Thursday, February 11, 2010

Final Blog- Kristen Beebe

Kristen Beebe-
To begin, I have never had a month of my life go by so fast before my trip to
New Zealand. I think the best way to sum up my feelings on my study abroad
trip is that the learning experience I attained was of several different aspects: I
learned so much about the course material in the field, was immersed in a new
culture, and made new friendships through all the hustle and bustle of traveling
across New Zealand.
In particular I was very impressed with the program's focus on having us
experience the native culture of the Maori which was only helped by the
instructors' passion for the country and its peoples. Staying in a marae was eye
opening and seeing the different influences of the culture throughout the
country made the importance of preserving the ancient culture obvious for the
kiwis. From wooden carvings to the jade jewelry sold in almost every store, I
could see how much pride is held in the Maori.
The two classes I took while abroad were perfect for the landscape. I think I
had the best possible experience with the variety of beaches we analyzed and
actually being able to walk on the different types of mountains and volcanoes
made the material come to life. There is definitely no other place in the world
that could have been better suited for the course material.
A couple of trips and location is best enjoyed include the whale watch and
cathedral cove. Being able to see sperm whales, dusky dolphins, hector
dolphins, seals, and albatross all in one excursion was amazing! Cathedral cove
was one of my favorite beaches because it encompassed both courses well. We
had to hike a good 45 minutes to reach the picturesque beach, but when we
arrived it was definitely worth it! We were able to see different geological
formations (sea cave, arch, and stack) and some interesting fauna (sting rays
and urchins!!). Plus, there was a rocky intertidal zone on one side of the beach
where I noted limpets and some gastropods. As well, the scene was
breathtaking and the experience was one in a million! I loved that beach!!
However, at the end of each day, after all the adventures and learning, I made
new friends that will share special memories which are completely irreplaceable.
I am so so so grateful for this experience and will never let these days leave my

Thank you for everything guys!!!!

Final Blog- Jessi Wenke

Jessi Wenke

This has been a difficult blog to write, as our last it brings a sense of finality to the adventure. I have dreamed of and plotted and planned for a trip like this for more than 20 years and the end of it is bittersweet. It was everything I dreamed it would be and more. What more beautiful of a country could one hope to visit? What a more fantastic group of people? When I first saw the familiar constellation of Orion upside down, I think I realized how far from home I was, but to look up and see stars I had never seen before was incredible and standing outside of the Marae, I think I realized what I had ahead of me. I enjoyed the constant movement, though I have to say it was hard keeping to an itinerary. It was great fun to wake up in a new town with new sights to see every day, but it would have been wonderful to have spent more time in certain locations and some places it was hard to leave. 

I had high aspirations for what I hope to accomplish during the course of this trip and I have been able to live up to many of these. I feel I truly got to understand the feel for the country just being out there and talking to many different people. The locals are so laid back and have an overwhelming pride in their culture and history and are willing to share with anyone who will ask. The ladies at the Marae were indescribably outgoing. They offered me coffee, put me to work in the kitchen and told me all about their land, their family and their plans for the future of the Marae. One of my favorite people in the country was a cashier at the Uni-Mart, who insisted I check out the Raggamuffin festival in Rotarua (sadly I didn't) and I'll never forget a conversation with a busdriver in Tauranga; he and I compared and contrasted schnitzel and a cheesesteak! And how could I forget Stu? I loved listening to his stories as we traveled on the coach; he truly gave me an appreciation of Kiwi humor and their zeal for living life.

I had hoped to apply myself to our studies at hand but I found, and not regrettable so, that there was so much to take in; the sights, the sounds and even smells, that oftentime I was more distracted than focused on schoolwork. It was part of what was so enchanting about the trip, I suppose. We would go to study a beach and you could be sidetracked by something as small as a shell stuck in a rock, or the fragrance of teatree in the air, or the sound of a tui that you just can't seem to locate…I found my interests to be more general than I had supposed them to be. Of course the geology was remarkable, but I found I was just as interested in the native flowers as the volcanoes and when we observed a beach, I spent more time watching critters than wave periods.

I feel like I had the most troubles with social issues. Maybe I put too much emphasis on my age when the age itself is not the problem; rather the problem lies more with my unfamiliarity with college culture.  I felt like I fell into a generation gap (more like chasm) and suddenly I felt surprising old and out of place. Not a feeling I'm familiar with. I truly felt like I was just starting college as a freshman. I was very uncomfortable living in close quarters with strangers, not knowing the popular music, movies, slang, celebrities or just happenings on campus…even where everyone else were strangers to start, they all seemed to have some common ground to fall back on and I was clueless to it! The open-door policy and dining hall meals at the University even took a lot of getting used to. These were obstacles I knew I had ahead, but I had hoped to be able to cope better with them.

All in all it was one of the best five weeks of my life. I got to meet 27 of the most interesting students on UD's campus. I didn't have a chance to get to know everyone very well, but I tried to get to know a little about everyone and each and every person on our trip was a fascinating, dynamic, extraordinary individual with such unique hopes and dreams and plans for the future. I was privileged to be instructed by three of the most enthusiastic and engaging instructors who all went far beyond the call of duty to make our trip not just instructive but entertaining and memorable. As I continue to unpack I find that I have to remind myself of where I was last week. It seems almost surreal now, that I was so far away. Then I go to my computer and pore over a ridiculously large file of pictures. Pictures of blue seas, and black beaches and dolphins jumping strait out to the horizon and I close my eyes, smile and think, "Yeah, I was there and it was a beautiful thing!"

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Final Blog- Emily Cahoon

Emily Cahoon
Final Blog Assignment

Visiting New Zealand was one of the best experiences of my life. Before and during the trip I wanted to see as much of the nation as I could and see active volcanics. White Island and the Tongariro Crossing were my two favorite trips of the program; I have never been so close to an active breathing volcano.
My biggest challenges both physically and emotionally was probably the seasickness I felt on every boat I went on. This is strange because never in my life have I had a problem on boats. This occurred slightly on the trip to White Island and the ferry ride between the North and South Island; however it was excruciating during a deep sea fishing trip and the whale watch. My only regret was getting so sick on that trip because I really wanted to enjoy the sea life.
I was pleasantly surprised by how many activities we got to do with the program. When it came to the free weekend it was hard to decide where to go because we got to participate in so many things through the program itself. Zorbing, black water rafting, canyon swinging, and a whale watch were all built in and activities that I am so happy to have done.
If I could tell myself one thing before I left it would be to beware; because this trip went so much faster than my last two five week study abroad programs. By the end of the other two I went on I was definitely ready to come home at the fifth week. During my stay in New Zealand I was never ready to come, especially to this blizzard! I hope to go back sometime soon!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lyons Final Blog

Brianna Lyons
Final Blog

Whenever someone asks me about my trip to New Zealand, the only short answer I can come up with is that it was amazing, and I want to go back. There is no way I can explain to them
(in any reasonable amount of time) the sensations of walking on White Island, the closeness forged with people I didn't know before the trip, or the constant but varied beauty of the
country. Besides expanding my knowledge of coastal life and geologic processes, I also learned a lot about myself, and changed in ways I never considered. I've always been somewhat
of a homebody; I'm content to stay inside -or maybe under a tree- and read a book, and not particularly driven to go out and explore. I will admit that I wondered to myself as we
gathered in Philly if I really wanted to go through with this study abroad (not that I really considered backing out). I'm not sure if it's because of the country, the program, or just the
people that I travelled with during the month, but I have definitely developed a case of wanderlust. I was one of those people who could overpack in the name of having things "just in
case," but now all I want to do is grab a day bag and a duffel with a few changes of clothes, and head out.

