the fiordland

Location: The Fiordland
Baskets Left: 3
leave it to me and my brain the size to screw up what should have been a nice cosy assignment. carry 3 artifact baskets around the country. that was it... just don't open them... what do i go and do?
so now not only is my boss ms. rhonwyn angry as at me, but now i'm being hunted by something (well apparently its been hunting me along, but had no idea how to find me till now!) and worse than that i bombarded myself with magic... or sorry the scientific name for it "mystic gradient radiation" whatever that means?
ms. rhownyn has ordered me to pick up my pace, and not lolly gag anywhere to try and outrun my unknown pursuer.
the problem here (why is there always a problem?) is that i still have stop at milford sound as per ms. rhonwyn's list, and i'll have to back track to leave it...

in fact the fiordland as a whole only has the one way in and out of it via te anau.
rather than sit around and stu over this fact i decided to hit the road.
trying to get to milford as soon as possible, i headed out first thing in the morning. i probably should have taken the time to make sure i was ready for the road...
after only 15 minutes driving i had to make a quick stop... uh nature called me on my "cell" phone... so i hit the little dinosaur room by lake te anau...
than it was straight into the splender of the fiordland wilderness...
entering the southren alps i was greated by the spectacle of the mist and fog still clinging the valley floors before the sun hit them and vapourized them...

i had to take a quick stop and check out the foothill like valleys.

this area reminded me a bit of the crows nesting pass back in alberta.

as cool as it was, i needed to keep moving. back to the road.

after those flatlands i was a little surprised to enter the fiordland forests...

i passed a sign for something called mirror lake, and as i needed to still eat (again i left without doing anything morning like) i figured it'd make for a good breakfast spot.

they had the coolest bench for me to sit on and eat!

the forest around here totally reminded me of a movie... or three actually...

lord of the rings, narnia... and

they filmed part of walking with dinosaur here!!! cool!

realizing this i took a make belief wander through the make belief mesozoic.

i needed to get moving though. so i investigated the mirror lake... see how the sign doesn't work without the mirroring... of the water!?!?!

how weird and cool is that!!!

the water in this lake is like glass, and reflects stuff around it.

don't believe it... cause i didn't for a couple minutes... here's the proof!

back on the move again i had to go though.

as i grew closer to milford i encountered my favourite spot ever!!!

a valley... that if i didn't know was in new zealand could have been THE lost world!!!

it just went on forever...
with some of the thickest forest i've ever seen...

just like the valley in doubtful sound i desperately wanted to explore to see if it WAS the lost world...

yet now i really couldn't... so onward i pushed...

i finally approached the only entry to the milford region. the tunnel.

how cool is that? you have to drive through a mountain to get to milford sound...

it seems every 50 kilometres the scenery changes... i'm not complaining, but just makes even the approach to milford very memorable and rewarding.

though with the snow and ice here in summer (at least summer here in new zealand) this sure isn't a lost paradise for dinosaurs.

still i took a couple minutes to check it out from the car... not because i'm wasting time... rather i got eh another phone call from nature...

there sure are a lot of waterfalls around here...

it reminds me of doubtful sound... just no ocean between the mountains.

you sure can see the glacial carving of this area a lot more than doubtful sound (again the lack of water helps).

as i closed in on milford sound i had to cross a few mountain streams like this one.

i thought the snow and ice high atop the mountains discounted this being a dinosaur friendly area. i change my tune. the forests around here not only look the part...

they've played the part! again these were in walking with dinosaurs! i even recognize the episode they appear in. part 5 spirits of the ice forest was all filmed here.
i kept my eye open for leaellynasaura, even though i know they are actually from austrailia.

after such a packed morning it was hard to believe that there was still more to go. yet i suddenly arrived at my destination. the milford sound port.

hopefully i was going to be able to check this out quick, and get out JUST as quick...

to be continued...


curosity killed the tyrannosaur? (mystical part 1) (museum quest part 8)

i have a bit of an embarrassing... no wrong word... humiliating... mmmm no still too light a word... shameful admission to make...

i screwed up BIG time!!!

