Things you find in the bush
The distinguished Ellen Portch was using her Christmas break to revisit her turangawaewae when she made a discovery:
I found a letter along with foil and balloons while in the bush at Whangarei Heads. I was up Mt Manaia off the track. Tried looking for the $2 computer thingy that the letter mentioned but had no luck (the plastic bag it was in had snagged on a branch and broken).
With my notorious lack of pooter skills I haven't been able to make the scanned copy of Ellen's letter readable here, but I've reproduced it anyway (a click brings up a new page where it is a little easier on the eyes), and followed it with a transcription:
USAF Mil Spec Test 69-H (09/13/06)
Please read carefully Item No.6
The balloon and its attachments were released in the Bream Bay area in December 2006, in a joint US Airforce/NZ government experiment to determine dispersion paths in the event of a terrorist strike at or near the Marsden Point refinery and generation assets. You can assist your government by posting in this identification sheet with data as requested below.
The additional outcome of this experiment is the data requested by the NZ government on the likely extent of contamination resulting from a nuclear propelled US warship being temporarily berthed at Marsden wharf as part of the worldside War on Terror. This research should in no way be taken to suggest that the US Government has been applying pressure on the Government of New Zealand to fulfil its obligations under the former ANZUS treaty.
Please note the date and position (nearest town/street intersection or preferably an ink pen mark on a photocopy of a driver's map) where this balloon was found and send this together with this form to:
The Minister of Defence,
Some balloons are equipped with an M57 barometric computer which looks like a black NZ two dollar coin. This should also be posted in. Please dispose of the R32 radar foil and the plastic enclosure in an environmentally friendly way. We thank you in the spirit of cooperation between our two countries.
First Officer, USAF Special Projects,
United States of America
I was impressed, loved the bit about nuclear-propelled US warship being temporarily berthed at Marsden wharf! as if people would mail it in, they would be more likely to show it off to all their friends (and get them to put it on their blogs!!!). I did enjoy finding it though, the bush can be a fun place!
Have the folks up north been reading Edgar Allan Poe?