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 Post subject: The precious is back..
PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 10:40 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:05 am
Posts: 6724
Location: Madrid
Too much time on PR when a heading like this grabs your attention...

Precious box returned to Kiwi ecologist after weeks lost at sea

A marine ecologist who lost a box of important belongings at sea has been pleasantly surprised to get them back.

NIWA ecologist Mike Townsend had been out on the Kaipara Harbour with workmates on April 9 doing monitoring work for Auckland Council, and as he got to shore he realised his waterproof security box was missing.

Inside was insulin medication for his diabetes, as well his wallet, house keys, motel key, and phone.

"It was really my life in that box and it was gone," Mr Townsend says.

"I knew it had been sitting on the bench of the boat and I soon realised it must have gone overboard on our way in."

He and his team headed back out on the water, retracing their steps using GPS but the conditions weren't right.

"The sun was setting, my box was a dull grey and virtually camouflaged in the water. So we had to come back without it."

Mr Townsend went back to Hamilton, and never expected to see the box again as it was "lost in a remote part of the second biggest harbour in the Southern Hemisphere."

Then a week ago, he listened to a voice mail from a man named John Sellers, who had found the case while walking his dogs at a beach near Waiuku.

Mr Townsend was stunned and says it's "phenomenal". The box had spent a month at sea, survived two large storms, including the tail end of a cyclone, and travelled 130km south.

It had travelled past Muriwai and Piha, past the Manukau Harbour entrance before washing up on the west coast of the Awhitu Peninsula between Hamilton's Gap and Cochranes Gap.

"Very few people live in this area it's remote and gets more remote the further south you head," Mr Townsend says.

"The chances of someone even finding something like this are extremely small. Hardly anyone lives between Port Waikato and Raglan so this is pretty phenomenal."

Mr Townsend says his phone still worked, and Mr Sellers was able to use some of the money in his wallet to pay for the box to be couriered back to him. The rest of the money was used to buy Mr Sellers a beer.

"I'm chuffed. I was very lucky that it was picked up by someone like John and lucky it stayed dry."


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