Before the trip, I looked forward to seeing the interaction of Maori and Pakeha cultures. The influences of the two were evident for me to see throughout the country, from the silver
fern, jade, and English pubs, to the ever present "fush and chups." I will say that the venerable Bishop Pompallier and his serpent guides struck me as an especially interesting mix at the
marae though.
My focus on taking pictures of New Zealand birds fell a bit short, as either my skill or the lenses on my cameras didn't produce many quality shots. My desire to photograph the trip in
general might have gone a little overboard though; from PHL, January 2nd to PHL, February 4th, I took over 4 thousand photos.
A huge thank you goes out to everyone on and involved with this trip for making it the amazing experience that it was; keep in touch, and let's go back!

Final Blog- Kevin Crum

Kevin Crum

This trip was one of the most exciting and enjoyable experiences of my entire
life. I was able to see and do more than I could have possibly imagined in just a
month. Beyond learning about the biology and geology of the country, I was
able to experience its culture and learn its history. There were many firsts for
me on this trip: first time scuba diving in the ocean, first time zorbing, first time
deep sea fishing, first time through international security, first time kayaking,
first time at a Marae and much more. I am glad to say that I left the country
with much more life experience than I entered with (as well as more academic
knowledge, of course).

I have lots of pictures of all of the major events (ie. scuba diving and the
Tongariro crossing) of the trip to help me remember them by. But I found that I
returned home notes about what made the day interesting from a day to day
basis, even when nothing exciting happened. These included things like:
ordering a lemonade and getting what seemed to be Sprite, realizing tire was
spelled with a "y", and tasting Mountain Dew and noticing that it did not taste
the same as at home. Something interesting happened every day.

I am glad I did this study during winter session. Over the month I was able to
see a great deal and enjoy the whole experience. However, the constant travel
and excitement was a bit draining, so the trip would have become stressful if it
had lasted a great deal longer than it did. Also, this leaves me with more that I
want to do in New Zealand and a great reason to go back one day, if I get the

Final Blog- Katy Ames

Final Blog Entry

Katy Ames

I have been putting off this blog entry because I cannot summarize my experiences in New Zealand no matter how hard I try. It was amazing, way beyond any expectations I had. Not only did I learn how to identify different beach types and many different inhabitants of New Zealand's coast, I also learned how to do the Haka Pōwhiri, how to bungee jump, and I tried a lot of new and interesting food. I learned that pictures could not capture the beauty and vastness of the New Zealand landscapes, especially on the Tongariro crossing.

During the trip I met amazing people from our group, the people from the Māori tribe, the "brain trust", Craig Cary (he and his colleges identified the Pompeii worm as the most heat tolerant higher order animal on earth), all of the guest lectures, and our fearless driver Stu. I cannot wait for any reunions that we have, and I will jump on any opportunity to go back to New Zealand (possibly for grad school). However, even though I know I want to go back it won't be the same as this trip. It will not be shared with the same group of people, and it won't be at the same enjoyable pace. It will be painful sitting in a normal classroom and not on Raglan beach or on the top of Rangitoto. 

A herd of turtles marauding through a field of peanut butter. Drawling by Emily Olson 

Final Blog- Brittany Schieler

Brittany Schieler

Final Blog Assignment


Did I really complete an 18.5km walk over volcanic terrain? Better yet, was I really on an active marine volcano, ready to erupt at any moment?  And was I really THAT close to seals and penguins? Reflecting back on the trip's highlights, evident by the close to one thousand pictures I have, it's already beginning to feel unreal. This past month in New Zealand has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life and one that I will take with me throughout the rest of my college career and beyond.


I definitely met the goals I had set for myself before arriving in Auckland. I wanted to know as much about New Zealand as possible. During this month, I have learned so much about the country of New Zealand, its history, the lifestyles of the natives, and Maori culture.  I have also learned a lot about New Zealand's unique environment and it's incredible biology and geology. The first day we were asked to try to identify the shell species on the beach I was so lost and thought it was an impossible task. Towards the end of the trip, I was able to identify almost any shell I saw.  I also learned more geology in one month than I ever thought possible.


In addition to all the things I have learned about New Zealand, I feel I have learned a lot about myself and my capabilities. I learned how to cope without some conveniences we take for granted like cell phones, internet, ketchup, and my own bathroom.  I have also learned how to take risks and do things that are outside my comfort zone. From the day I jumped off the big rock at Cathedral Cove, I allowed myself to try things I normally wouldn't like zorbing, kayaking in the dark, and doing the Tongariro Crossing.


I think one of the best learning experiences for me during this trip was the free weekend.  Me and seven others spent our free weekend in the beautiful city of Tauranga. During those four days, our small group was forced to figure out our travel, meals, accommodations, and activities on our own.  This unstructured time lead us to be more interactive with the locals and all that New Zealand has to offer.  The first thing a few of us did on the free weekend was night kayaking through a canyon filled glow worms. Even though we had seen glow worms already, this was a completely different experience.  Sitting on the beautiful river in the dark, in a kayak listening to stories and history from the local guide was a breathtaking experience.  Among other things our free weekend contained, me and two others from the group went SCUBA diving on a reef. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  As a new diver, being able to dive among lush kelp beds and colorful fish was another incredible experience.


The time spent in New Zealand has meant so much to me in many different respects.  In addition to learning so much about such a fascinating country, I learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of. I also was fortunate to share these wonderful experiences with new friends. 

Final Blog- Royce Jones

My adventures in New Zealand have meant more to me
than I ever imagined they would. For the rest of my life I
will reflect back on my experiences there and the friendships
I've made. Traveling from place to place made it difficult to
settle in and get use to the changes, but I feel that I
adapted well. With help from each other we all made these
transitions much easier. Looking back on my goals I had
coming into the trip, I feel that I met many of them. To sky
dive was one of the most important, and I don't think I will
ever experience something like that in my life again. The
house we rented for the weekend right on the beach was
incredible, I have never stayed at a place right on the beach
and who would have known it would be in New Zealand right on
the water, with Mt. Maunganui down the coast. As the trip
went on I started to realize any new experience was an
experience worth having. I was willing to try anything and
I'm glad I did so many wonderful things.
I feel that some of the biggest challenges on my trip
were convincing mentally to sky dive, and jump out of a
perfectly good plane. I would have regretted it forever if I
hadn't tried though. Going without internet and phone for so
long seemed like it would have been tough, but it was not
nearly as bad as I would have imagined. Having such a great
group of friends, great books, and cards were all I needed to
be content on down time. It had crossed my mind a few times
that I may get home sick, but not until we got on the plane in
Christchuch did I realize I wasn't home sick at all, but that
I was getting sad to leave the beautiful country I called home
for a month. I could have stayed many more months and enjoyed
every minute of it.
Since I have never been outside America, let alone
outside the Eastern Time zone, I was ready to see what a
different country would be like. There were some clear
differences but I came to find that people are still just
living to the best of their ability and enjoying themselves
when they can. People in New Zealand seem much more laid
back, which I very much so enjoyed. All the people I met from
Stu, to a man in NZ army named Steve, the Maouri people, and
all the other different people, I learned so much from.
Although I learned a great deal about geology and biology from
Art and Doug it was the things they taught us about traveling
and finding the really interesting things about a place that
most tourists wouldn't take notice to that I am most happy
with. Our professors really helped us learn from ourselves,
from what we like to eat and the activities we like to take
part in, all helped us find within us what we are really like.
I could not have imagined going on any other study
abroad program. This was the one for me and the people for
me. I will share my stories for many many years to come of
the winter of 2010 when I ventured off to New Zealand.
Thanks Art, Adam, and Doug