Location: Lake Manapouri
Baskets Left: 3...
i can confirm 3 for sure!

so for the past little while i've been on a job for my boss ms. rhonwyn. to be honest i hadn't been taking it too seriously...

i'm supposed to get rid of three old maori flax baskets... artifacts you might say... but in her instructions ms. rhonwyn doesn't say how i'm supposed to do that. instead she uses a bunch of maori words and phrases i have no clue how to read...

okay that's just an excuse. she did tell me to buy some maori books (and even provided me with money to do so) and do some research. instead i brushed that off cause the task seemed so easy, and more to the point. i've been travelling all over the country to get rid of these...

it seemed easy enough. take the baskets to all these places ms. rhonwyn had written down, something would happen. she didn't say what. just that it'd happen.

the whole time i'm supposed to be watching for something chasing me. apart from some noise in the otago musuem's basement the night this whole cross new zealand quest started i've seen NO sign at all of pursuit.

again ms. rhonwyn said as long as i followed the directions, and hit every place on the list i'd be okay...

yeah simple right...

well only one problem... the numero uno rule: don't open the baskets... easy right!

not when you have a brain as small as mine... okay that's enabling kicking in... will power as small as mine. my brain knew better...

so i'd just finished exploring doubtful sound, and no change in the baskets. i was starting to wonder if anything was ever going to happen with them.

as i made my way back to the car at pearl harbour (a very key factor in what happened... i think!) along the shore of lake manapouri i found my curiosity wandering more and more to the baskets...

so i pulled one of them out... you know just to look at it. or so that's what i told myself anyway.

looking at it, the basket didn't seem like too much. i certainly didn't see how i was going to get rid of it without trying...

why was ms. rhonwyn making such a big fuss about these anyway? what harm could come from some dusty old pouch? i mean apart from really well preserved dinosaur eggs no harm can come from fossils... and some of us dinosaurs are pretty scary when you think about it...

i found my free hand wander up to the basket. the only reason, i was going to sneak a peek.

what was the worst that could happen? it's not like ms. rhonwyn would find out...

so it came as a HUGE surprise that the instant i parted the opening of the basket just a smidgen i was bombarded with a really really REALLY bright, and kinda tingly, light.

lights not the right word for it people of the web wide world. it was a sort of essence or almost presence. like a blanket of fog, mixed with static electricity, and an encyclopaedia...

i tried to close the basket, but where it had been soft and flexible a moment ago it was now steel hard. i couldn't shut it even if i wanted too!

the basket turned up to full blast... the odd thing is i could feel whatever was coming out of the basket literally pierce right through me. i'm not being poetic here either. for a few brief moments i could feel EVERY nerve, muscle, tendon, organ, and bone in my body... i had no idea i was so make shiftily put together... that's evolution for you though i guess... totally random, and boy i could feel it for a second!

i could also swear that for a moment i knew a lot more than i normally did... i can't say for sure now, but i do remember bits and pieces... the true art of defeating ones enemy by destroying them in body soul and spirit, the total accumulation of humanities suffering and pain, and the pure dread and horror that encompasses everyone when they exit this realm after death and pass the veil into the next emanation...

yeah a little freaky indeed! just be thankful it doesn't flash up in your sleep like it has been mine!!!

than as abruptly as it started the glow died, and the basket sealed.

my body still tingled all over, and i felt really dizzy. i slowly moved all my limbs and digits. they all felt stingy. like the time i'd stuck my fork into a hair drier (don't ask...).

just as i was calming down, all my various bits and pieces undamaged, a loud noise nearly scarred me out of my skin!

a ship's horn... i wheeled around to behold a most unearthly sight... a fleet of ships... not boats, but ships suddenly floated atop lake manapouri...

i shock my head a couple times thinking i must be day dreaming or hallucinating. my head still was buzzing from... well whatever had just happened.

yet the warships remained. all they did was manoeuvre a little bit. what the duce was going on?!?

it occurred to me at that moment this is what pearl harbour USA must have looked like 60 years ago... what was it doing here though?

before i could think on this any further a loud buzzing sound filled the air. looking around my jaw dropped again. the horizon was filling with a swarm of things... not small insect things... airplanes... WARplanes!!!

as they cleared the mountains across manapouri they cruised along the surface of the lake. heading straight for...

you guessed it... the boats!

next thing i knew deafening bangs and pows blanketed my ears... as guns fired and things exploded all over the lake!

it was just like a movie, and to be honest in hindsight it was one of the coolest things i've ever seen! at the time it was terrifying!!! why is it i'm always wishing things were more like the movies?!?

as the planes and boats tried to kill each other all i wanted to do was get out of there!

quickly the tide of battle favoured the planes, as boat after boat were destroyed... sort of like watching a life size game of battleship... only it's not funny when you sink a battleship unlike on the commercial!!!

i bolted as the closest ship shattered into hundreds of pieces...

the only problem i could hear planes over head. they were following ME!!!

i jumped in the car, and started driving as fast as i could... i didn't even do up my seat belt.

