The morning after the gimp got shitted

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hamner Springs Family Park

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It had been a nice evening chatting with our camp site friends and enjoying a wine or two (that was all that was left in the box after Andrew's earlier rampage), what wasn’t so nice however was waking up the next morning to the realisation that there was sheep shit all over the van as Andrew, (in a drunken stupor) had obviously staggered in to a pile of shit and then got in to the van with his poo encrusted flip flops on.  Green smelly sheep shit all over the van.  So help me god I would have throttled him if I hadn’t been so busy sponging everything down. On the positive side, there wasn’t a breath of wind in the air and the sun was shining so conditions were perfect for our early morning whale watch boat trip.

Armed with our 10% discount vouchers we arrived at Kaikoura Whale Watch and paid for our tickets, the total came to 261 Dollars even with the discount but it was something that we really wanted to do here so we had to bite the bullet and pay it, with Andrew still nursing a severe hangover I sat him down at the cafe and ordered the coffees.  Our time slot was 8.15am and after all the safety briefings and bus ride over to South Bay we boarded the boat and made our way out to the deep waters of Kaikoura Canyon and our chance to see a Sperm Whale in its natural habitat.  Apparently Kaikoura provides such a perfect environment for the whales due to the 'continental shelf effect’ whereby the ocean floor drops suddenly from 90m where the water is warm to in excess of 800m where temperatures dip considerably.  This overall effect leads to there being an abundance of food for these majestic mammals to feed on.  The adolescent males of the species hang around in these waters until they are suitably old enough to be accepted as a mate – usually around 40 years – that’s a lot of waiting around!

Anyway, we spent a couple of hours on the water patiently waiting and exploring different areas as the captain probed the water with his underwater microphone.  We were told that the whales make that much noise under water that they can amazingly stun their prey!  We saw lots of bird life including a few different types of Petrel, Albatross and even the huge Wandering Albatross which has the biggest wing span of any bird.  We were fortunate enough to see it in flight which was absolutely awesome, but still no whale.  Now Whale Watch guarantee that if you don’t see a whale on the trip they will refund 80% of the ticket price so I was getting round to looking forward to another trip out on the boat.  The radio was going crazy as our boat and the boat on the earlier slot were keeping in contact trying to ascertain where the whale activity was – things were getting desperate the company was staring a whole load of refunds in the face.

Then we heard a positive sound from the captain and we were allowed to stay on the outer deck and told to look out for the blowhole, and there it was in the distance, and there he blows.  My heart skipped a beat.  It was phenomenal.  We moved closer and were able to see the top of the head and some of the body but of course what we really wanted to see was the tail.  As I had been entrusted with the camera I was convinced that it was going to go out of focus at the crucial time – but no this time it was fine and I got the tail shot before he disappeared down in to the depths.  The crew quickly announced that that was us out of time and we headed back to the bay.  An experience not to be missed.

We cooked breakfast on the beach back at South Bay in the sunshine and nearly got attacked by a bunch of seagulls eagerly waiting for any scraps.  They got what they wanted in the end by means of a home brand wholemeal crust – they seemed happier than we would have done eating it.  Feeling stuffed we decided to walk off the bacon and eggs and do the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway via another fur seal colony.  We walked along the headland watching the seals frolic in the water below the limestone cliffs and it was a really enjoyable easy walk that took an hour or two and we got to see some old Maori pa sites along the route too.

At about 3pm we found it hard to drag ourselves away from Kaikoura but agreed that if we had time left at the end of our time here we would come back to climb Mount Fyffe.  I found a silver necklace in the ladies public toilets before we left so took it in to the i-site to lost property – maybe there was a ‘Kate’ who was missing it.  The drive to Hanmer Springs took us along part of the Alpine triangle and we arrived in Hanmer to find it surrounded by more snow capped mountains filled with pine trees – very, very Alpine.  We stopped in at the i-site to get the low-down on the springs, the thermal pools that Hanmer is famous for and asked where we could free camp.  The answer was nowhere as there was a by-law in place making it illegal.  That said we asked about the cheapest campsite and were sent in the direction of the Family Parks on the edge of Hanmer.  We got an unpowered site for 20 Dollars and cooked tea in the camp kitchen while we watched Aussie Masterchef, oh the joys of TV. 
Slideshow Report as Spam


Gregg on

Comment entry 1: (I'm adding as I read or i'll forget everything I want to say at the end).
Badu - since when did you become the natural history narator?!?!? LOVING the commentory :)

Gregg on

Comment entry 2:
It is a clear sign of just how hammered BOTH OF YOU were if you could fall asleep with the smell of sheep shit rumerating around the vehicle.......hhmmmmmm
Passing the buck Ms H???? ;)

Gregg on

Comment Entry 3:
'Underwater Microphone' so disappointed!!! And there was me thinking you were turning into the next wildlife expert.......microphones project sound, not detect it........Sonar Detecter is what you meant (of course) or ASDIC :)

jacquesl on

What absolutely beautiful pictures....what memories you will have for years to come and I `m thrilled to be able to share in this trip with you...thanks !

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