Final Blog Assignment

Addison Reid

As I look back on my time in New Zealand, I realize just how much I have taken away from this trip. I started this journey looking to experience a new culture and to see all the wildlife that New Zealand had to offer but I gained so much more. Not only have I learned about the culture of New Zealanders, I feel that I have embraced the lifestyle. I have returned to the States with more of a "live in the moment" attitude and a better understanding of how Americans are portrayed abroad. I walk away from this experience with a new approach to beaches and the species that live in the surrounding habitats. It will be hard for me to see a beach and not classify the sediment size and breaker type and no longer will I see a shell and not think of what used to live in it.
If I could have given advice to myself before going on this incredible journey, I would have told myself to take advantage of every opportunity given to me, no matter what the obstacle or adventure awaits me. I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime and these adventures such as zorbing and cliff hanging may never be available to me again. This trip has opened my eyes to all the amazing things that this world has to offer and it has encouraged me to take advantage of opportunities to travel the world.
Final Blog Assignment
-Rob Gardiner

This trip to New Zealand has undoubtedly been one of the best five weeks of my life. I made memories everyday that will remain with me forever. Over the course of the month I learned so much more than just the geology and biology of New Zealand. I learned about a culture I had no idea even existed (the Maori) and am now fascinated by their history and proudly wear one of their beautiful carvings around my neck. I also learned a lot more about myself than I had ever imagined I would while studying abroad.
I've been stuck on this next sentence for a long time now because I really can't put into words how special and truly life changing this trip was. This blog and my photos can't capture how amazing a time I had. If I could go back and re-do the entire trip there is really not one moment I would change. The people who I got to experience everything with made the time spent in New Zealand that much better. I fell in love with New Zealand and the only thing helping me get through this snow storm is the possibility of going back someday. In fact, at one of the last hostels we stayed in I picked up some papers about seasonal work in the summer after graduation. However, it came to mind that as many times as I do go back to Aotearoa and no matter how many amazing things I see while there, it will in no way compare to our trip simply because I will not have the same group of people to experience it with. Since I've been home I've been seriously affected by jet lag which has l!
eft me with nothing else to do but go through the 700 photos I took and relive every moment. A large number of these photos were taken during the Tongariro Crossing. The crossing was probably the most challenging walk I have ever done and will ever do. After hiking for 5 and a half hours up steep inclines with lose rock, everything else seems easy. The sense of accomplishment I felt after the crossing was second only to how I felt when I landed after skydiving. I'll end it here before I begin to start rambling off stories about the trip which could take forever.
Thank you to everybody who was involved in this trip (including those people back in New Zealand) for being part of one of the best times of my life.

Final Blog- Mike Kelly

Michael Kelly                                                                                                            2/8/10

                                                         Final Blog Assignment

            Overall, I would have to say that the trip to New Zealand was an amazing endeavor that taught me a great deal about the different places, people, and myself. Having been thrown into totally new surroundings with people I have never met before was to say the least, an interesting experience. My initial goals entering the trip were to learn about the geology and biology of New Zealand's coasts, but the learning went far beyond what was taught by professors. I would have to say that I learned far more than I had hoped, especially about the cultures and people of New Zealand. It was really eye opening to learn from the Maori and native Kiwis that gave me a fresh perspective on life. The most challenging aspect of the trip was accommodating the needs of other people and attempting to understand their points of view in context of their diverse backgrounds and social/cultural past. I found this to be applicable to not just the people of New Zealand, but with my fellow students. Over the course of the trip I felt that I really learned a lot about myself, who I am and perhaps more importantly who I am not. I found that in my opinion I am much more tolerant and understanding of new people, ideas, and situations than most others. Being able to cope with new situations and take care of myself was also something that really became apparent to me. I was proud of my ability to learn about new places, how they function, and how to take care of my needs.

My perceptions of New Zealand were only strengthened and improved from my trip there. The great cultural heritage and history was to me quite amazing and the pride and importance New Zealanders have in their cultural history reinforced my respect for their great nation. Coming back to the states, I have found that things seem to be must faster paced and oriented around more superficial things. The trip also has really made me aware of how few people appreciate and utilize the outdoors here at home. Yes, people at home love the beach and beautiful landscapes, but fail to understand the importance of these places in a manner that transcends the obvious physical attributes.

            If I were able to talk to myself being going to New Zealand there are many things I would like to say. First off, be careful jumping fences or try to avoid them all together (since I sprained my ankle pretty bad). On a more serious note, I would advise myself to be more outgoing, utilize my free time to take the path less traveled and take advantage of the amazing, unique things New Zealand has to offer. Anyone can be a tourist, but to really experience a place you have to make the effort to do so. In my future travels I hope to be more outgoing, willing to take risks and be outside my 'comfort zone' to really experience a new place and learn the most that I can. 

Final Blog- Christine MacDonald

Christine MacDonald

This trip surpassed all my expectations and I am still in shock that it is over. For
starters this experience challenged me in many ways. First, I was challenged
intellectually because I have no experience with geology and was thrown into
the field with all these unfamiliar rocks and processes. I had to rise to the
occasion. Secondly, I was challenged socially because I knew absolutely no one
before the trip and I came back with great friends. This study aboard also
challenged me culturally because spending a month in another country opened
my eyes to a different way of life and a different way of living. This trip was
physically challenging with all the hikes and especially the Tangaura Crossing. I
would never think of myself climbing hundreds of feet up steep mountains for
10 miles! Lastly this trip made me face my fears. Consider bungee jumping.
Never would I ever have voluntarily jumped off a ledge face first heading to the
ground, but I did and I'm proud of it.
This trip also changed my perception of the world. Never could I have imagined
in my wildest dreams that a place could be so beautiful and diverse, and I have
always thought I had a pretty good imagination! New Zealand showed me there
is a wider world out there that can be explored and can open my eyes to things I
never thought possible. For example, crawling through black caves with glow
worms was surreal. It makes me eager to see other parts of the world because I
know there is so much I still don't know but could yet discover.
If I could have talked to myself before I left, I would have told myself three
things. One is to take about half of what I packed in my suitcase because I
wouldn't need it. Second, I would remind myself to take advantage of every
opportunity presented because I wouldn't know when if ever I might have the
chance to do any of this again. Also I would tell myself to remember to soak it
all in and appreciate what I was doing while I was doing it. For example, stop
and really look at Cathedral Cove and take in all its beauty to make sure I will
never, never forget.
The thing that surprised me most were the locals. They were the nicest people.
They were always helpful and never had an attitude or seemed bothered by our
perhaps silly questions. However, when it came to night life, the Kiwi guys were
creepy which really threw me off. We had a joke that they were like flies, always
hovering and impossible to get to go away. Another interesting thing about New
Zealand that surprised me was the lack of wildlife. They really only have
possums (which they try to kill all time), sheep, cats, and dogs. It is really the
land of the birds.
Overall, I think I reached my goals for this trip. I was outgoing and put myself
out there to make friends. Also, I didn't shy away from opportunities. I swam at
every beach, did black cave water rafting, went bungee jumping, ate scallop
reproductive organs and much more. It is crazy to think that in one month I
have done more than some people achieve in a lifetime! I experienced many
cultural activities native to New Zealand, such as dancing and singing at the
Mauri. I also learned more about geology and marine biology than I expected. I
am excited now to go back to work this summer and be able to tell the rest of
my lifeguard patrol about coastal features and processes and why the beach
looks the way it does.
All in all this experience changed me as a person. I have grown as a student, a
friend, and a person as a whole. After this trip I have so many more goals in life,
more places I want to travel to and learn about. This experience really showed
me that I have only experienced a limited amount of life and the world. I want to
travel to places off the beaten path and learn about different cultures because
overall it would make me a better person in the end—more understanding,
more accepting. The only regret I have is that I didn't take motion sickness
medicine on the whale watch. Other than that, I wouldn't have changed the trip
or the people for anything or anybody. It was the best month of my life. I just
hope the rest of my life can live up to it. Thanks Art and Doug!!

