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Kathy Sykes' Diary

Day 11: Earthquakes/Auto Panning System

Photo: Glacier viewWent with Ellen to a GORGEOUS forest … covered in moss … walking on moss, moss hanging from trees, moss growing on plants … like a padded cell … everywhere you look - soft, padded, green, fluffy stuff. It caught the shafts of sunlight in bundles and tangles of luminous brilliant green. Just fantastic!

We had to find the biggest tree … Ellen said this area had been trashed by an earthquake - and this strand of trees were first to grow on the devastated land. So if we find their age - we find when a big earthquake happened. I don't know how she knows this was the last earthquake though. Must ask.

So - we found biggest tree - and ‘cored' it … ie stuck hollow pipe in (well - pushed it in over 20 mins and lots of effort) and pulled out the beautiful innards. Right from the heart of the tree.

Then we had to pull out the ‘pippy' (as Ellen calls the pipe thing). It's so hard to do! Especially as the tree starts to swell around the pipe as soon as it gets in, almost like the tree is starting to fix itself (just like my body would after an infection or cut or something).

Photo: Kathy and Ellen pulling the tree pipe outSo pipe goes in … tree starts to swell … have to leave pipe in for much longer than usual/desirable … we have to struggle like mad to pull it out. Exhausting! And bizarre to watch - I'm sure! Two sweating, grunting women, stripping off in forest, yanking and turning a pipe in a tree. Surreal!

Back to Whateroa River in afternoon to get waterwheel, cradle and [prep]: River just not flowing very fast! - gold settles at places where river goes SLOWEST. The pump and waterwheel need place where river runs FASTEST. For the place we need the autometer - is just at the place the river is slow. We're trying hard to find place that would be best. The bottom line - wheel not turning fast enough.

Put on some waders to carry around the wheel … waders are just the BEST thing. Get to stomp about in river - waist deep and stay dry. Very exciting! Call me a small child - but gadding about in deep river is such fun.

But we have a very short space of time to do LOADS. It's such a tough challenge. We've worked so hard and done so much - and still seem so, so far off. All getting quite stressed and crabby - in spite of waders ‘fun'.

Bed early - need some sleep! Hard work by the river!

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Photo: Kathy Sykes
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