Scheduled to debut early in 2022, the Viking’s first expedition ship launched in December. While many new buildings suffered delays and setbacks, the Viking Octantis was on the delivery path as originally scheduled.
For decades, South Australia has claimed the title of being the only mainland state free of fruit flies – but that valuable status was under serious threat more than a year ago.
There are more than a dozen outbreak zones in the state
Growers face “uncertainty and heartache”
SA has maintained its fruit fly-free status for now
While the vast Adelaide metropolitan area is now caught in a series of outbreaks, it is the spread of the pest in the Riverland region that has farmers nervous.
Extensive eradication efforts are currently underway, and authorities believe the outbreak will eventually be brought under control.
But some manufacturers worry it might be too late.
There are currently 10 outbreaks of Mediterranean fruit fly in metropolitan Adelaide, with the first detection at Blair Athol in December 2019.
Queensland fruit flies were also found in Ridleyton, south of Adelaide, in addition to five distinct areas of the Riverland, where eradication efforts have accelerated in recent weeks.
Biosecurity SA executive director Nathan Rhodes said the pest collective outbreak was one of the largest in the state, and fighting two different species at the same time had been a significant challenge.
“The response is really labor-intensive – it takes a lot of people knocking on people’s doors and going into the backyard,” he said.
“There are about 150,000 households affected in Adelaide alone.
“Likewise, you go to Riverland – we have a lot of residential property in the area, but also commercial property, which grows and tries to move the fruit that needs to be applied care or conditions are put in place to allow them to continue to flourish in operation.”
In Adelaide, the so-called “orange army” of the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) is being put into effect, knocking on doors and inspecting and tending plants in the hardest hit suburbs.
“Thank God. God bless The River pantry because now we have help,” Olwar, 58, his 2 month old grandson said on his lap. “We don’t have to suffer when we don’t have food at home.”
Olwar is from South Sudan and worked for 12 years doing household chores at the UW Hospital and in the City-County Building, but stopped working because of diabetes, chronic back pain and depression.
He has five children, including a daughter who is a nurse at UW Hospital and another who works at Shopbop. When she took care of her grandchildren, she relied on The River to help them all eat healthily. He really values crops, such as green vegetables, tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumbers.
Nadya Nahirniak-Hansen, who lives on Madison’s East Side, is a longtime volunteer at Sungai and often brings her 14-year-old daughter, Kalyna, with her. Since November he’s been a River Runner, making deliveries.
“With the pandemic, I thought this would be a great way for me and my daughter to give back,” he said.
They have not been able to enter the food pantry due to the COVID-19 protocol. One thing her daughter, Nahirniak-Hansen, notices is how excited the children are when they come to the grocery store.
“It was like hitting him deep in his heart,” he said.
Aerial view of the Akaroa waterfront, New Zealand. Photo / 123rf
At the pier at Akaroa Harbor, waves slamming lazily on the pile. Today’s harbor is milky white, the mud from the Rakaia and Rangitata rivers hanging in the water, having completed its long journey from the Southern Alps and across the Canterbury Plains. It turned out that the water turned powder blue from a distance, but from where we sat, it was icy cold and clear.
Just back from the water, diners sit under sunscreen on wicker chairs outside the Bully Hayes bar, and watch yachts and schooners bobbing on the sparkling water just steps away. A gull full of hope hovered overhead, watching the chip situation. From our point of view, cold beer in hand, this could be France on a sunny summer day – if it weren’t for the sound of Fat Freddy’s Drop bringing a breeze. And the fact in New Zealand that we are sitting in the caldera of an ancient, flooded volcano.
Akaroa has so many stories, and so much history, to unravel. Made by volcanoes, inhabited by Māori, founded by the French, claimed by the British.
It’s a French heritage largely traded in the city, but the city’s authenticity, albeit based on fact and history, comes with a hint of flicker – a medieval marketing tool for luring tourists to the city.
It is true that this is Canterbury’s oldest city, and indeed it was founded by about 60 French settlers who arrived in 1840. But the French colonizers never got the right footing (the British quickly declared sovereignty over all of New Zealand to cut France off) and at The 1950s there is only one surviving example of French architecture in Akaroa – the courthouse, which is now part of the Akaroa Museum.