Christine MacDonald
University of Delaware

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Final Blog Entry

Bobby Winters        

 The trip to New Zealand was easily one of my favorite experiences of all time.  I spent the entire 2 hour car ride homeward bound trying to tell my parents about all of the awesome things that we got to do while we were in New Zealand.  One of the things that made the trip so cool was the fact that we travelled together with a nicely sized group of new faces which quickly turned into good friends as we were able to experience together all the amazing things that can be found only in New Zealand.

                I would like to say that I met my objectives from before the trip started.  I experienced the unique culture of New Zealand through both the Marae stay and by just being out and about in the cities and towns that we visited.  I think that my views have also changed a little bit too.  I’ve gotten so used to living in the U.S. and seeing the same people all the time around UD and my hometown.  It was really amazing to get to see how much more is really out there in the world all though we were only in one country.  I have been to Europe a few times before, but what makes this trip so much different was the amount of time that we spent in New Zealand.  It really allowed me to experience and see so much more of the culture and environments that can be found which definitely gave me better insight.

                Arriving in PHL on Jan 2, I really did not know what we were about to go through.  The thing I knew for certain was that we would be spending some time looking at the geology and biology found on the shores of New Zealand.  And of course the trip included that along with so much more.  In the first day alone, we had travelled in a boat from Auckland to Rangitoto (after driving up to the top of Mt. Eden) where we were able to look into a huge crater of a shield volcano which was pretty crazy.  Then we broke off to explore a little bit of Auckland which was a brand new city for everybody.  And we spent our first night in a hostel which I’m sure was new for a lot of us.  Basically the whole first day was spent exploring, which would turn out to be the mold for the rest of the trip.  We spent a night with some Maori people, which turned out to be one of my favorite activities.  We made our way to the Bay of Islands where we got to take a boat all the way through the “Hole in the Rock.”  We had a pretty cool experience at Hot Water Beach and then spent a lot of time exploring Cathedral Cove all in one day.  We even sailed out to White Island where we stepped into an active volcano expected to erupt every ten years (it was year 10, of course).

           I’m going to stop there because you know the rest, but just about everywhere else that we went offered a new place to explore, a new place to learn, and a new place to strengthen friendships.  And it’s for these reasons that I was able to get the most out of our trip to New Zealand.  It was really tough to say good bye to New Zealand for the time being, but I look forward to staying in touch with everybody in Newark and I know that I would absolutely take an opportunity to go back. 


Emily Olson - Final Blog Assignment

I spent a month in Middle Earth. No, make that Narnia. Or maybe it was a place made for Heavenly Creatures, or perhaps it was the territory of a pair of Concords. Or maybe, just maybe, I spent one of the best months of my life in one of the best places on planet Earth – New Zealand. I've traveled to many places in the world, and one or two of them have made me question my desire to return home. New Zealand didn't offer me that question; it grabbed me by the wrist and demanded that I stay there for as long as it could keep its hold on me. Because of that, walking onto the plane to LA was one of the hardest decisions I made. Not only because I love the country so much, but because being disconnected from my normal life for a month made me question what I was really doing. If I had stayed, let go of what I'd been told was the right path for me to take, the accepted course of action, would I have become a spiritually richer and more complete person? Or would I have crashed and burned and come crawling back to my family and friends in the United States? I stepped on that plane and returned as I should have, though, so I don't know the answer – at least I won't until I return as a backpacker, which I am determined to do. It seems like this trip was a dream – I left dead trees and snow behind, and then I came back to the same thing, making the month inbetween feel like it never happened. I've left New Zealand for now, but New Zealand will never leave me – Aeotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud, its people, its nature, its heart and soul will be with me forever, and will keep pulling me back for the rest of my life.

But enough with the philosophical stuff. I had a great time, I met great people, and learned a lot about similar and different cultures all on one tiny landmass. The feeling of walking into Cathedral Cove was one thing I will never forget, as is pushing myself to do the 18.5km of the Tongariro Crossing, which in the end was worth more to me than I could have ever dreamed – from the times I was left speechless by the scenery to the moments I thought I was going to die! Every second of every minute of every day was spectacular, even the times when I was tired, stressed out, or frustrated. I learned in class, out of class, about myself, and about other people. It was a strange feeling waking up the Friday after we landed and not being in a room with 7 other people and all of their luggage, but I guess I'll get used to it soon enough. I'll always have the pictures, the memories, the friends I made, the knowledge I gained, and the desire and will to return. One of the most important things I learned was to let myself have fun, and that I can do anything as long as I have the willpower to see it through. I've taken those lessons home with me, and I will take them back to New Zealand the next time I step on those fair shores, however soon or distant that may be. I'm just grateful that this trip was made possible, so thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to everyone who had a hand in creating it and everyone who shared it with me.

