Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Enterprise! (04.02.07-Edited to Include Photos!)

No, the title does not refer to our adventure in general. The Enterprise is, in fact, our own personal spaceship (though I still think it needs a good nickname!). We're on the second night of the spaceship, and it is a lot of fun. No tent to set up, lots of freedom. It's basically a minivan revamped to include a bed, small two-burner propane stove, small cooler and some storage under the mattresses. It is pretty ingenious for people who want to hit the road in cozy quarters without the stress of driving a true campervan! Though it is cozy--we're glad there are two of us, though they can hold four. Yikes!

Tyler, Enterprise Commander Extraordinaire

The Enterprise ready for DVD viewing and Sleep

Our cozy quarters

Another fun thing about the spaceship is it's a little like you've joined a little club--we've had a few other spaceship sightings, and there's always lots of waving and light-flashing, which makes for fun moments on the road.

Yesterday, we went to Waitomo Caves, about 2 1/2 hours south of Auckland. In Maori, Waitomo means "running under water," and the area is full of caves. We took one tour of the Glowworm Caves. Glowworms are strange creatures. They only live in New Zealand and four states of Australia, they live about 11 months, most of the time spent as a pupae, and once they become a full-fledged insect, they live for 1-5 days, mate, die and serve as food for other pupae. But they are fascinating! They glow in order to attract water bugs that wander into the caves. The bugs get attracted by the glowing lights, thinking that it's the way back out, but instead they get trapped in the multitude of mucus strings that the glowworms "spin" to catch their prey. I have to admit, when we entered the Glowworm Grotto, I could see the allure. The glowing lights above our head looked like a little milky way, with the green bioluminescent glow.

The caves themselves were worth a trip in and of themselves as well. We got to see lots of stalagtite and stalagmite formations. One room, called the Pipe Organ, was especially impressive, with a whole column of formations that did look like its namesake.

Unfortunately, to protect the glowworms and the limestone formations, no pictures were allowed, so I'll have to hope my words prove descriptive enough!


Tim said...

Did the glow worms look at all like these pictures? 1, 2, and 3.

Sarah said...

Yup! Very much like 3, and a lot like 2 except for a slightly more greenish-bluish coloring. Pretty cool!

Tim said...

Yeah, #1 looked a bit unrealistic ...
and "staged."

The General said...

#1 is also what all the postcards look like in the gift shop outside the cave.