as i sped along suddenly loud noises surrounded the car. i let out a... uh not scream... a er battle cry... yeah that's it! a battle cry when i saw in my rear view the planes swooping down at me unleashing their machine guns at me...

the bullets were ever drawing closer, as the pilots refined their aim... i couldn't get hit... this was a rental car!

it occurred to me with my peanut brain the only reason it was this easy for them was i was going close to their speed. if i wasn't going that fast i'd be a harder target!!!

i hit the brakes...

and was rewarded as the planes buzzed over me.

i resumed pouring on the gas. if i could just stay behind them they couldn't shot at me anymore!

as i drove past the sign for pearl harbour the planes just vanished... POOF! into thin air. as though they hadn't been there at all!

i once again slammed on the breaks... and let out a sigh of relief.

jittery from all that had happened in just the last 5 minutes... that's right just 5! i got out of the car for a quick wind down.

i'd made it 3 pacing laps when suddenly my "cell" phone began to ring...

"TRAUMADOR!!!" bellowed a familiar voice before i'd said anything...

"you stupid stupid dinosaur!!!" ms. rhonwyn's voice was mighty cross. "we're picking up the effects of mystic gradient on nearly every satellite in the southern hemisphere!"

i didn't say anything.

"the most important thing. the one thing i tell you twenty times NOT to do, and you do it anyway!!!" she roared causing me to flinch. "do you have any idea what you've done?!?"

i waited hoping she'd calm down. she didn't. "answer me!"

i timidly answered. "opened a basket."

"you didn't open a basket," her voice was frustrated. "you opened one of the kete o te wananga."

i remained silent.

"traumador did you do any research?" she demanded.

"no," i admitted.

"i'm furious with you," she warned me. "but we don't have time to deal with this right now. we picked up a huge discharge of mystic gradient energy here all the way in australia, and if we picked it up than whatever entered this plain of existence definitely picked up that discharge too, and will be bee lining it right to you."

"what's going on ms. rhonwyn?" i pleaded. "i opened the key o tea wong whats you call it, and suddenly their was a naval war going on on lake manapouri."

"okay," ms. rhonwyn sounded like she was ready to give up on... well on me. "listen and listen carefully. we don't have much time. through this phoneline i'll get contaminated too."

"contaminated?" i fearfully repeated.

"traumador, when i said those 'baskets' contained new zealand's spiritual and mystic fabric i wasn't exaggerating," ms. rhonwyn explained. "by opening one in close proximity, as a a undisciplined medium, you unleashed pure unchanneled mystic gradient radiation on yourself and the surrounding area."

"radiation?" i anxiously repeated again.

"yes traumador," ms. rhonwyn. "due to it's dangerous and unstable nature its not talked about with the public, but you're getting a crash course today assuming you survive it."

i couldn't believe my ears. was i dying?!? "what did i expose myself to?" i whispered in disbelief.

"well you've heard of magic," ms. rhonwyn explained. "despite what you've heard about it, magic is a lot more scientific than you'd think. humanities earlier cultures and societies before harnessing more difficult, but safer and stabler forms of energy tapped into what we now call mystic gradient radiation. magic, but it is a plausible quantifiable substance. just much more random, anarchic, and dangerous than other radiation forms we know."

"the material world as you and me know it is simple an interplay of radiation forms," ms. rhonwyn continued. "well the radiations modern scientists work with, and society today concerns itself with are all native to our 4 dimensional reality. however modern string theory has begun to unfold far more dimensions in the universe than these 4. it is from this outer dimensional-scape that mystic radiation bleeds into our reality..."

"it normally lies latent under the surface of our reality, but given the proper conduit... a trained mind of say a shaman or such spiritual individual, or a catylst object such as one of the baskets you carry... this energy is triggered into activating in our reality. as this radiation is part of a different world... it allows aspects of that reality to manifest in our existence. because where they come from is governed by far different rules of nature these manifestations have strange and often intangible effects on our world," ms. rhonwyn tried to inform me.

i didn't follow any of it. not only was it above my limited head, but i was still fixated on her implying i was going to die!

"do i have mystic cancer?" i found myself ask, using the only words i got from her complicated explanation.

"i didn't mean to scare you unjustly traumador," ms. rhonwyn finally had a little sympathy in her voice. "i won't lie to you though. exposure to that much mystic gradient has led to fatality in all non-mediums in the past. not through disease though. rather mystic related incidents."

"like i said truamador, this radiation basically causes 'magical' things to happen. your naval battle was a manifestation of these energies that was probably triggered by your proximity to pearl harbour," she stated. "you've just saturated yourself with a life time's worth of the stuff, and to be honest that will have a long term effect."

i still couldn't speak due to terror...