Amanda DePasquale - Final Blog

Amanda DePasquale – Final Blog
This trip has left me speechless. I can't even begin to explain to people how awesome it was. I never imagined that I would do all of the different things that I did in one month. This trip has meant so much to me. The opportunities that it has given me were unlike any other opportunities I have ever had, and I'm so happy to have taken them.
Before I came, I was interested in learning about the Maori culture and learning the haka. I learned the woman's version of the haka, and watched the men perform their version. I also learned a lot about them from just talking to the people that lived in the marae. The other goal I had was to learn about the geology and biology of New Zealand. I can say that I successfully did that. I feel confident in identifying beach states, shells, wave types, sediments, and plants in coastal environments. I saw sea stars, crabs, and even penguins in their natural habitats. I saw a beach made of very fine grain black magnetic sand. I even took some home.
My goals increased as the trip progressed. I wanted to see more, experience more, do more. I made sure to take advantage of any opportunity that we were given, like the black water rafting in the glow worm caves and zorbing. Although they cost money, I am so happy that I did them. I took every opportunity I had to see things also. I went hiking up Mt. Maunganui at night with some students, which was incredible. The views were just breathtaking.
As for challenges, there really weren't any huge ones on the trip for me. I have studied abroad before, so I was not homesick. Physically, my body was quite sore after the Tongariro crossing, but no pain no gain right? Emotionally, my grandpa passed away during the last week of our stay in New Zealand, and it was so hard for me to be away from my family at that tough time.
But on a lighter note, my perception of New Zealand is natural. It is so overgrown and untouched that it is amazing. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park because the ferns were HUGE. Not only that, the amount of different environments in New Zealand are incredible. There were beaches, forests, rain forests, sand dunes, volcanoes, pastures, mountains... you name it New Zealand probably has it. The islands are so natural and clean, full of biology and geology.
If I could talk to myself before the trip, I would tell myself to get ready for the experience of a lifetime. Be prepared to see the most beautiful place in the world, in which pictures cannot capture the awesomeness of it. My experience in New Zealand has been like no other experience I had before. The places I visited and the things that I did will stay with me forever, and I will continue to tell everyone who asks me about how great it was. I am so happy to have had such a fantastic experience here, and to make some great friends. This trip has opened my eyes, and I am even considering spending more time in New Zealand after I graduate from UD.

Katherine Fochesto Blog

Katherine Fochesto
Final Blog Assignment
February 6, 2010

My experience in New Zealand was one that I will never forget. We did so
many cool and interesting things and traveled to so many great places. It truly
was the most beautiful place in the world. Everywhere I looked, I felt like I was
looking at a postcard. I learned so much about the culture of New Zealand,
particularly the Maori culture, and about the geology and biology of the
The night before I left for New Zealand, I was so anxious and excited. I
couldn't wait to get there and start on our journey around the country. I didn't
know much about New Zealand and I was so excited to see a place that was on
the other side of the world. As the days went by, the group of students got
really close. I think being together every day and every night and experiencing
such amazing things with each other brought us together and made us really
enjoy each other's company. I know that we will remain friends because we are
bonded by our amazing experiences in New Zealand.
I really enjoyed the White Island tour. Being on an active volcano was something
I never thought I would do. It was amazing seeing something like that up close
and getting to explore it. I remember standing on the island looking around at
the steam vents and at the blue water around the island and thinking how lucky
we were to be able to visit such a cool place. I also enjoyed jumping off the boat
with everyone after the tour and seeing the dolphins swimming around our
boat. I have never seen dolphins in the wild that close and it was so fun to stand
on the boat and watch them jump in the boat's waves.
Black water rafting and seeing the glowworms in the caves was another one of
my favorite activities. I wasn't sure what to expect when I heard we had the
choice to go black water rafting but I am definitely glad that I chose to give it a
try. It was so cool to be so far underground, walking around in amazing caves
and seeing glowworms while floating around in rafts. It was interesting to see
the geological aspects of the caves. Learning about caves in a textbook would
definitely not be as interesting or exciting as that day!
The Tongariro Crossing was one of the activities we were told about during the
interest meetings. I had never been hiking and I had never even done anything
of such a long distance before. I was nervous about being able to finish the
crossing because I knew it was challenging. As we got closer to the day of the
crossing, we were all a little worried about what it was going to be like. It turned
out to be my favorite day of the trip. The weather was perfect and we started
the hike at 10 am. As we walked, I ended up with five other people who were
around the same pace as I was. We stayed together the whole day and had an
amazing time. The scenery was incredible and we stopped to take pictures and
soak in the scenery many times. The challenge of the hike made it exciting and
we encouraged each other throughout the day. When we finally made it to the
end, we were all so proud of what we had just accomplished.
One of the important goals I set for myself at the beginning of the trip was to
fully immerse myself in a culture that I didn't know much about. Throughout
the month, I feel that I really accomplished that goal. The trip started with us
wandering around Auckland in shock that we were finally in New Zealand. The
marae stay was one of the coolest things we could have done, in my opinion.
We basically got to see what it is like to live with these families. We learned
about their culture in a way that is not visible by just hearing about it in stories.
I will never forget the pride that family had in their eyes when we performed the
haka for them. They looked so happy that another culture took the time to learn
something that has been so important to their people for hundreds of years. I
really tried to go all out during the month and try lots of new things, even little
things. Instead of getting a Diet Coke, I ordered L & P. Rather than getting a
burger for lunch, I ordered the fish and chips or steak and cheese pie. It made
me feel as though I was taking full advantage of my time in New Zealand and
living as the Kiwis do. I also discovered my obsession with Tim Tams, which I
brought back with me to the US.
The month went by so quickly, but I have so many great memories to share with
my friends and family at home. Skydiving, bungee jumping, black water rafting
and a 19 km hike are all things I never thought I would do, let alone do them in
a place as beautiful as New Zealand. Now I have accomplished so much and I
feel so happy and grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a month
traveling around and exploring New Zealand.

Final Blog- Brett Friedberg

Brett Friedberg - Final Blog
What does this trip mean to me? It's hard to even start. Before we left, I didn't know what to expect from the trip. I had looked over the itinerary a couple of times, but was unaware of just how many amazing sites we would see on the trip. I try to tell family and friends about the places we have visited, but pictures and words never do it much justice. I found it hard to explain things like Tane Mahuta and the importance it has to the Maori people. You just had to be there. Or the Tongariro Crossing, I tried my best to take pictures to show everyone how beautiful the hike was, but again, the pictures didn't do much justice compared to actually hiking it. It makes me wonder about the rest of the world and how I have only seen pictures of 97% of it. If this trip did nothing else, it made me want to see more of the world through my own eyes. Anyway, back to New Zealand.
Not only did we just visit so many sites and enjoy the view, but actually were able to learn about how they came to be this way or why certain organisms were able to thrive there. I think this gave the trip much more meaning than if I had traveled there by myself. Coming in, I thought I would know most of the biology since I was myself a biology major, but I quickly realized this was not the biology I had been taught at UD. As for the geology, my vocabulary was small including words like rock and ocean, but Art, Doug, and Adam have given me a wealth of knowledge on these subjects that I have been able to take back home with me. Next time I'm at a beach, I'm sure I will banter on about the geology features and the types of shells to whoever is with me. I'm very appreciative to think of different sites and have more going through my head than "beautiful" or "so great". Instead, I can think of a place and think about how the sand got there and why it's the size it is, or "man, I know how that arch was formed!"
How about the culture in New Zealand? This was essentially the first trip out of the country for me, so I was anxious excited about finally seeing a new place. Between the fish and chips, fried oyster, ready to go sandwiches, sausage, their attempt at bacon, cafes, thai food, or the no tipping policy getting lunch was always interesting. Public restrooms: What a great concept! Although I do not think they would be so clean and without issues in many parts of our own country. People we encountered daily were always quick to say hello and ask about your time in New Zealand, always being friendly and warm-hearted. How about the Marae stay? They were some of the nicest people I have met. Their wonderful culture gave everyone a chance to see how natural and unique some people in the world live.
After such an exciting and happy journey, leaving everyone at the Philadelphia airport was a weird feeling. Over the month, we had spent so much time together and become such good friends, it did not seem like anyone was ready to end the trip. Most of us had recently met each other, but in the little time we were together, we did some of the most amazing things we will ever do in our lifetime. In the process, I made great friends I hope to continue to stay close with so we can relive and talk about all the great times we had in New Zealand and hopefully make some new ones. In my final blog I have decided to make my top 10 most memorable moments of the trip. (obviously the list could go on and on)
1. Swimming into the caves at Cathedral Cove.
2. Tongariro Crossing
3. The haka
4. Skydiving
5. Climbing mount "manganunu" in pitch black darkness
6. Whale Watching excursion
7. Finding the geocache.
8. Trevor eating lamb for the first time.
9. The attempt to find Victoria street the first night in Hamilton which took upwards of three hours.
10. Church visit at the Marae and the casket raising.

