Tasman Sea--Now with Added Penguins!

Trip Start Mar 06, 2013
Trip End Apr 04, 2013

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Where I stayed
Hat Trick Lodge Backpackers' Hostel Motueka
Read my review - 3/5 stars
What I did

Flag of New Zealand  , Tasman,
Saturday, March 30, 2013

Today we loafed about. No flying. The morning was wasted chatting with Safari companions in Motueka at various coffee shops. We did learn some key NZ expressions. 

MAMILS: Middle Aged Men In Lycra, syn: cyclists

Bogans: Annoying young men with noisy cars and no visible means of support, syn: white trash. Caution, this term may be socially unacceptable

Stubbies: Shorts

Moccasin Brigade: People who venture out while still in a state of undress, slippers, hair curlers, etc.

After this bit of enlightenment, we headed out to check the beach. Luck was with us and we found a fabulous beach not far from town at Kaiteriteri. It was glorious weather and everyone was swimming--we watched as a 4-generation family outing jumped into the deep channel, including the granny who climbed down the rocks. 

The beach area was surrounded by signs warning about the dangerous current of the outgoing tide. Clearly a lot of water drained out of an inlet via this small channel. Kids were playing with kayaks and paddle boards and a couple adults were swimming hard, in place in a natural 'endless pool' formed by the current. We bravely, bravely waded into the water, whining about the cold. Then we were passed by two ladies in their 70s who just walked in and considered it 'refreshing'. Since it was apparently safe for older ladies, we decided we should try the current in the channel. The water was moving at a good clip and it was fun to float down the river of tide water rushing out to sea. Fortunately the shallows made it easily possible to stop before exiting the safety of the swimming beach. Plus, floating down inlets and dragging on the shallows gets rather a lot of sand in your swimsuit which also helps keep you from floating out to sea.

After trying out being driftwood washing out to sea for a couple cycles we started exploring the far shore. Several small children where playing around on the big chunks of marble that interrupted the sand. One little girl asked if we wanted to see the penguins. Penguins? Apparently,  we could be identified us as tourists by a seven year old. At great peril to our tender feet we followed them up and over rocks covered with barnacles and mussels to a cleft rock that formed a horizontal crack which functioned like a small cave. As promised, inside this little cave were actual penguins. Clearly there had been some excesses by these guys earlier as it was now past 2:00 and they were pretty much passed out cold, sleeping between the rocks. Doedo was gratified to experience that the particular, funky, fishy smell of the zoo penguin enclosure was indeed a natural smell for penguins.

After a couple hours we had to return to get cleaned up for the final Safari Dinner and Awards Giving. We reported for the bus at 5:30 and were driven back to Nelson, or almost, for our dinner at a local winery. We hardly recognized our Safari companions. At all previous dinners we had been seeing somewhat grubby, tired people who had been wearing hats all day out in the sun and wind. Here were people with combed hair, fresh showers and clean clothes. Wow.

The winery put on a very nice, and tasty dinner. The final demerits and fines were given and then the prizes. We, of course, had no prizes and should have taken some demerits but that others had actually made more obvious gaffs. The guest speaker was a fellow American who now flies assorted Fokkers in Peter Jackson's collection. He was very amusing and we immediately became friends.

At the end of the evening hasty plans were made for those who would fly in to Wings Over Omaka tomorrow. We would be up at 5:30 am to be driving at 6. It is a 50 mile flight but a 2-hour drive. We were all a bit sad to have this fun adventure winding down but many friendships have been made. We now have friend to meet all around New Zealand and we will happily host our new Kiwi friends should they come our way in America.

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