We have been here for a couple of nights. We are hoping to go whale watching but the weather and especially the wind has so far defeated us. The sound of the sea was so fierce last night it was quite exciting being in the tent. You’ll be pleased to hear that the ropes all held and we were not blown away! We have met some interesting people on the site and have kept ourselves busy waiting by visiting the local wild seal colonies and practising with my new camera. Yes at last I managed to order from duty free (so the international warranty is valid) and they delivered to the camp site – excellent service and a new birthday present for me to play with. It is so nice to be able to take some decent photos again.
The seals were a surprise on the drive in to Kaikoura. There are road warning signs (seals for next 4km) but you just don’t expect to come across so many of them just on the side of the road. We stopped to have a picnic and watch them – amazing. I think we were lucky as the weather was not very good the first day, when we returned the next day in the bright sunshine there were not so many there at all.
I really do love NZ. There are a couple of guys who have just made it across the Tasman sea in kayaks – landing in NZ. If it was the UK there would be the usual media circus and people on the quay to come and see but in a radio interview the local NZ Mayor said there was a bouncy castle and a pig on a spit – brilliant! I think a bouncy castle should be a requirement for all events like this, I certainly would have more fun!
Third time lucky with Whale Watch and our trip actually happened! It was an early start, more early than it should have been as both Josh and I managed to set our alarms for 5 instead of 6 so I got to see the sun rise. The boat had Hamilton engines on it (catamaran) and was very fast. The guides were excellent and funny and about half the boat threw up in the swells. Josh did not feel queasy so we could all relax and enjoy it, I was so excited O kept telling me to stop it. We saw a couple of sperm whales, dusky dolphins (who played with the boat) and some pilot whales with their cubs. The trip was about 3 hours and was fantastic, we all loved it. Seeing a whale with the blow hole and then dive to show the tail – amazing. Kaikoura is unique in that it has a deep underwater canyon (about 1200m) a few miles offshore so whales use it when they migrate and some live there permanently along with giant squid! Was the trip invasive? Yes I would have to say just a bit, at some point the boat “gave chase” to a surfaced whale but they didn’t seem in the least bit aggravated or stressed. As long as there are operators who do respect the whales such as Whale Watch I would recommend it. The dolphins were incredible and seemed to love swimming with the boat and jumping around it. We nearly fell over the front watching them.
The afternoon was the long journey from Kaikoura on the East coast to Greymouth on the west. The sun was beating down and we passed through the most incredible scenery yet. Lewis Pass and Arthur’s Pass are well known here but to try and describe them – impossible. There were mountains, forests, turquoise rivers, fields and backdrops straight out of Lord of the Rings. Every corner you turned there was something new for your jaw to drop just that little bit further – absolutely mind blowing. We arrived in Greymouth to drizzle and a surprisingly empty town………………it looks a bit ghostly actually. There were more people in the holiday camp than the town. We cooked pasta and after serving mine up O managed to throw mine on the floor. Luckily this did not affect the bottle of local beer and 2 American guys who had just come out of the “bush” and were cooking a feast offered a couple of bbq chicken kebabs.