I have always hoped to one day be a threat to the security of nation (foreign or otherwise). I had not anticipated the reason however. New Zealand is home to many unique flora and fauna and is keen to see that they are unthreatened by invasive species. If the abundance of endangered, flightless, apparently delicious birds on the islands is anything to go by then they definitely are right to worry.

Item 1: Delicious bird (Kakapo)

As it happens, it is not our devious intentions with regard to their birds that they are concerned with. Instead they are worried we will bring mud with us. Mud containing pests, disease, non-native plant seeds. As cavers we spend a large amount of our time in mud and general soily stuff and our kit is thoroughly saturated. Rope stained permanently brown, oversuits stained permanently brown, maillons stained... well you get the idea.

Item 2: Delicious bird (Kiwi)

Even things such as rucksacks harbour a great deal of deportable material. My rucksack in particular had sands from Italian beaches, gravel from Swiss canyons, soil from Spanish mountains, and a mould carefully grown throughout these travels deeply embedded in it. This is true also of our tents and shoes. If caught carrying some illicit dirty material into the country we could be fined, jailed or forced to inhale the intoxicating musk of the Kakapo as punishment.

Item 3: Delicious bird (Moa) - All eaten

So the only thing to do is clean! We started last week by cleaning our caving gear, from sloughing mud off our srt bags down to scratching the mud out the springs in crolls. I hosed down my rucksack, Jack's dad thoroughly cleaned one of the tents we are borrowing. This week, as part of our general packing, we cleaned communal stuff like krabs, maillons, daren drums.

I don't think I've ever seen a clean daren drum before

There is much more to do but if we save just one kiwi from a bad cold, it will be worth it.

Rhys Tyers