Hi folks, greetings from Kaikoura, on the North East coast of the South Island!
It's a small sea-side town that is pretty big when it comes to whales and dolphins. We've booked ourselves onto the whale-watching trip by boat but not onto the dolphin trip. We will check dolphins, but not this time as we both are just getting over a colds! We don't want to jump into the freezing cold water and get poorly sick again! Hopefully we'll feel more up to it again soon :-) It is, after all, a big planet!
We got here on the STRAY bus, which involved us getting up at stupid-o'clock! The bus left at 8am from our hostel. There was only one other person on the bus as most people jump on at Picton and get off at Christchurch. So when we get to Picton (tomorrow) things should get busy. It's great though as you get 1 -1 treatment!! On the bus was Emma from the Orkneys who is going on the Dolphin trip! We'll ask her later what it was like!
Have fun guys - hang in there in Penzance guys!!
Lots of love from Helen and Gareth x x x
Hey there again! We're back from the whale watching trip! It was great!
We went with 'Whale Watch Kaikoura' (pronounced Ky-kooda) which is based at the old Railway station. It cost $125 each... but then you have to ask yourself 'How many times in my lifetime will I be able to get up close and personal with a whale?'. As the boat headed off the staff told us that it would be a rough crossing, and that if we were sea-sick there were bags in front of us! For gods sake! We were fine until they said that! Then we felt queezy as anything!!! (We weren't sick though ;-)) The boat got out to where the whales were and as we got there a Sperm Whale had just come up for air. It was amazing. I mean this thing had a BIG chassis. We could only see two thirds of it and it was at least 15 metres long. Every now and then it would breath out through its blow-hole. The air and water would blast up every 10 - 30 seconds! "PPPssshhhhh!!!". Then as if in the know, the guide would say 'He's about to dive!! - Cameras ready!!" Then it was a case of click click as the whale rotated it's whole body and the flip came right up in the air, just like *on the movies ;-) The tail is the size of a mini. It was huge. It's so difficult to take photos though, because the camera never does a situation like this justice. Judge for yourselves when we upload them! There was a second whale in the water but they couldn't locate it. Instead we waited the 15 or so minutes until our first whale came up again. This time we got a video of the whale diving. It looks great, although it misses the last slit second of the tail going into the water! The vids are only 15 seconds max you see!
*If you'd like to see the video then it is our pleasure! Please drop us a message and we'll mail it to you. It's a .mov file, which can be played through Quicktime software (from www.apple.com). I'm sure most of you are at work with a fast connection anyway, so abuse the net while you can ;-)
On the way back to shore (whilst focussing on not being sick) we saw albertros (thoughts of Fleetwood Mac) which have a mighty wingspan. When they take off they flap their wings and use their feet to 'run' along the water - almost like a plane taking off! We also saw seals. These fat things go out to sea for up to 3 days eating all they can! Sometimes they go up to 20 miles out! They then go back to shore to sunbathe off their feast!
After that we saw DOLPHINS!
These were dusky dolphins and they loved to show off! We stopped the boat and they caught us up. Next thing you know they were jumping over the bow and flipping left right and centre. Next thing you know they are cracking off backflips and the works! We got photos! It was like something from Seaworld! Dolphins love to freestyle!
Then it was back to shore and back to our hostel "The Adelphi Lodge", which looks like it used to be a hotel. It was like something out of a Cluedo game! The TV room was like a huge study which a great book and video collection. A few people which watching a very wierd film which we managed to catch the last half hour of, called 'The Butterfly Effect' - very odd.
Then the hostel dished out free Vege Soup! Yay. Great stuff. We liked that. We were soo shattered that we were asleep by 8pm!
We hardly ever write or type these days.. and it's getting very very cold, so our spelling is going a bit wonky at times! Sorry about that...!
Lots of love etc.. Helen and Gareth x x x