In the 1960s, French suddenly made a comeback – the city’s oldest streets with French origins were renamed “rue” and the modern identity of Akaroa began.
It is a very picturesque place, in a sheltered harbor surrounded by historic buildings and beautifully manicured gardens. It’s fun to walk along the “street”, to eat Toulouse sausages from a local butcher, or see posters for the annual “French festival”. To feel like you are in a place slightly different from other parts of New Zealand.
If you want to understand Akaroa’s history and heritage, a stop at the museum is a must. This is where we learn that Captain Jean-Francois de Surville was sailing these waters at the same time as Cook on the Endeavor, in the late 1760s. (Even though Cook named the area Banks Peninsula, he actually mistook it for an island). The French established themselves in the area, naming the bay of Port Louis-Philippe, creating a whaling and naval station, a doctor’s office, and a built road. For a time, French culture and language dominated.
The descendants of those 60 French settlers remain, and indeed lately, a French accent is heard, a more recent import from Europe. On the burial slopes of French L’Aube Hill, the names Pierre, Libeau and and Fleuri attest to the authenticity of the relationship.
How to see Hector’s famous dolphin
The French may have lured us to the city, but it’s another famous resident we’d love to see today – Hector’s dolphin, one of the smallest dolphins in the world. Their number is disputed, but there is generally an agreement between 9,000 and 15,000 in the world. Here on the Banks Peninsula, about 1500 reside.
We went with Coast Up Close, a small business run by skipper and owner Tony, who has been taking tourists out on Wairiri – a fishing boat built in Invercargill – for 10 years. It’s the perfect day for that, with clear skies and clear water.
In fact dolphins prefer small shelters. Because sharks don’t use echo locations, they prefer to hunt when the water is clear. Dolphins like a little mud for camouflage. Even so, they didn’t keep their distance. As we emerged from the harbor, our first sighting occurred within minutes. In between the sightings, Tony commented on the port, geology and history of Akaroa.
Judging from the water, Akaroa’s natural setting is clearer. We sailed across a volcanic crater, been extinct for about 6 million years, and now inundated by the sea. This massive cone, which forms the backdrop of the Akaroa mountains, has been eroded to only two-thirds its size.
As we sailed further afield, we saw Ōnuku Marae from Ngai Tahu, and a pretty little church nearby, built in 1871, one of the oldest non-denominational churches in New Zealand. Between dolphins, we saw red-billed gulls and white pigeons circling, taking advantage of the hunting of kahawai under the waves, pushing bait fish to the surface.
The benefits of a small boat aren’t just the comments and personal service you get from the captain. It’s also maneuverable, getting you straight to the shoreline and around (and sometimes through) rock. They do things a little differently on this ship. If the dolphins show up, that’s fine, but if they don’t, it’s up to them – captain Tony won’t chase them. He has been known to jump from the side when he wants a little fishing. On our return trip, a free diver approached his kayak to chat, and showed him the catch of the day – quinine and cray. He’s 75 years old. The young backpackers on the ship were flabbergasted.
But dolphins are stars and whenever they appear the deck is filled with oohs and aahs. They easily approached, surfed in the pressure waves that the hulls created beneath the surface, ducked and dived in front of us.
Back ashore at Akaroa
Back on land, like Mad Dogs and Englishmen, we took a walk in the midday sun. The small town is divided in two by a promenade, where locals and visitors stroll among the shops and cafes. But summer days can get very hot here. As in Europe, on hot days the locals retreated inside, or into the beautiful flower-filled gardens lining the streets, the roses falling on the wooden fences.
We walked to the ocean end of the Rue Balguerie, and watched the kids bomb from the pier, then came back and found ourselves at Harbar, a small restaurant and beach bar situated directly on the water, overlooking the French Bay. We settle for cold beer, gin-soaked mussels and fries, and watch the boat toss around. It may be summer on the Riviera, but here, a unique slice of Aotearoa.
