Seals, Baby Lambs & Clay bird shooting...

Trip Start Jan 30, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hello from the land of Milk and Honey!

The Finnoppe's have been very busy with avoiding wintry gales and keeping our feet out of puddles. Time does not fly in the small town of Blenheim, but we can’t help but feel like spring is right around the corner.  On his way home from work the other afternoon, Alex spotted TWO blooming trees, so here’s hoping.

This month we have many things to celebrate.  Alex recently received a promotion at Kathmandu, a true achievement seeing as how he has been in their employment for only three months.  You may all refer to him professionally as Assistant Manager, not to be confused with Assistant to the Manager or Mr. Manager, should any of you wish. For any of you worried that this may derail us from coming back, please rest assured that we still very much are headed back to the US.

At my job, MOA, we have just begun sending containers of MOA Original and Poppet Cider to the USA.  Keep your eyes peeled for the MOA Noir as well.  If any of you guys see it in Washington or California, let me know.  And don’t forget to buy it, of course!  We are also participating in a beer festival next month.  It will be the first beer festival of my short beer drinking life, and I look forward to acting as beer wench for the masses while Alex enjoys himself perusing the stalls.

Another thing we have to celebrate this August is our two year anniversary of married bliss.  Since then we have learned that laughter is certainly the best medicine after all, especially for homesickness and being just a little bit poor.  We have discovered, in this our second year of marriage, that we make good travel buddies, and could not ask for more in life these days.  We want to let everyone know that it takes a village to raise a romance, so thank you for being part of our union.

Another celebration we have been privileged to enjoy here in New Zealand is the birth of hundreds of little baby seals on the shores of Kaikoura.  Kaikoura is just two hours south along the cost from Blenheim, and is well known for the whales and seals that frequent the waters in that region.  Many of you might recall that it is also a splendid place to fish from our last blog entry. 

At my persistence, Alex agreed to take me to see the baby seals.  He knows how happy it makes me to see tons of little baby animals, no matter what species.  And happy I was!  After a few hours of driving, (and a crazy sheep crossing on the middle of the highway, pictures attached. And no joke, not just a sheep or two, but an entire flock. So cool, and so New Zealand) followed by another of being lost, we located a tiny little car park known once only really to the locals.  It was here, as we had been told by Kiwi friends, that you take a small path to a secluded waterfall.  Once you hear the waterfall, you begin to see the little precious adorable, chubby baby seals. It is crazy, these seals migrate from the sea up river to this little secluded pool at the base of the waterfall, we assume for a little R&R away from predators. Using the pool like a day spa, so to speak.

I think we may have stalled on writing all of you about this because words simply cannot describe this incredible phenomenon (which is why we included a video to show you). On the path the seals were crawling up to people, sleeping, and just lounging to their leisure.  They did seem a little fearful of the people, but not enough to keep them from chewing on kids shoes or cutting you off as you walk towards the falls

At the base of this little waterfall there must have been 30 or so fuzzy baby seals playing in a little lagoon.  Many of them were leaping out of the water, chasing each other, and just enjoying free movement without fear of predators.  The sight was spellbinding, glorious, and a little bit hard to believe.  At one point we turned to each other and said something like "This is the coolest thing I have ever seen." And it was very close. There are a few videos attached for you to look at. The longest one is the best, but while filming Alex kept turning the camera vertically to try and capture the waterfall & the pool, which doesn’t really do it justice. And it is very annoying. His camera work overall was poor at best, which we did not realize until after leaving. He is sorry. The shorter videos are just horizontal shots, but they are brief as the camera was literally dying while filming.

After seeing those little seals, we have no doubt that New Zealand is a tiny piece of paradise unspoiled existing in a world where nature is often taken for granted.  It was difficult not to feel protective of the little guys, to worry about them so open to the public eye.  One thing is for sure, the New Zealanders of Kaikoura have been respectful of the little beasties for generations, and have effectively preserved their secret playground for us to enjoy and marvel at.

On another note, Alex went clay bird shooting with some friends a few weeks back, and was left with an enormous bruise on his right arm the next day. Many of the Kiwi’s marveled at him, not his accuracy, but the fact that here, in their company was an American that had never fired a gun before. I know, crazy huh. And he didn’t do too bad, hitting 15 out of 25 on his first go, and with only one shot per bird whereas everyone else got two.

Our last celebratory news is the birthdays we are missing but not forgetting.  We wish all of our family and friends who are having birthday’s this month a wonderful b-day.  This includes my Aunt Jill, my beautiful sister Jennifer, Connor and Scott Betterly, Tay, Jamie (a.k.a. Berger), my cousin Adam John Woodworth, and our new friend Samantha.  We miss you all and send you our Birthday wishes over the ocean. Hope everyone is well and look forward to seeing you all soon.
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Mom on

I loved this whole thing, but the best part (along with the crack about never firing a gun) was hearing my baby daughter's laugh while you guys watched the seals. Miss you! But so glad you are having fun and many adventures. xxoo

matin on

this IS fucking cool. can i say "fuck"?


Mom on

This was wonderful. I loved every picture especially Alex holding the gun and the part about the bruise. See Alex guns really do hurt. The lambs and sheep crossing were great and Joy looks very happy with the seals. I am so happy that you two have had this experience and congrats Alex on the promotion. Mr. Assistant Manager. I love you both

Daniel on

Thats was really cool thanks for the videos. Alex when you get back lets go shoot some clays.

Pat Berry on

Just heard about the earthquake down there...hope you are ok! Let us know...


dave n brad on

hey it has been awhile since i said hello... you blog and email blasts have been great to follow. glad everything has been so great for you both.

keep up the fun and interesting posts

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