Sunday, June 27, 2010

A great day out on SAR training

The story this week is similar to one of a year or more ago: a local Search and Rescue training day on 4wd drive preparedness and deployment in typical and unique South Island New Zealand high country braided river bed terrain. A great day out with friends it was too!

This year a new Police 4wd was initiated into the training day. To me it seemed incongruous to see what is a common sight on our roads in this environment, but it's really such a good idea that the need has been recognised and resources committed...albertburn-15.jpg

Local farmer Mike on the left, whose life and livelihood integrates crossing the Makarora river on a daily basis discusses the line with my neighbour PC Mike [in orange] and our group...

After a deep immersion we examine where water got into which parts of the engine area, and where to watch and seal off so the vehicle stays functional [and intact!]

Since farmer Mike, apart from being a fundamental corner stone of our group, has a farm to run we took time to allow him and his dogs to muster some cattle...

They were a docile bunch, and the dogs had to work very hard to get them onto better food uphill...

Lunch just up the hill from the cattle. Head of Lake Wanaka beyond...

Looking down at the Nottingly River. Sadly John Sarginson a legendary run-holder of Mt Albert Station drowned in this creek. You can see a hut near by the large trees in this photo, and towards the right back from the lake by a poplar is where the original Mt Albert Station homestead used to be prior to being abandoned and subsequently burning down [1930 I think]...

Above mentioned hut... so awkward and remote to get to it's sometimes thought to be mythical

We travelled down the lake shore even further to an even more legendary, but seldom visited sheltered cove on Lake Wanaka to the site of an old wharf. By my calculations it's been 25 years since I've been here, and on that occasion with one close friend we were focused on getting to the East Matukitul valley on a 4 day tramping and mountaineering adventure. So this visit was very special to me, and that I had time to absorb this amazing spot and it's history. Sure you could get here by boat, but few do as there are no launching areas nearby despite the Haast/Wanaka highway just being across the lake. To have driven here by 4wd was rather unique as well...



The training continued though and we tested a new winch...


Mike poses by his Cruiser...

We head carefully home driving with the current rather than against it. These lighter vehicles tend to want to float too, so just like on foot, it's critical to go with the flow...

I made this shot out of the Land Cruiser's window! The Makarora is one big river...

Mountains and shadows [the upper fuzzy profile of ridges is the shadow caused by the setting sun highlighting the mountains behind the "real" looking ones, and the shadow is in essence projected onto the low cloud we suffered all day]
... and "yes" dear readers, the new camera is wonderful. I can't believe how the technology keeps improving so dramatically. Mind you learning all it's features may take me months!

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Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
It is pretty special to live in places where one can still "drive" to remote places. I always love to see and read about the old homesteads and huts where interesting characters once roamed.
Quite enjoyed chatting to you and expanding the connection a bit. Up here in the Naki, and finally a clear day to see the mountain cloaked in low cloud and snow. At least I can dream while in shirt and tie. Rave on my friend.

June 30, 2010 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger Marg said...

They really are stunning shots there from your camera. I had no idea the landscape around wanaka could be so remote. SAR must be very popular in your area - Im sure I read something in the paper recently about there being a huge waiting list for people to join the team. Marg

July 4, 2010 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

Funny the waiting list thing! You'd think it was tickets to a concert rather than working with train wrecks. Doubly oddly is I think some folk think the glamour would be great, but overlook the necessary hard work training and the need to bond with other team members - become quite well known really.



July 7, 2010 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

Hi Robb

Yes it's good to rave eh! The world needs lots more craziness of the wholesome variety I reckon.

It was great to chat on the phone - we covered a lot of topics. We must do it again soon.



July 7, 2010 at 9:48 PM  

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