Dude, Turn Off Your Butt

Glow worms light up the roof of the cave

(Andrew) Our first major activity in New Zealand was going on the Spellbound Cave tour which includes seeing the spectacular luminous glowworms. The cave that we went to was the place that BBC Planet Earth filmed the segment on glowworms. This place was the best place to go.

We drove to the pickup place from our amazing Hobbit motel, where the rooms all look like the hobbit holes in the J.R.R. Tolkien books. It was rainy and cold so we were all dressed in our wonderful Patagonia down jackets and raincoats.

It doesn’t rain inside the cave, but moisture drips from the limestone ceilings. After we drove to the cave, we donned a hard hat with a light in the front. Even we, the short kids, had to duck our heads to enter the cave. When we got in the cave we turned off all our lights and experienced the complete and utter darkness. It wasn’t actually completely dark because there were a few glowworms in the distance but they were faint. We still couldn’t see our hands 4 inches away from our faces though. We switched our handy-dandy lights back on and kept moving. We crossed a bridge over a little rushing underground stream that was below our feet.

Above us, like cloud of twinkling stars, were the special butt-glowing maggots. Glowworms aren’t their own species of insect; they are actually the maggots of a certain type of fly. Each glowworm makes special strings, which catch insects, like spider webs. They use their lights to attract the bugs to the strings. With the 18-20 threads for each glowworm, there were thousands on the roof of the cave. The mysterious light lit the threads ever so slightly so they looked like they were glowing themselves. We boarded a raft and took a stealthy, silent, slow, short boat ride. Above us lied the carpet of glowworms, twinkling and glimmering. The sound of a rushing waterfall a little ways down the river thundered in our ears. As we left, we stood in the same spot where we were in darkness before. Our night vision had developed so much it wasn’t dark anymore and we could see daylight seeping through from the entrance and more glowworms that we hadn’t noticed before.

I loved the unique experience.

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2 Responses to “Dude, Turn Off Your Butt”

  1. Andrew,

    The glow worms made the night look very beautiful in the picture on your post. It must seemed very interesting in New Zealand. I will see you soon back in MA and I’ll see you soon!

  2. Hey Andrew-

    Great post! That seems like that was so cool! The gloworms looked so pretty in the picture you put up! See you in MA soon!