Final Blog- Alison Gutsche

The End of an Incredible Journey (for now)-Alison Gutsche

Looking back at my pictures really showed me that what I saw was so much more amazing than anything I could have caught in any of the thousands of pictures I took.  I tried describing the greatness that was White Island and how scared I was when exploring the Waitomo Caves, but I didn't give any of it justice.  The good thing about this is that I know how incredible of a country New Zealand is.  It really opened my eyes to a whole new world.  I had traveled before but never really saw things like volcanoes and hot water beaches.  I had seen crazy geological features before like the Grand Canyon and many other things in the western United States and Canada, but none of things affected me like the New Zealand landscape did.  While I did sleep on the bus sometimes, I tried to stay awake as much as possible to take it all in.  I felt as though I saw things on New Zealand, which is such a small country that cannot be seen on countries as big as the United States.  I also know now that I did more things on the first week in New Zealand that the majority of people have done in their entire lives, and that makes me truly happy that I had this experience.

            While New Zealand was a beautiful country, it also forced me to get over some of my fears in life.  I would never really say I am a person who is scared of heights, but jumping off that bungee platform was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  But if I hadn't jumped off that platform, I would have definitely have regretted it, and I didn't want to leave New Zealand with any regrets of not trying things.  Also, hiking up and down the loose rocks on the Tongariro crossing was quite a feat, but I don't think I've been happier about completing something in my life.  Crossing every corner of the crossing and seeing a different environment was incredible.  Another thing that tested me was climbing through the whole in the caves to get to the waterfall.  While the waterfall was worth, the whole climb through the tunnel I didn't believe it was, but I am glad I forced myself onward.

            In comparing New Zealand to Delaware and other journeys I have taken, New Zealand is definitely number one on my list.  Not one time was I homesick throughout the entire trip.  I learned more about myself on this trip than I had in all my years of school and other travels and that is how I know it was more than worth it.  I know that one day, hopefully within three years, I will be returning to New Zealand, whether it is to do research, or to continue schooling, or to just try out another life.  I felt too connected to the country that not returning just isn't an option. 

            All in all, this experience helped me grow as a person more than I ever would have imagined.  I made an amazing group of friends that I wouldn't have traded for any of my friends at home.  Coming here not knowing anyone really helped me make friends that I may not have if I already knew people.  Overall, I wouldn't have changed anything except for the fact that I wish I brought some Tim Tams home.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

final blog assignment - Trevor Anderson

New Zealand Final Blog – Trevor Anderson
Upon looking back on my/our time in New Zealand, I am astonished at how the trip exceeded all my expectations. It's crazy to think of all the adventures we had and all the activities we accomplished. It hit me last night when I was showing pictures and videos to friends and family, that in one month, I (we) were lucky enough to have done more than some people will ever get the chance to do in their entire lives. We climbed and hiked mountains and volcanoes, rode in a bus on a beach, rode on a boat through a "hole in a rock", swam into underwater caves, made hot tubs on a beach, saw sperm whales and hundreds of dolphins, and went surfing, sandboarding, zorbing, black water rafting, bungee jumping, and skydiving. We even played capture the flag, manhunt, and baseball in a foreign country. That is one impressive list that I'm sure as it made mine, made everyone else's family and friends extremely jealous. It's truly amazing how many feats and goals of mine we have now accomplished, and I am sure everyone else feels the same way. I also feel fortunate for going on a program with such a great group of students and professors. Everyone got along relatively well with everybody, and as someone who came into this trip without knowing really anyone, I am pleased to say I have made great new friends.
Also, as someone who has grown up at the beach, it's amazing how much more I learned about beaches and the coasts. It's funny actually how little I did know about the beach. I can now easily and confidently identify different wave types and beach states, describe the sand and sediments, and can classify a variety of shells as opposed to just calling them all clam or snail shells.
New Zealand has taught me to live life without regrets, to take risks, and to just go for it. If I can skydive and bungee jump I now know there's no obstacle out there that can hold me back. I am pleased and surprised to say that not once on the trip, even with the cultural differences, did I ever feel home sick, but am unfortunately now suffering from New Zealand withdrawal. As am now going through my pictures and videos from New Zealand, it is incredible to see everything we saw, from beautiful landscapes to exotic animals, and to be able to re-live the experience. Our month in New Zealand was the best time of my life!

Re: Rina Binder-Macleod Blogs Entry

Final Blog Entry

Well, it is all over now…or is it?  I feel like what I have experienced and learned through this trip will resonate through my life although the impacts of the trip may be subconscious and I may not attribute my actions to lesions learned while in New Zealand.  But, isn't that the learning process?  Our thought processes and decision making are a result of previously learned lessons.

In respect to my goals for the trip, I feel like I reached my goals of being able to properly analyze and understand the natural environment.  We definitely learned how to analyze the beaches to a degree previously unimaginable!  Previous to this trip, I had no idea how many classifications there were for a beach!  In addition, on the biology side I never imagined being able to identify shells or marine creatures. 

Also, in the academic region, I feel like I learned about prospects of further education in a natural science (potentially going to grad school?).  I had never really thought about graduate school, but learning about the research that Art, Doug, and Adam do I am becoming interested in exploring this option for the future.  But, who knows?  Life is all one big journey; you can't plan too far ahead in the future!  I will end on that note, I wish to continue my journey through life learning and exploring.  I just have to remember Doug's advice to "keep your feet wet and your eyes open."  Bon voyage

Rachel Schnaitman – Final Blog Post

Reflecting upon my travels through the land of the birds brings back so many amazing memories. Between arriving bleary-eyed at Auckland and leaving Christchurch after our Antarctic adventure I have experienced the time of my life. Being a wildlife conservation major I have a great love and appreciation for nature and animals and my main objective for this trip was to see and learn about things that I could never experience anywhere else in the world. Coming to New Zealand definitely made that dream come true. I got to experience nature at its finest and to see what the last settled country looked like in all its majestic glory. Though I would have liked to spend more time looking at all the flora and fauna New Zealand has to offer, I think I have achieved my goal. I saw so many different bird species that I never would have gotten to see in Delaware unless I was visiting a zoo.

I can't exactly pinpoint the highlight of the trip because what I enjoyed most was the pleasure of experiencing New Zealand for the first time with wide open curious eyes. I really loved all of the new experiences I got to experience in New Zealand and being a first time foreign traveler. I enjoyed the culture, the food, the flora and fauna, the scenery, and so much more. As I look back I wouldn't change anything about the trip. I got to do and experience so much more than I ever dreamed possible and I loved every minute of it. I think this trip has definitely opened my eyes to the world beyond the US and has made me all the more curious and anxious to experience other countries and cultures.

