Monday, January 25, 2010

Group Stop Blog Entry- Danielle Lennon

The place that I have most enjoyed so far while visiting New Zealand was definitely White Island so I will write about that. Although we had to wake up at 6:15 to go there, it was definitely worth the lost sleep. First we got on a small boat in order to take us over to the island, it took us about an hour and a half to get there and we got to see the beautiful blue ocean and other rocks and islands in the distance. Once we got there we had to travel over in this little tiny boat, which I obviously had to fall into and hurt my leg in typical spastic fashion. Once on the island the view were breathtaking. It took a minute to set in and for me to realize that we were actually on an active volcano!

Once our tour guide took off the first place that was really amazing was the big acid lake. He told us that that was a good place to "get rid of a body," which I obviously put in the back of my mind for later use, just kidding! Then we went to go see this little river like thing that was really salty(Yes, I tasted it), and it was also very hot. He showed us all of the bright yellow sulfur that was left on the island. He then went on to show us the place where the miners used to work which was really cool as well. It was kind of eerie to walk through this place where people used to be and just see rusted beams and other metal parts left behind. The most memorable geological feature would be the bright yellow sulfur that covers the island. The bubbling mud pools and steam vents were also so cool.
Biologically speaking, the island is much more sparse. The only biology I saw was some random plant on the ground that was unidentified and our tour guide told us about the rats that were placed on the island by the miners for them to eat in case they got stuck on the island. We never saw any rats though, while we were visiting. The real biological adventures began once we got back on the boat after we left the island. The first thing we saw was a shark! Being a huge shark enthusiast I thought my day could not possibly get better. The captain told me he thought it was a hammerhead, which is so awesome. Then about 15 minutes later we saw a school of over 30 dolphins! These "common dolphins" were definitely not ordinary. They were jumping and swimming right next to the boat and there were even a few calves! It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen with my own two eyes. White Island was definitely my favorite part of this trip so far, but we definitely have amazing things ahead.

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