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Mike Bullivant's Diary

Day 16: Waterproof Tent

It's going to be a bit of a rush this morning. While I get on with trying to extract some more creosote from the coal, Mikey L melts some beeswax in a bowl. We didn't manage to get much creosote yesterday for some reason. What's more, we haven't been given much beeswax either. We're surely not going to be able to waterproof all of the cotton fly-sheet with the little we've got. Mike and I have decided to divide the sheet up into separate panels, each coated with a different ‘waterproofing' agent. This way, we'll be able to assess which one works best. By 11 o'clock we've ‘waterproofed' the cotton, but there are great gaps where the material isn't treated at all. If it rains tonight, we're in for an uncomfortable time. There's nothing we can do but go with what we've got.

Mike and Mike in the helicopterThe helicopter arrives bang on noon, and having bade our farewells to the rest of the team, we're off up into the hills. 30 minutes later and we're coming in to land. The landing pad is a small clearing in the middle of nowhere; and when I say small, I mean small - only 4 metres or so wider than the helicopter rotor blades. The clearing has been hacked out of the dense forest by Peter, a bushman hired to look after us for the next 24 hours. It's freezing cold up here. Peter tells us that this part of the mountain only gets an hour of sunshine a day. The ground is frozen solid. These are the kind of conditions I love. We're going to have a great time.

Mike and Mike around camp fireOnce the heliocopter's taken off, we set about building the frame for our tent out of the saplings around us. Within the hour, our overnight shelter's finished, and we've built a fire, onto which we've thrown some granite boulders - we aim to roll these inside the tent when we go to bed. They'll act as storage heaters and will radiate heat for much of the night. We've also been given a bottle of brandy, which comes in very handy. As night closes in, we slide carelessly into our sleeping bags. It's going to be a long night…………but a cosy one at least.

Note about filming this challenge
The tent sequence was filmed on private land (not government land administered by NZ DOC) with the full knowledge and co-operation of the owners. The production team were advised by a member of the Westland District Council and accompanied by an experienced bushman.

The area where the vegetation was cut down is a landing site for helicopters for the owners to access their land (the vegetation is cut back regularly in this area to allow safe landing for helicopters).

The production team worked closely with the Department of Conservation in New Zealand to minimise any impact from filming.

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Photo: Mike Bullivant
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