I think my favorite location that we've visited would have to be Raglan/Whale
Bay. First of all, I was beyond excited to know that I was visiting a world-famous
surf spot. Being a surfer myself, there was a certain kind of excitement that
built up for me as I walked down the hill and gradually caught glimpses of this
massive, black sand surfing beach. I think I actually exclaimed aloud "Oh my
god, this is the biggest beach I've ever seen!"
Not only did this spot appeal to me because I love to surf, but also because I'm a
geology major. Playing with the magnets in this black, magnetic sand was so
fun (and nerdy). I actually made sure I filled up the entire sample bag so I had
enough sand to bring home with me. I love to go to places where I can take what
I've learned in my geology classes and actually think like a geologist. I
immediately began to wonder where the nearest volcano was that produced this
amazing magnetic sand. I was also completely amazed at the grain size of
Raglan's sand. It was so incredibly soft and fine that whenever the wind blew,
gusts of sand blew with it. I just finished my surficial processes class, so I
started to think about the kind of weathering that had to have occurred to cause
the sand to be so fine. I was also really pleased to "read" this beach based on
what Art has taught us. Raglan was a perfect example of a dissipative beach
because it was extremely flat, exposed, and wide with lots of wave energy going
on. I got really excited when Art had us dig that giant hole so he could show us
the heavy magnetic mineral placers formed by storms. It made a lot of sense to
me because I've taken surficial and I was just really pleased to see what I've
learned in real life.
At Whale Bay, I was really interested in the type of rocks that all of the intertidal
species had made their homes on. I'm pretty sure they were just massive chunks
of vesicular basalt and I love when I get the chance to try and identify different
rocks. I especially love New Zealand in general because I've seen so many young,
igneous rocks here, which is a change to what I usually find on the east coast of
the States.
Some cool biology that I noticed at Raglan was these tiny purple shells sitting in
the sand. There weren't very many shells at all on the beach itself, so I was
shocked to see these tiny, delicate, bright purple shells sitting in the black sand.
There were tons of flora and fauna at Whale Bay. I was really happy to have
found the catseye turbo and the two kinds of sea stars. It's funny that the
cushion star was so cool and special to me and it's one of the most common sea
stars in New Zealand. Rocky intertidal zones are just some of the greatest places
to explore and every time I'm at one, I feel like a little kid again, climbing
around at Beavertail Lighthouse in Rhode Island.
I've had some really amazing experiences in New Zealand so far, but I think
Raglan and Whale Bay most successfully stimulated my inner coastal geologist,
marine biologist, surfer, and child.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Final Blog Entry- Christina Liaskos

Christina Liaskos
Before getting on the plane, everyone told me that I was going to have the time
of my life. It's not that I didn't believe them; it's just that I had no idea to what
extent I would come to appreciate this entire journey. Over the past month, I
have learned so much about myself and the memories I have made are
something I will treasure for the rest of my life. I have seen the most beautiful
places and I have met some amazing people. I became more self aware and
began to realize what it is that I want to do with my life. I feel closer with nature
and with my surrounding environment. I have grown as a person. What else
could I ask for, really? The definite highlight of this entire journey was the
Tongariro Crossing. Never have I ever appreciated the beauty of a landscape so
much as I did that day. That hike was a pretty spiritual experience; I couldn't
help but become emotionally overwhelmed by the view in front of me. That
image will forever be remembered and it is on my bucket list to return in the
future. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity of a lifetime. I hope
everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did.

Sadly The Final Blog

Ethan Beswick

As I sit here in LAX, all that is left to do is reflect upon the past month, lest I remember that classes start in just a few days.  From our Maori visits to hiking the Tongariro Alpine crossing, there has rarely been a dull moment, save for the last few days at the Uni.  However, Dull is an imprecise word but I use it because the stresses of the journey morphed constantly and kept the trip constantly interesting.  From joy and amazement to practically needing to get away from each other to hiking mountain passes and sleeping (err… studying!) on beaches, we have seen a rollercoaster of every part of our senses over this past month. This is not to say that this trip wasn't an exceptional experience, for it is the ardors of travel that make the situations so memorable.

Before departure, I had made a point to sample the delicacies of the Land of the Long White Cloud, but only after starting to understand the locals and viewing the heralded sights that these small islands have to offer.   I feel that all of these goals were achieved to a degree that I could never have imagined, but let's be honest, you can never have enough good food, so I will work on that again next time I visit.  The bond of cultures in New Zealand is an exceptional combination that has rarely been seen over the years and the sights and sounds and smells should be experienced by all lest we forget what true beauty actually is.  It must not be forgotten the numerous facts and information that I learned from the classes, which is particularly important to me as I truly felt like the stupidest person for 10000 miles when I heard many people discuss the material very early on.

            This trip has shown me a lot of New Zealand but it has also revealed things about myself and others.  This will most likely be one of my last opportunities to travel in such a large group, which has been an experience, but what I will miss is the insightful discussions, lectures, experiences, and information that Art, Doug, Adam, Stu, and every other helpful Kiwi we found was more than willing to share with us.  I have found that it is rarely what you see but in what context and who you share it with, and I am glad that my first experience was with all of you, and you all have the desire to come back and explore the South Island as much as I do.

            We will be the heard of turtles marauding through a field of peanut butter forever.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Group Stop Blog Entry- Royce Jones

Royce Jones
Hot Water Beach
I knew when i woke up that morning today was going to be a interesting
and fun day. We had plans of going to Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove.
Since i had done a blog assignment in November for Cathedral Cove i knew the
area some what and was excited. After hearing about Hot Water Beach i was
even more excited to see what it was all about. I admit i did not realize it was
so much of a tourist attraction but i started to realize when we got there i was
not one of them. I felt more like an academic, not just coming to learn the ways
in which the tourist were able to enjoy the natural processes giving them man
made hot tubs. I also imagined building a 4 or 5 foot deep hot tub filled with
bubbling water and seats i could build. Just my fickle imagination. It was still
fun trying to build a suitable hole where you could find a nice warm patch of
water underneath the sand. It was a great start to an adventure filled day.
The things we were learning that day we very incredible. Understanding the
geological processes that we could physically see going on and those that had
gone on 7 million years ago. The geothermal activity could be seen, well more
felt as it happened right there at that time. Deep under earth geothermal cracks
and vents were emitting extreme amounts of heat that filtered up through to
the surface, in some place it was incredibly hot even inches below the sand.
This heated the water, and when appropriately mixed with the cold ocean water
you had a nice relaxing hot tub, if built properly and strong enough.
We got to see ignumbrite rock which is a combination of volcanic ash and
pummus, that was created nearly 7 to 8 million years ago. Also we learned to
identify the pummus which was compared to small raisins in rice pudding which
was the matrix of ash. Also that phenocryst's are slow forming crystal pummus
chunks and tuffs are considered all ash by its self. Including these geological
properties we also saw some biological organisms including, Larus gulls, the
ever popular in New Zealand Pipi shell; Plebidonax deltoides species. Also the
common tua tua species Paphies subtriangulata, beach hooper or sand flea, and
amphipods and limpets that could not be identified. Some other biology we
saw were sea weed and Pahotakowa tree growing on the ignumbrite.

