181106-Au Natural

Brent had left by the time I awoke. I chatted with John as the two of us prepared to depart: John to the South Island, me to Matiu / Somes Island, an island located in the center of Wellington Bay.

I have a fanny pack that’s been with me since my first cycle tour in 1989 (one of the only things not lost along the years). On the first day of this trip the zipper failed. With patience, I could get it to close, but often it took multiple tries to zip. John noticed me struggling with it this morning, and fixed it! John describes himself as “unskilled labor,” but I’ve met few people more modest. Every tale included him in some different role in a different country.

I bid John farewell, and left for the ferry. Originally Maori lives on Matiu / Somes Island. Since colonists settled in New Zealand, the island has served as a quarantine station, a leper colony, and an internment camp. Now the Department of Conservation manages the island as a nature preserve. They’ve removed most non-indigenous life, and continue to protect and restore. Given the general lack of predators in New Zealand, the wildlife tends to be slow and vulnerable. Rats have devastated New Zealand wildlife; they’ve eliminated the entire rat population from the island to protect vulnerable species. Upon arrival, everyone went through quarantine to confirm that nothing would impact the environment. I spent much of the day tramping.

Returning to the mainland, I visited the Wellington Museum before returning to the hostel for dinner and packing. My taxi should arrive tomorrow at 4:30 am to begin my 36-hour journey home.


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