Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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A group of eleven met at 8.45am at Sandspit, most having stayed overnight locally, being the first day of summer Daylight Saving!   We were met by Ray Lowe from the Motuora Restoration Society, who escorted us to the Water Taxi.  It was a brisk, relatively calm trip, out of Sandspit, through Kawau Bay with views of the island, Snells Beach and Algies Bay settlements, rounding Mullet Point and Scandretts Regional Park.  The islands came into view  with Motuora in the distance.
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We arrived and landed before 9am, by transferring to a rubber dinghy, and stepping ashore into the cool water.  We met other members of the Motuora Restoration Society, ready for the morning’s work.   Helen Lindsay (M.R.Soc)  informed us that there had been a Wetapunga (Giant Weta  from Little Barrier) release on the island,  just this past Friday.  She also explained that the main tree planting for the year was completed, but most of us could do some ‘in-fill’ planting on the ridge above the Home Bay area.  Others would help with Nursery planting by preparing seedlings into their trays ready for next year’s planting, or do track clearing or removal of Thistles from the tracks.  We saw Kevin Hawkins, with a bike loaded with nesting boxes, depart to work at placing them at the petrels nesting site.

Eight of our group were directed up the zig-zag track up towards the ridge, to our planting site.  Dean Williams, the island manager, demonstrated the tree planting procedure of making a square hole, lowering the plant to match the ground level and easing the soil around, returning some grassy clods and leaves to disguise the new planting to avoid the pukekos spotting it and digging it up!  In two to three hours we had planted over 330 natives.  We proceeded up the northerly path, through an area planted over 10 years ago, towering over our heads, with birds singing cheerily!  We removed scotch thistles from the path, then walked far enough to sight the northern decoy gannet colony set up to attract gannets to the island.  Even a sound system is set up to lure the birds!
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We returned to the M.R.S. Shelter area for a welcome Sausage Sizzle lunch and hot drinks, and a rest in the sun.  The weather had been kind to us – a pleasant breeze and warm sunshine, the best weather on the island in weeks!  
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Following lunch, a number of our group decided to walk on the beach southwards, and take a southern track up to the ridge enabling us to reach a high viewing point.  Then walking the ridge track we soon found the track to secluded Still Bay, nestled within a rocky surround, on the east side.  A steep walk down to the shoreline, gave a chance to explore the sheltered, idyllic beach and its rocky shore line.  A return climb back over the island found us back at Home Bay, meeting up with those who had rested on the west side,  ready to catch the 3pm return water taxi to Sandspit.  It had been a  great day enjoyed by all.

THE GROUP: Barbara Langridge (Leader) Rosalind Phillips, Joy Whitehead, Bev Lester, Johanna Ryder, Foster, Hunter Wilson, Mark & Nova Gibson,  Grant & Sharon Dixon.