We spent the evening wandering amongst the moonlit sand dunes of Masons Bay keeping a keen ear out for the shrill kee wee, kee wee call of New Zealand’s national symbol against the rhythmic pounding of the Tasman. After returning to our secluded DOC (department of conservation) hut and chilling on the veranda for a while we decided to get an early night, making promises to raise each other if the elusive kiwi graced us with an appearance.
With a long days tramping behind me my body was eager for the horizontal escape. Unfortunately for me my sheep counting was rather slow compared to the 20 or so trampers sharing my bunked dorm.
It started with a shrill whistle, like a flautist warming up, raising me from my slumber thinking it was the phantom kiwi, before I located the culprit in the centre of the room. No sooner had I made this discovery than the original flute was joined by its neighbour, the oboe, a deep nasal wheeze. Then came the throaty snort of the trumpet from the back of the dorm. After several moments of confused clashing the conductor took control and the musicians synchronised their breathing to create a symphony of snores, whistle wheeze, snort … whistle wheeze, snort. All was well until the cellist, on the far right, began his accompaniment with great gusto, creating discord amongst the musicians once again. This final addition was just too much for those of us not yet asleep, a little giggle gaining momentum into a crescendo of laughter.
The following morning saw us up early to try and catch a glimpse of the elusive kiwi but that’s another story. The identity of the snorers remains a mystery.