his own mental nicknames for some of us, and being able to give some of us a type. Which of course calls me to light, because Max knows that “Liz is a cruiser. I see it in the way she walks, hanging around and checking everything out. I like it”. I paraphrase of course, because my memory is full of gaps and warped views, but I went from the questioning freeze-up to being a-ok with that. A cruiser. Yeah, I vibe with that.