Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
89Trip End Jan 16, 2010
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Welcome to the Royal Albatross Centre
The mighty albatross make use of the windy conditions to take a break from their years out at sea to actually land for a few days to roost, and come back to feed their chicks
sometimes living out at sea for five to ten years, yes years without touching the
earth. I was astonished to learn this, and we kept hoping to see an adult but it was too much of a crazy weather day for them to get near land. While wonderfully adept at flying long distances, they are ill equipped for life on land on even a good day. We were able to see a chick on a video monitor at the visitor center, but no mama bird. We headed out further along the cape to see the sea lions and penguins, which did come out to see us in spite of the crazy weather. Sharing the beach with the mighty Hooker's Sealions, commonly known as New Zealand Sealions, was thrilling. So because they have external ear flaps, they are different from their pinniped cousins, the earless or true seals. And, these guys are HUGE!!! Adult males (bulls) can be up to 10 feet in length, and can weigh almost 900 lbs!! They can dive to depths of 700 feet. Not to mention they are highly agile, even on land. So you don't want to piss them off!!! I readily conceded the big guys were King of this Beach!!! They are also really loud, barking to one another, stroking each other and having conversations
Again soaked to the skin, it really didn't matter because I had a great time and saw coastal wildlife up close and personal, which is what I came to see. One day I may be back to go to Kaikoura and see the whales, but right now I was very happy with the fantastic scenery, the great friends I made, and the wildlife I could look in the eye. Quite an amazing place to visit, and I'll remember it for a lifetime.