The rugby last night was great (if a little chilly) - the Crusaders beat the Queensland Reds 33-22 so there was a very happy home crowd. It's quite a venue, the Jade Stadium. It has an inflatable crusader knight outside it and even has a replica castle entrance inside the stadium on one corner. During the pre-match warm up there were lots of audience competitions. Then the real razzamatazz began when a black crusader night came riding out of the castle gate and round the stadium to the strains of Carmina Burana. He was then followed by about a dozen red knights. Finally, we had a performance by the cheerleaders before they lined up at the tunnel to welcome the players as they ran out, surrounded by jets of fire. I had a seat about 4 rows up from the front, right by the halfway line so had a pretty good view of the action and the players coming out of the tunnel. Plus, the non-playing team members were sat just to the left of me so I had a good look at them but they were a pretty ugly bunch.
Sunday morning - I left a drizzly, grey Christchurch for Kaikoura which is further up the East Coast (although not on the South Island map unfortunately). We arrived in Kaikoura about 11.30, just in time to get to the Dolphin Encounter office to check in for our swimmng with dolphins trip. Once we were all suited up in thick wetsuits, we were taken to the boats and sailed for about 30mins before the first lot of Dusky Dolphins were spotted. They are amazing and much more playful than the Bottlenose Dolphins I saw up in the Bay of Islands. They leap, spin and somersault all the time. We got to go in the water three times and it was incredible to be snorkelling along and suddenly be surrounded by 3 or 4 zipping right past you. Some people were making all sorts of ridiculous noises to attract them which must have been very amusing for the non-swimming passengers. Our driver told us just to chew on the snorkel and that seemed to work just fine as a way of attracting them. The underwater visibility wasn't great so I'm not sure how my photos will come out but it was good just being able to experience being in the water with them. After our last swim we were able to warm up with hot water hoses down our wetsuits (!), then when we were dried off we got hot chocolate and ginger nuts. I was so tired by the time I got back to the hostel though and it took a long hot shower before I was able to feel half human again.
We had the added excitement last night of someone setting off the fire alarm at midnight. It was some a**-hole who was just 'having a look at it to see how it worked. I didn't think it would be so sensitive' !!! Not sure whether he had to pay the $1000 fine or not but we had to wait for the fire-brigade to check things out before we got back to our beds. Had to happen at some stage I suppose.