Raoul Island diary #3 by Daniel Bristow
The challenge of weeding
All the reading and researching about Raoul did not over-prepare me for how interesting, beautiful and relaxing life is here. Bas, one of the vollies (volunteers) from the previous team said to me that weeding in the bush is one of the best aspects of living on Raoul, and after about four months here, I still agree with him.
The bush never fails to delight me with the wonderful forms the pohutukawa produce here in this dynamic environment, and the luxuriant thickets of nikau, mahoe and kawakawa, giving a tropical look and feel to the bush which I really enjoy.
There are however, some moments when the challenge of traversing a seemingly endless patch of windfall and bracken fern almost gets the better of us while out weeding. Often in these situations, the intricate details of the bush, lichen and mosses distract me, and a laugh with the other team members about the situation keeps everything in perspective; even an attack by a swarm of bees as Louise can attest.
One of the more intense weeding plots we visited recently is one that Chauncey discovered whole doing an aerial survey by helicopter. We managed to remove over 8,000 Brazilian buttercup seedlings and collect many tens of thousands of seeds during a couple of overnight trips.
This was a particularly rewarding plot that emphasised the importance of the weed eradication scheme we are contributing to here on Raoul.
Playing in the ocean
One of the perks we indulge ourselves with is a swim in the surf after a hard and rewarding day in the bush. Oneraki Beach has given us many hours of entertainment, either through surfing, body boarding or swimming. The sea here is warm, clear and has an almost syrupy consistency that, as long as the swell isn’t too large, is a real pleasure to swim in.
Currently there is a churning northerly swell eroding sand from Oneraki Beach. The upside of this means that Boat Cove is wonderfully sheltered. Ash convinced Robbie and I to venture over to Boat Cove the other day to go snorkeling, filling another great afternoon by exploring the underwater landscape of sand, rocks, coral and bountiful fish drifting by in their marine reserve.
Tune in soon for more from me about life on Raoul Island – battling the birds and insects and celebrations on the island.