The Bee’s Knees

As I’m writing this I am sitting on a balcony, in the dark, listening to the ocean splash against Goat Island. Be jealous.

Today was filled with many different interesting events.

After yet another great meal (breakfast) made by our wonderful chef Megan, & no chef is not an exaggeration, we took off for the day.

Due to continuous rain, our first stop was The Honey Centre. The Honey Centre is a local honey shop, shocking surprise due to the name isn’t it?! Anyway, while at the honey shop we went on a tour of the facilities, learned lots about honey bees, the journey of  production from pollen to honey, & got a sample of honey meed & a free jar of organic honey! It was a pretty cool tour, I learned a ton & found myself much more interested in honey bees than ever before. A few students on our trip either raise their own bees or have family members that do, so I think it was a hit all around. & how could anyone complain about a (free) sweet treat?!

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My free jar of honey & a mural painted outside of the shop!

After leaving the honey shop we stopped to explore in the town of Warkworth. Warkworth is larger than Leigh, but not a city by any means. Being the outdoorsy students that we are, we naturally found a river to walk along & did some window shopping. We also found some cute dogs to pet. (: Amongst the boutiques Alayna was adamant that she had seen a chocolate shop, but we all thought she was lost. Good thing we listened to her because there was a chocolate shop, & there were lots of (free) samples.  YUM.

As we walked back to our meeting place we wondered upon this little food trailer. Unfortunately, even though we were all quite hungry, we knew that Megan had another great meal waiting for us back at the lab. No one got anything to eat, but it still smelled delicious & looked pretty cute.

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We got back to the lab ate lunch, which was delicious & headed to the discovery center for a traditional welcoming from the school children of Leigh.

The Welcoming Ceremony consisted of traditional Powhiri songs that the school children sang before us. Traditionally when foreigners landed on the islands of New Zealand the local tribes would offer a fern as a peaceful gesture. If the foreigners picked up the fern it was considered an acceptance of the gesture, & the traditional songs were sang. If they did not accept it meant war. We weren’t actually offered a fern, but you betcha we enjoyed the songs & the kids’ traditional dance moves & attire.

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Many of the kids in this performance were children of people that work at the reserve, including Megan, so it was pretty cool that their community welcomed us in this way.

After the Welcoming Ceremony we had the opportunity to spend some time at a touch pool with the kids. I don’t know who was more excited, them or myself!IMG_2093

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This is a Chiton & was my favorite organism in the touch pool! They date back all the way to the Oridivician (400 million years ago!) Thank you Latish Brengman for the Earth History knowledge!
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Another favorite from the touch pool, a Sea Hare! Other wise known as an Anaspidea for the more scientifically inclined. This marine animal had the most interesting texture. (Imagine a squishy slimy stress ball.)

After the children left it was all school work in the discovery center. Followed by another delicious dinner & bonding with fellow students.

It’s amazing that the 19 of us live in the same city, but many of us didn’t meet until we traveled all the way across the world & were forced to spend time with one another. The world works in weird ways my friends. Incredible, weird ways.

Tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be nice enough to get our snorkel equipment & hop in the water. FINALLY.

New Zealand is the Bee’s Knees.

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