Group Stop Blog Entry- Katherine Fochesto

Katherine Fochesto
Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove was on of my favorite places that our group has visited
during our time in New Zealand. Cathedral Cove is located on the Pacific Ocean
in a marine reserve that is 9 square kilometers. I really enjoyed Cathedral Cove
because there was a hike on the way down to the beach that took 45 minutes.
The trail we hiked winded down a cliff through a forest with amazing views of
the ocean and the beach below. The walk down to the beach built up our
anticipation to see the shore and the beautiful clear blue water.
Once down at the beach, I was amazed at the rock formations around the
beach. The rocks, called tuff, were made up of ash. The sediment was fine,
white-gray in color and was made up mostly of fragments of tuff rock. The first
thing I noticed was the most obvious, the arch in the rock, on the right side.
The effects of weathering from waves hitting the tuff rock left an arch through
what was once a headland of the beach. When I walked through the arch to the
adjacent beach, I noticed a stack, which is called Tower Rock. It is now a
freestanding rock that broke away from the cliff next to it. At one time, it was
an arch like the one we walked through. Over time, the waves continue to
weather arches and they become stacks like Tower Rock.

Arches and stacks begin as caves, which were also at Cathedral Cove. A
bunch of us swam into two of the caves and it was amazing. Inside each cave
there is a little beach where we swam up and stood on the sand looking out at
the water. Waves begin to weather the rock around them into caves making
them larger and larger until they break through to the other side forming an
arch, and eventually a stack. It was so interesting to see a geological process in
three different stages in one beach. We got to visualize the effects of waves,
weather and long periods of time in one afternoon. There was also a rock
offshore in the middle of the water, which we were able to jump off. That was
really cool also because we were able to stand on the rock facing the beach and
see the whole beach from a different vantage point. Jumping off was very fun
also and I spent a lot of time climbing up to jump the 10-15 feet into the (very
cold) water. The tuff rock surrounding the beach also had what is called honeycomb
weathering. Honeycomb weathering got its name from the indentations it
creates on the rocks, a pattern that resembles a honeycomb. Grains of sand
being moved around on the rocks by wind and swirling around to create little
circular indents cause honeycomb weather. This was really interesting to see
because we were witnessing two different types of weathering: water and wind.
We saw the different formations and patterns the different kinds of weathering
left on the rocks.

While on the beach and climbing the rocks, we noticed a large amount of
limpets and barnacles. The barnacles were attached to rocks both in the water
and on the shore that were not yet covered with the incoming tide. There were
also cockle shells, black nerites, snails, seaweeds, stingrays, sea urchins and
macro algae. The high diversity of the marine life in this area explains why New
Zealand has made it a marine reserve. This was the first marine reserve we
visited so I found it really interesting to learn what that meant. A marine reserve
is a protected beach and coastal area. Visitors to the beach are not allowed to
take anything from the beach, living or nonliving, not even sand or shells.
Visitors are encouraged to "take only pictures and leave only footprints." Marine
reserves are enacted to preserve coastal areas and marine life in their natural
state and prevent disruption or destruction by human activity. Therefore, we
were able to swim and climb the rocks and enjoy our time at the beach but we
were not able to take any specimens with us as we left in order to respect the
environment at Cathedral Cove.
Overall, Cathedral Cove was a great place to spend the day. It was not only
beautiful to look at, but there were many biological and geological aspects to be
studied there. It was fascinating to see how waves cut away and shape the land,
changing its appearance over time. It was also interesting to see all the flora
and fauna in its natural, preserved state. Traveling down the cliff and walking
onto the beach was like entering a serene and protected area with amazing
things to discover and learn about.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Group Stop Blog Entry- Brianna Lyons

Brianna Lyons

Our trip around the Bay of Islands to see the Hole in the Rock was a highly enjoyable introduction to what our later travels around New Zealand would be like. The day was packed with beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery, and geologic processes that I've previously only read about in textbooks. Near the Hole in the Rock were were able to see the sea cave, sea arch, sea stack progression that we would later get a closer look at during our visit to Cathedral Cove. It was also interesting to see the result of rising sea level on the landscape, as the islands are hills that have been drowned in the last few thousand years. The trip provided a light history of some of the islands, as our boat guide told us stories of Cook's travels in the Bay of Islands and later Maori/Pakeha interactions in the area. I feel that the story of the "massacre" on one of the islands by a young Maori, and the Maori reactions to his subsequent arrest and trial by the British, helped to reinforce my awareness of underlying tensions that have existed between Maori and Pakeha since first contact.

The day trip offered a further glimpse into our future travels when we were unexpectedly left on one of the islands for about an hour. It was a gentle initiation into the fact that not everything will go as planned, and that this does not mean bad things will happen, but instead unanticipated opportunities to learn and explore may present themselves. It is definitely enjoyable to think back and realize that on the beach where we had impromptu lectures that day, there were a lot of shells and critters that I didn't know at the time but I could definitely identify now, such as the ever-present pipi.

Group Stop Blog Entry- Brittany Schieler

Brittany Schieler

We have been to so many beautiful places and seen so many amazing things on our trip that picking just one to write about was the hardest part of this blog assignment. One of my favorite group stops in terms of geology and biology thus far, though, has definitely been Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel. While we were there for only a very short time, the amount of biological and geological features available at such a small pocket beach was incredible, making Cathedral Cove one of my most memorable encounters.

Just getting there was hike… literally. It was about a 45 minute walk down a cliff over rough, and sometimes steep, terrain to get to the beach. It was a tough walk, but the scenery was spectacular! One minute you are walking through a dense, forest area with large ferns reminiscent of the Jurassic Park jungles and the next you find yourself on grass fields with a great view of the Pacific Ocean. On the way, we saw many bird species, such as Quail, and many different plants. Finally walking down the last bit of stairs and onto a beautiful, sandy paradise was breathtaking.

Though Cathedral Cove is a popular tourist attraction, we were fortunate enough to be given instruction on the biological and geological features of the area that usually go unnoticed by the typical tourist or beachgoer. For example, the small beach includes examples of all three stages in the geological evolution of sea stacks. There were many sea cave (the first stage in forming a sea stack) and a huge sea arch that you can walk through. Once you are through the arch, you can see a large sea stack just off the beach. Also, there was clear evidence on these geological structures of erosion processes, such as honeycomb weathering patterns. All of this helped show how geological features are not permanent and are governed by dynamic processes and constantly changing.

In addition to geology, Cathedral Cove had some interesting biology. The cove is the first marine reserve to be established on the Coromandel peninsula. In addition to the array of mollusc sea shells that can be found on the beach (the sand is also made of many shell fragments), many organisms dwell in the cove's subtidal zone. I was fortunate to have brought my snorkel equipment and dove right in to explore. Among the vast amounts of submerged macroalgae were large schools of fish. It was a great experience to swim among them.

The wealth of geology and biology at Cathedral Cove marine reserve made this stop a great opportunity to learn and to explore. In addition to this hands-on learning, I did a little self-exploration that afternoon. There was a large rock in the water that many swimmers were jumping off of. Scared at first, I finally convinced myself to climb the giant rock and jump. It may seem quite trivial, but this experience helped me to take risks and leave my comfort zone throughout the rest of my time in New Zealand, for which I am very grateful.