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Kaikoura - Whale watch in Kaikoura, South Island NZ

Nya Zeeland (Wellington) 2006-02-16

We found it a good idea to go south after the wine tour in Blenheim and go to Kaikoura and test how a Marlborough chardonnay fits to the Kaikoura specialty – crayfish. It’s about 2 hours drive from Renwick/Blenheim and as usual the drive is very scenic, we passed three fords on the way – well, this is Highway Nr 1 in South island so you get a little surprised when there is a stream of water coming over the road! Maybe a good idea for Swedish Roads Administration if they run out of money and can not afford to build bridges.
After two hours we reached the small village Kaikoura (Kai=food, Koura=crayfish) and as we have learnt to use a nice day we went directly to the harbor and checked if they had any Whale Watch seats available and the had one hour later, so off we went.

It was nice weather and not that windy – well out at sea there where relatively big waves. We where warned about the rough sea so we took our seasick pills and went on to the bus. It was a short bus ride to the boat – Paikea - and they had the opportunity to go through the safety procedures! We got a seat and are instructed to look at the depth on the screen and soon we come over the great canyon that makes this area so special and so rich of whales – in a couple of minutes we have 1.500 meter of water under the ship!

They spot the first sperm whale and we look at it for 5 minutes before it goes down to the bottom to eat. It stays under water approx 45 minutes before it returns up to surface again. So to get the perfect tail photo you only get one chance and that is when they whale decides to dive! The third whale we see is named Tiake (yes, the can tell on the tail which individual it is so they have names) and Eva gets a perfect photo of the tail –Yippee!

On our way back we see a lot of albatrosses that are flying or resting on the surface – they are so impressive – and as extra bonus we are accompanied with 500 dolphins that are playing and showing off. In summary - a very nice tour.

We like to give ourselves “bonuses” and just because we had this nice tour we went to a very nice restaurant and Eva ordered the Kaikoura specialty – crayfish, and Anders took the fish of the day (a Maori name of a fish we can not remember – but it was delicious) and to the dishes we ordered a Allan Scott Chardonnay 2004. Not a backpacker dinner – more of an EvAnders dinner at home!!

The rest of the time in Kaikoura we spent around the peninsula watching seals, cormorants/shags and other birds. We looked into the 2006 NZ sheep (Deb, notice the perfect spelling!!!!) special hair cut (see picture) and went to the body pump session in town before we eat the rest of our food at the hostel.

The reason why we had to empty our bags was that we went to Picton the next day and left our wonderful Toyota Corolla after 5.250 kilometer on the South Island to take the ferry over to Wellington on the North Island. We said goodbye to the South Island after more than 5 fantastic weeks – Just Go There!! If you need tips and advice you know that we are more than willing to help you.

Now we have arrived in Wellington, picked up a new car - a green Ford Fiesta – and are treated as royalties at Philip and Hellen Swales house in Upper Hutt.

A lot of kisses and hugs from us to You!!


PS. Deb and Rich is now leaving NZ to go to Australia. We will keep you updated on how they are doing and they will hopefully send us some photos from Australia when they listen to U2 in Adelaide or visit the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. We will also check if Rich goes to any more body pump sessions!!