One of my favourite ‘adventures’ is the annual transport of plants out to the Islands of Ipipiri in the Eastern Bay of Islands. This takes place in autumn of each year and for our first expedition of 2018 the weather was perfect.
A group of around 10 volunteers are transported on the DOC barge, Rawhiti, out to the Islands along with hundreds of plants. The job, if you can call working in paradise a job, involves the handling of tray of plants several times. At the plant nursery they are loaded into trailers for transport to the departure point at Dove Bay Marina in the Kerikeri Inlet. At the marina they are transferred from the trailers to the barge. Then the barge, plants and ‘muscle’ are transported to the Islands. This week it was Moturua Island.
A barge sounds a rather pedestrian way of travel but Rawhiti is powered by two very serious outboard motors. The video at the base of the blog will give you an idea of the speed that it travels along at.
Landing on the beach and unloading the barge can be challenging if there is any swell at all. Getting a little damp is part of the fun. From the beach the trays of plants are then carried to their planting location in readiness for the volunteer planters who usually undertake the planting on a Saturday or Sunday.
Each year we are greeted by an increasing population of endangered native birds who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the planting programmes which are part of Project Island Song.