Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Glow Worms

Things are getting a bit tight around here.  We are going on month #2 in temporary housing.  Sharing tiny spaces and tripping over each other and our things is getting tiresome.  Last week we had to down size to yet a smaller apartment, as we continue to wait for the delivery of our goods.  

Most people think NZ was the prime filming location for the movie, The Hobbit because of its beautiful scenery.  In all actuality it is the Hobbit sized homes that are the inspiration...SMALL.  Although we don't need to duck when we enter, we do have Hobbit sized beds, rooms and appliances sized to cook for Bilbo alone.  We decided that if we are going to live in Hobbit like standards we might as well take advantage of the knoll and mix it up a bit.  Thankfully, what NZ lacks in accommodations they more than make up for in the scenery.

Waitomo was our destination for a weekend getaway and is about 2.5 hours south of Auckland.  It is has been featured on BBC's Planet Earth and we went to see these GLOW WORMS of theirs.

Once we arrived in Waitomo were recommended to take this highly rated bush walk which was just down the road from our B&B.  Bush walk REALLY means...

 wandering across bridges to discover what is on the other side

Conducting feats of strength on jungle branches

and bravely entering dark drafty caves where dragons might be lurking or worse yet, giant spiders.

     We were advised that this trek was great during the day but AMAZING at night.  So around 9:30 pm we headed right back to the same path for a completely different experience with torches (aka flashlights), darkness and brilliant flecks of light.

(Unfortunately for both you and me, i did not pack my tripod.  It is still somewhere in a container far away from me AND if one wants really good night pictures one must use a tripod.  If not the pictures are completely blurry or the flash ruins the look of everything.  Sigh!)  

You will just have to trust me on this one...

Imagine standing on a bridge over a bubbling stream.  It is completely black outside.  The only thing you hear are your kids squealing with excitement.  Unfortunately, they are drowning out the soothing sound of the water.  If you manage to find a hole in the canopy of greenery above, you can spot the black inked sky punched through with millions of brilliant white stars.  Turning to either side of this stream just behind the ferns are stone walls spotted with bluish glowing lights set afire by glow worms.  It can only be described as magical!

The following morning we decided to take a proper tour of the insides of the official caves.

To get to these caves they took us through the country side

We passed cows grazing,

 Sheep clambering up limestone

Giant eels lurking in the water below
down winding paths

To where the limestone earth has buckled and formed a cave.

We arrive and don mining hats.

 It was  REALLY dark!!

There in the darkness, just above us the cave was a canopy of glowing blue.

i continued in my quest to get a picture of the little buggers :-(

Photographing the glow worms' delicately beaded strings used to trap their prey is much easier.  

 A bug trying to fly towards the light is quickly snared.

But the REAL magic happens in complete darkness.....

(Photo Courtesy of Spellbound Tours)

(Photo Courtesy of Spellbound Tours)

 All you see is the brilliant glow of blue and hear the drip dropping of the cave.  It was an amazing experience.  i'm sure ONE of the Tolkien movies deserves a scene in a cave like this.

"May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."
-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Rings

**If you want to get down and dirty and learn the science behind these worms click here to see BBC's Planet Earth section on glow worms.  

Be forewarned:  

To quote our tour guide, "These are maggots.  If they didn't glow nobody would care about them.  We call them glow worms because nobody would pay to see maggots with a glowing butt."

1 comment:

Betty said...

Very cool! Thanks for sharing your adventure! Now if you would have the adventure of arriving furniture!