Published: March 23rd 2008March 17th 2008
The Shearing Shed
A rabbit is stretched out on the "rack" for shearing.
We left Raglan on Monday morning, and before heading to the Bay of Islands North of Auckland, we took a side trip to Waitomo. This area is renowned for its limestone caves and glow worms. Having seen plenty of glow worms and caves on the South Island, I can’t say that we were all that psyched to see more, but it was more or less on the way.
On the way into town, we happened upon the “Shearing House” where they shear rabbits rather than sheep. How could we resist? The bunnies are angora (long silky hair) rabbits from Rottweiler German. Unlike the dogs, these fuzzy little creatures would make pretty poor guards. The shearing process was for the most part simply amusing. They tie the bunny to a device that resembles a medieval stretching rack to stretch out its legs - apparently to ensure that the lagomorphs are not harmed during the shearing process. While on the “rack” the shearer is able to spin the bunny 360 degrees to access the back and the front. They shear a couple of rabbits a day. I cannot imagine that they make much money. However, the wool produced was exceptional. Astrid picked up several balls of yarn to mail back to Canada.
We eventually bypassed the main glow worm cave - when you have seen one glow worm, you have seen them all. However, we did stop by the Averuna cave which is known for its stalactites. This cave was much older than the caves we had seen before. The formations were fantastic - the result of many tens of thousands of years of dripping water.
Back on the road, I have had to pick up the Internet here and there wherever I can get it. The Internet charges are killing me. While most towns have some form of public internet, the cost is relatively high and there are often data caps. My average download for email (about 5 MB) is often more than the paltry allotment provided with the result that I hit the data limit well before I hit a time limit. Consequently, I am not updating the blog or the pictures as often.