Raoul Island is one of the Kermadec Islands, about 1000km north-east of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean. DOC have a small team of staff and volunteers who live on the island in relative solitude. Their main focus is controlling weeds on the island, maintaining infrastructure such as buildings, roads and tracks, and carrying out work for Met Service and GNS.
Since the island is so remote, we get these diary entries from the team and post them up on their behalf. Today’s diary is by volunteer Katie Grinsted.
Interested in becoming a volunteer on Raoul Island? DOC is recruiting for volunteers for August 2013 to February 2014 now. See www.doc.govt.nz/raoulvolunteers for more information.
On our way
It has been just over a month since us five volunteers departed Auckland, waved goodbye to the world we knew, and began our life on Raoul Island. I have been to some pretty special places in my life but I think this may just take the cake. We are actually marooned on a (sub) tropical island. We’re stuck here with the volcanoes, the earthquakes, surrounded by sharks and we are lovin’ it!
The journey began with a five day crossing on the sailboat Ranui. Sometime on a Friday morning, the high cliffs of Hutchison Bluff appeared. We were almost there!
It seemed no time at all that we were onshore, after so long at sea firm ground felt like an illusion. Thankfully we were steadied by the welcoming arms of our new island mates. The nine Cruisers of Sunday Island united!
The island itself
Raoul Island is a beautiful place. Everyday as I walk around I try and take a moment or two to look around me and yell, more often out loud: “Woo hoo! So lucky to be here.”!
Despite being located so far from NZ, much of the flora and fauna here is identical or at least very similar, to NZ. The plant and animal life has had a boost with the removal of mammalian predators. The climate here is excellent for growing and everything here seems to shoot up so fast.
This is actually a five-finger tree for those of you who recognize it in NZ.
What we do
With the animal pests removed it is now it is up to us to get rid of the other pests on the island – the unwanted plant species. Condemned for their lack of consideration for other plants, and their effects on the habitat of the animal species, the weeds on Raoul Island are the focus of the work here.
The forest here is no walk in the park! Sometimes it is even a walk in a volcanic area!
Yep! Weeding can take it out of you!
But it is a lot of fun and life isn’t all hard work! There are plenty of other things to entertain your average cruiser. There are the water sports – snorkeling in New Zealand’s largest marine reserve for example…
And brewing high-quality beverages for another…
Then there are the forest sports. The other weekend we spent a night at the wee sky-blue Mahoe Hut before battling our way down a large dry waterfall to the coast. We emerged sweaty and exhausted but none the less, happy.
And of course, there is the sport of ‘just cruisin’, a natural and accepted progression of island life…
Who could ask for more?