Regardless of my shortcomings with the camera in the dark the previous night, I had a great time on the island.
Matiu/Somes is a wonderful spot from which to observe the start of a new day. It had been warm in the house, even with all the windows open wide. This fooled me into wandering out into the dawn inadequately dressed for the unexpectedly sharp Northerly wind. Nevertheless, I trudged up the hill to the trig point and set up my tripod. It is always a surprise to me, just how much light there is for such a long time before the sun actually appears. My first shot looks to the North East where the light was strongest. The lights in the Hutt Valley speak of people getting ready to go to work on Monday morning. The diagonal line up the hill to the right is the road to Wainuiomata, already busy with morning traffic.
Behind me to the South West, the day’s first light is already overpowering the electricity in Wellington City and some of those offices are coming to life for the beginning of the new week.
As the light increased, I became aware of some unusual smoke at the North of the Valley. It seems there was a major fire at the Silverstream landfill site. Of course we didn’t know that until later.
After breakfast, we collectively decided we would leave the island on the 12:20pm ferry which gave us about two hours in which to wander the island before gathering at the house for morning tea together and a collective clean-up to restore everything to the state in which we found it. I chose to wander the outermost circuit track, going clockwise around the island. My first encounter with the wildlife was a red-crowned parakeet or kakariki (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae). These are numerous on the island but are very fast movers and agile in flight, so it was a pleasure to find one sitting still and watching me.
The common fantail or piwakawaka (Rhipidura fuliginosa) is in danger of being overlooked simply because it is so common. I find it endlessly fascinating and almost impossible to catch in flight.
My last shot from the island is from the South end of the island looking towards Mt Kaukau and over the still operational lighthouse. Down below are the rocks on which the gulls seem to roost.
If you can find an excuse to overnight on Matiu/Somes, don’t miss it.