"traumador you are currently a mystic conduit, and to be honest you probably aren't going to loss it for the rest of your life," she told me flat out.

"what does that mean?" i fearfully asked.

"you will be sensitive to mystic hotspots and manifestations. you will encounter any mystic entities and organisms wandering through the background of our reality. lastly you'll possibly loss your anchoring on this 4 dimensional reality, and become lost in the mystic realm..." her voice grew sad. she tried to sound hopeful. "at the same time you're the first dinosaur that we know of being exposed. maybe it will have a different effect on you."

there was a voice from off the phone. again there was someone on the other side like when she'd first called me and started this whole quest debacle.

"traum i need to wrap this up quick," she said stressed. "you're still a live wire of excess MGR... that's short of mystic gradient radiation. it's seeping through this phone connection. again i can't risk your level of contamination."

"here is exactly what you need to do," ms. rhonwyn was urgent. "the atua... that's maori for god or deity... that is more than likely after the baskets will definitely know where you are now. you have to get out of the fiordland as fast as possible. by the looks of our satellite's readings, your car is as saturated as you... lose it! it'll throw your pursuer off for a while, and let you bleed off some of your excess MGR."

"i don't have time to explain things too you. get some maori research material, and look up exactly what the kete o te wananga are," she ordered. "based on what we've seen you were exposed to the kete tuateau. don't ask it'll make sense once you look it up."

"above all else traum don't stop from now on unless you have too," ms. rhonwyn's voice had a deadly edge. "your body will absorb the mystic energy so that though you'll probably forever be saturated with it, at least you won't ooze it after a day or so. meaning if you keep on the move it'll be harder for mystic entities to track you."

"since i hope you now see not following my directions has huge consequences listen to this carefully. from now on it is vital that you do not allow a single one of those baskets to fall into a mystic entities hands!"

"how do i get rid of them safely than?" i asked earnestly.

"the sites you are travelling to are mystic hotspots of new zealand, due to either their location or the artifacts they contain. when exposed to the right energy level the baskets will dissolve back into the ether of the mystic background..."

the outside voice said something urgently to ms. rhonwyn. "good luck, traumador i have to go now!" the phone hung up...

i still had a million questions... but i guess i'd messed up big enough today i didn't deserve any more anwsers...

okay so basically from what i understood: magic is radiation. this radiation is what makes weird mystic things like ghosts and scary undead things come to life. i'm now a magnet for these same scary things, and will see a lot more of them...

like i said people of the web wide world i screwed up big time!!!

Meanwhile in Invercargill...

man oh man did i screw up... for indeed ms. rhonwyn was not the only one to notice my blunder. from downtown invercargill another interested party in the baskets suddenly began speeding towards the fiordland...

worst of all i couldn't leave the fiordland until i visited the last location on my list in the region. a visit that was going to take me another whole day!!!

to be continued...


doubtful sound (museum quest part 7)

Location: Doubtful Sound
Baskets Left: 3

so after crossing lake manapouri, i'm finally at the inlet to doubtful sound and ready to head out. i still have no idea how checking out a place like this will help me get rid of these ancient baskets ms. rhonwyn wants me to get rid of...

here i am though, getting on board the second boat for today... so i'm definitely not complaining!

i couldn't wait to head out, as everything leading up to here had been very prehistoric looking. i had to curve my enthusiasm a bit as we waited for everyone to board the boat.

which suited me just fine it let me stake out a great spot on the roof. i'm really liking these boats that you can sit and hangout on top of them.

oh man the harbour alone is amazing! the forest around here could so easily plug into the cretaceous unnoticed (well okay minus the flowering plants).

interrupting my admiring the forest the boat departed for the sound. oh man i was excited!

within minutes we entered the main passage of the sound, and man oh man. doubtful sound is HUGE!!!

immediately i was struck by how awe inspiring this place was. the rugged forests on top of majestic mountains carpeted in clouds and fog...

one of the first major landmarks we passed was my favorite (even after seeing the rest of the sound). a really cool glacially carved valley between two mountains...

in my peanut sized imagination (which i've been told is actually quite big for my brain size especially compared to my intelligence) i could picture this as the entrance to the REAL lost world...

we dinosaurs alive today cling to a belief that somewhere on earth still today is a land still populated by our own kind. far fetched i'll admit, but no more silly than some stuff i've heard humans believe in. a person coming back from the dead a good thing!?! sorry but having seen a ghost recently in a graveyard, i can safely say zombies would be ever more terrifying thank you very much!

