Marlborough Mid-Week : April 8th 2015
8 MARLBOROUGH MIDWEEK, APRIL 8, 2015 NEWS Harlyn’s campaigning for dolphins The staff at Dolphin Watch&Nature Tours talk about the busy autumn in the Sounds. By SVEN HERSELMAN Easter excitement is everywhere. As the end of March brought an autumn lull to Picton, the beginning of April saw it bounce back to life with loads of boats on the water, full baches and families for miles enjoying the school holidays and Easter break. The wildlife also appears to be feeling this excitement with the bottlenose dolphins being particularly social and interactive. These gorgeous dolphins have changed lives as they gaze into the eyes of a swimmer underwater or a viewer on the boat. There is nothing more magical than that look of mutual respect and understanding. The Hector’s dolphins have also been in fine spirits, but their excitement seems to be more a display of flirtation. A human audience seems tostir a passion in these cheeky dolphins as it becomes quite obvious the dolphins are ‘‘feeling the love’’ and Conservation KidsNew Zealand animal activist Harlyn Mullen, 5, with the Department of Conservation Marlborough Sounds marinemammal brochure he has been handing out to boaties in Picton. Photo: CONSERVATION KIDS would like you to watch. Privacy is obviously not a pri- ority for them. Small groups of little blue penguins on the water continue to delight visitors and the Motuara Island Bird Sanctuary is full of life as the birds feast and prepare themselves for the cooler months ahead. The lovely mix that is the wildlife of the Marlborough Sounds continues and how wonderful that there are so many hol- 1% 1SERIES FINANCING* PA John Deere 1025R • 24.2hp 3 Cyl engine • Two-range hydrostatic transmission • 4WD with diff lock • Power Steering Mid and Rear PTO • 3-PT linkage ADD FRONT END LOADER H120 NSL Loader ADD MOWING OPTIONS John Deere 54” Deck (incl Hydraulic Lift) w/ Manual Connect John Deere 60” Deck (incl Hydraulic Lift) w/ Manual Connect *Conditions apply. Finance available through John Deere Financial Limited to approved commercial applicants only. Offer is based on 20% deposit, GST back and 36 month term. Fees and charges apply. If not amended or withdrawn earlier, the promotion expires on 30/09/15. Ph: 579 1111 Warwick Street, Blenheim www.gordonhandy.co.nz FieldQuip Rear 3PT Linkage Mower (1200m cut) iday visitors here to enjoy it. With extra visitors comes extra boats and a constant need to remind boaties how to interact with wildlife and marine mammals. One local young man in particu- lar has made it his personal mission to be that voice and spread his conservation message. Conservation Kids New Zealand Animal Activist Harlyn Mullen has gathered a crew and has been meeting boaties at the Waikawa launching ramp in Picton. With the new Department of Conservation Marlborough Sounds marine mammal brochures in hand, he approaches boaties confidently with his high viz vest and his important message. From families to hunters, this five-year-old inspiration explains his love of dolphins and why he wants to protect them and then reminds boaties to drive slowly and carefully should they encounter them. With an educational brochure and Harlyn’s heartfelt message in mind, boaties head off into the Sound, more conscious than ever before. This generation is the future for these animals and with kids like Harlyn willing to stand up and take action, there is certainly hope for our beautiful backyard and its inhabitants. For moreon CKNZ kids go to conservationkidsnz.com or for wildlife news, follow the Facebook icon at naturetours.co.nz. SUB-COMPACT UTILITY TRACTORS Superb holiday hike Department of Conservation partnerships ranger Clare Moore talks about two good school holiday outings. There is nowhere quite like the outer Marlborough Sounds; the big skies and wide horizons, wild seas and remoteness all play a part in giving you a sense of adventure when you are there. One special area to visit this school holidays is French Pass and d’Urville Island. French Pass is located almost as far north as you can drive on the mainland. Turn off State Highway 6 at Rai Valley onto Ronga Rd, which becomes Croiselles-French Pass Rd, and continue for 60km (about two hours). The road is winding and scenic, passing through lush farmland on the valley floor, flanked by bush-clad hills. From Ronga Saddle, tantalising glimpses of the sea can be seen through the trees, with the views becoming more expansive the closer you get to French Pass. French Pass itself is a small settlement made up of fishers, farmers and tourists. It has a DOC campsite, backpackers, holiday cottages and a garage which stocks all sorts of essentials. There are also plenty of operators offering sea kayaking, fishing, walks, dolphin and seal swimming, sailing, wildlife tours and plenty of short walks. French Pass in the Marlborough Sounds has some stunning scenery and is well worth the drive out. French Pass is the name of a narrow stretch of water between the mainland and d’Urville Island. The water races through at each change of tide at speeds of up to 15kmh, creating whirlpools, eddies and strong currents. If you have more time, catch the barge (which also takes vehicles) or a water taxi across to the island. From Kapowai Bay you will need a 4WD to explore this beautiful area. Much of the island is privately owned, so please stick to the road and public tracks. There are several scenic DOC campsites, many of which are boat access only, as well as a lodge, holiday homes and the community hall for accommodation. The island is also great for mountain biking. It has a network of gravel roads with little traffic and the climbs reward you with stunning coastal views. Photo: FILE At Moawhitu in Greville Har- bour there are a number of former farm tracks giving access to more remote areas. Distances and remoteness rather than technical tracks are the main challenges and riders need to be completely self sufficient. The island is possum-free, which makes it an important forest habitat, especially for kohekohe forest and mistletoes, both of which are very susceptible to possums. It also contains areas of ultra- mafic rock which are one of the few sources of argillite adzes made by early Maori. These were traded and transported and can be found throughout the North and South Islands and on many beaches in the Sounds. Both French Pass and d’Urville Island have a rich history, interesting biodiversity and many opportunities for exploring, but don’t take my word for it – see for yourself.
April 1st 2015
April 15th 2015