19 February 1999

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research - NIWA
Great Point, Wellington, New Zealand

Sitting here in an office that overlooks Evans Bay, watching the whitecaps dance across the waters driven on by a steady wind, it is hard to believe that all this is real. Granted, the trip was enough of an ordeal to erase any doubt from my mind that I had just spent the past 30 hours traveling nearly 15,000 km across land and sea to reach this place, but when you travel by airplane, the journey rarely eases you gracefully into your destination.

The flight from Auckland south across the North Island towards Wellington was marked by one fairly interesting experience. Soon after leaving Auckland, we passed through a layer of clouds that all but completely masked the ground below. This seemingly unbroken blanket suddenly developed a large opening, through which soared the flanks of what I later learned was the very large active volcano called Mt. Ruapehu.

Just as I gathered my bags and made my way outside the terminal, Steve O'Shea and Clyde Roper pulled up. Clyde jumped out of the car (thankfully he waited until it stopped) and made me feel so incredibly welcome that the tiredness of the journey just melted away.

A quick e-mail to let everyone back home know that I had made it safely and we were off for a tour of the NIWA facility and for my first face to face (or should I say face to tentacle) meeting with the giant squid.


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