Get out at the harbor and see the dolphins
Hectors dolphins are a must. Coast Up Close takes you out on their little kauri launch, allowing you to get up close and personal with the incredible dolphins, seals, sea caves and cliffs of the Banks Peninsula. The 2.5 hour cruise leaves twice a day. coastupclose.co.nz
Go sea kayaking with penguins
Across the Banks Peninsula, you’ll find the Pōhatu Marine Reserve, which is home to the largest Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Day trips on the Pohatu Penguins will pick you up from Akaroa, take you on a scenic tour with stops, across the peninsula, then sends you out into the water to see penguins as well as seals, seabirds and other wildlife. pohatu.co.nz
Walk the Banks Track
This three day and three night hike is a hidden gem. New Zealand’s oldest private walk offers stunning views through farms and forests, charming accommodation – and some well-worth the hike. It’s just enough challenge to make you feel good enough about yourself. Along the way, you’ll find up-close wildlife, unique huts, and the picturesque Hinewai Nature Reserve, an ecological restoration project. It is self-catering, but package carts are included. For an extra $ 50, you can have a chilled cabin that is driven into the cottage, so you don’t have to skimp on wine, cheese, and sausages. bankstrack.co.nz
Visit the Giant’s House
The Giant’s House is a sculpture garden created by artist Josie Martin. This is an eccentric Gaudi-esque mosaic display, including sculptures of animals, people, flowers and chairs. You can walk there from town – walk straight down Rue Balguerie from Beach Rd. thegiantshouse.co.nz
TRAVEL CITY – A small, invasive species discovered years ago in several local rivers will be the focus of a series of free monthly webinars hosted by the non-profit Michigan Trout Unlimited.
A group of environmental experts is scheduled to dissect the impact and plan to tackle the New Zealand mud snail, a tiny mollusk that could ultimately have a major impact on the connected river ecosystems of the Great Lakes. Snails are known to reproduce rapidly to overcrowded levels and eventually dominate macro-invertebrates and other insects in the food chain, experts say.
Researchers are looking for answers about their effects on local ecosystems.
New Zealand mud snails were first discovered in North America in 1987 in the West, and finally in Lake Michigan in 2012; Inland water specialists in recent years identified creatures in the AuSable, Boardman, Manistee, Pere Marquette and Pine rivers in Lower Michigan.
“It’s one of the most widespread globally invasive species that occurs worldwide,” said Jeremy Geist, Great Lakes stream restoration manager at Trout Unlimited. “These are often found in cold water trout streams.”
The Michigan Trout Unlimited webinar series will start February 24 and include monthly sessions through June.
Steve Largent, Boardman River’s program coordinator for the Grand Traverse Conservation District, said he intends to participate in every session. His goal was to learn all he could about invasive species, he said.
“They’re on the Boardman and they’re in trouble. How many problems we really don’t know, “said Largent.
The first speaker in the series is Samantha Tank, an aquatic invasive species specialist for the Great Lakes Commission. He is currently leading the invasive phragmite collaborative for the organization, and says previous research on New Zealand mud snails is part of his master’s degree work.
Tank said his research was focused on studying the dynamics of a snail invasion of Michigan’s cold waterways. The affected river is often used by anglers, he said.
Part of his research involved surveying fishermen to tabulate what they generally know about invasive snails and what they are willing to do about it, he said, “looking at the relationship between awareness and action.”
Tank said he was also developing a detection technique for New Zealand’s mud nails that worked 95 percent or more of the time.
He said it too could easily be taught to citizen scientists to further expand the opportunities for data collection.
“I’ll give you some tips on that,” Tank said.
Lucas Nathan, fisheries biologist and aquatic invasive species program coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is scheduled to speak as part of a series of events in April.
He plans to share an overview of the state’s strategy with the webinar attendees.
“With New Zealand’s mud snails, we don’t have a silver bullet in terms of eradication,” he said.
The most likely way for the invasive slugs – which can live for extended periods out of water – to enter inland river systems is through anglers who tie the creatures to boats, waders or other equipment and unknowingly pass them on, Nathan said.
“Preventing the spread is a very big component,” he said.
Techniques for killing slugs with equipment include the use of chemicals, cleaning with hot water or letting the equipment dry completely in the sun, Nathan said.
Other scheduled speakers in the webinar series include experts from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Earth Science Laboratories, Inc., plus another as yet undetermined.
Registration for the webinar series can be done by sending an email to [email protected].
The series is planned in partnership with the New Zealand Great Lakes Mud Snail Collaboration, which more can be learned from visiting www.nzmscollaborative.org on line.