back to my fav valley though. doesn't it just scream "beyond the veil of mist lies the remnants of the mesozoic..."
if not for the fact i'm sure they would have made a fuss, and that i have a job to do. i probably would have jumped over board and swam there to explore. fortunately i decided ruining all the other visitors trip, getting wet, and ms. rhonwyn getting furious at me for drawing attention to myself wasn't worth it...

just barely though ;p

again the sound is just massive! these photos don't do it justice to be honest... imagine the scale your seeing in this photo around you 360 degrees! MASSIVE!

kinda like my buddy strong man... oh yeah. he hasn't made it to my blog really. what with his being from the pre blog tyrrell days...

as we cruised along, and we were booking it as otherwise you would take days to see the sound, we drew closer to many of the islands that sprinkled the sound in between the mountains that jetted out of the water.

i took one last look at my fav valley as it disappeared from view behind an island.

almost as though the universe sensed my sadness of the valley disappearing it started to rain. forcing me to leave the roof of the boat.

fortunately this was a way bigger boat than the one on lake manapouri. it had three outdoor decks two of which were covered. so i took up a spot on the mid-deck which was pretty awesome in its own right. my only complaint was it only faced the rear of the boat.

was a very patriotic spot too. though i seem to recall the new zealand flag being blue... since when was it red?

to be fair they could have had a salad bar right here, and the view would have still made this place one of the best to be in the whole country (oh year... i guess my human readers like salad. well look at my teeth and you'd see why i'd find such a thing a detractor normal).

again with this in front of me i could easily handle a salad bar behind me. man even 10 of them. probably even a ghost... well so long as it didn't float over to block my view anyway.

again massive. this photo anywhere you turned to look... well okay except front ways there'd be the boat...

the fog adding all the more wonder and mystery!

one of the perks of being on the back of the boat i guess was seeing just how fast we were going. these were some pretty powerful engines. just look at how much spray they were making.

the reason for our hast. the sound is kilometres and kilometres long (i forget exactly how long. the tour guide did say, but i missed it) so if we were to check it out end to end we needed to move.

finally we made it too the end. the weather was a lot worse out here, but still it was really grand to look back and see the vastness we'd just travelled!

then off in the distance i spotted something in the water. well okay 3 somethings to be precise.

at first they looked like ducks. or some sort of "boring sea bird".

as we got closer i was shocked to discover they were fiordland penguins!!! i had NO idea penguins came to the surface with their necks craned up like that. it totally makes them look like a duck at a distance!

at the very mouth of sound into the tasman sea there was a ton of fur seals (just like the ones i lived with at pilot's beach). most of the other visitors were really excited by these. having lived with the ones in dunedin i wasn't blown away. they are still cool don't get me wrong. i'd just rather see something i haven't seen before is all...

speaking of thing people haven't seen before, a young couple from japan were really primed when they came across me on the boat.

it was just a refreshing encounter. these two were ubber excited to meet me, and were thrilled when i posed with them for a photo. what can i say, i'm big in japan... ah man i've been waiting years to say that hahahaha

after all the negative press i'd been getting due to my cousin larry's visit people have been hesitiant to hostile around me lately. these two's reaction takes me back to drumheller where people are excited to see dinosaurs...

well as we'd made it to the end of the sound that meant it was time to head back home. not that, that meant we had to take the direct route mind you. in fact these guys specialize in taking the scenic route.

i endorse their navigation style!

i took a quick wander to the bottom deck on which you could walk the entire length of the boat.

while on the side i spotted a sweet as water fall.

the rain had died to a spit, so i risked wandering onto the bow.

a few minutes later due to the improved weather the captain decided he was going to bring the boat in closer to the shore so we could get a real up close look at the vegetation.

glad i'd staked out a spot. next thing you knew everyone else emerged on the bow fighting for a railing front seat (er stand?).

as we drew closer i got a first hand encounter with a hutukawa aka new zealand x mas tree. the red flowers on it were very pretty. the only bad news is their under threat due to being the favourite food of the introduced pest brushtail possums.

the good weather didn't hold out sadly, and i was forced to retreat back to the mid-deck.

not that it diminished the sound at all...

the captain brought us in for another close look. this time the rocks of the mountains of the sound.

very nice volcanic rocks... as nice as volcanic rocks can be anyway...

we were closing to the end. when i caught sight of my favourite valley again... oh man i was almost done this trip... it'd be so easy to jump over board and swim to it...

of course i stuck through the urge, and was rewarded by one last view of the massiveness that is doubtful sound.

yet i still hadn't gotten rid of a single one of these baskets. i should really figure out what the deal with them is here...

to be continued...