Driving has been a big theme over these last couple of days. We've done quie a few 4 to 6 hour stints on the long and very straight roads, sometimes seeing other cars but not often. Every now and again we get the very twisty mountain roads instead, and the occasional sheep or two.
Kaikoura was our next destination, home of the whales and a few dolphins too. On the way in about 20 km out was a Seal sanctuary, which we stopped at as Liz shrieked of joy at seeing a live one, not dead and stuffed. They were pretty cool but didn't do much, though we did get a small video of two fighting.
After that we got to the town and had a walk around, Sarah had to replace a pair of jeans with 2 new ones. Typical girl. Then we hit the hay early as some fool booked us in for the early whale watching the next day - 7:15 be there!!!!
Anyway we got up and went to the Whale way station. You see what they did there! It was also a train station as well. One Mr G Jones of Bognor will be peed off that they stole his joke though...
On the boat well early after a brief announcement that the ride had a 'Sea-sickness' caution on it, joy. Went out in the roughest water I've ever seen for about 30 minutes and saw nothing other than a passing Albatross laughing at us and our earliness. Whales don't get up until 9:30 damnit!!!! Anyway, just before we got too green the one of two engines broke down so we had to turn back to port. The worst whale watch ever apparently.
Back on dry and still land we were told we could have a full refund or go back out with the next boat at 10:30, a far more sensible time which I had previously suggested, not wanting to sound bitter. But we had to weigh up the odds as it was ROUGH, yes with a capital ROUGH. We chose yes though, for some a mistake, for others not so much.
Just as we were about to get back on the bus at the Whale way station (It's not that funny any more Gareth! Happy retirement though!), a mummy Southern Balin whale and her baby calf were literally 5m off of the shore next to the road. It was impressive to say the least, what wasn't impressive was the fact that the bus left, rather than letting us watch the whales which were just there, frickin idiots it's your job to let people watch whales not take them from them!
Anyhoo, rant over, back on the boat and more rough sea. This time was not so fortunate for the travellers, as it was even rougher and a few passengers were barfing 10 minutes in. An hour later and we stopped, everyone made a dash for the fresh sea air outside, more barf was had. I was not in the greatest health at that stage and turned a strange shade of green/white, but a sip of Sprite and some fresh air managed to keep breakfast where it was meant to be. Sarah was also struggling but again braved it out. Liz on the other hand made a new friend, one of the cabin crew Jamie, who was kind enough to hand her sick bag after sick bag and some tissue to mop afterwards. I think she described herself as the Chunder Monkey who'd been sitting next to the Chunder King on the journey and had caught his side effects, she had sat next to some German guy who'd started 10 minutes into the journey.
Right after all that, we saw a seal and dolphins - Dusky ones X2, common ones X6. AND whales - sperm variety X5. We were lucky enough to see a pod of sperm whales which are rare as the adult males normally travel alone. There were no females or baby sperms as they need warmer water this time of year, so are in Fiji which is where we should be too. An average sighting is about 1 or 2 so 5 was a bonus. They are big animals, though you only get to see 2/3 of the head which is 20% of their body mass out of the water. They were still big though. We also saw one big tail dive too. But afer a half an hour of this we wanted to go back to land... It was still rough. The whales were awesome though. I hope the pictures come out ok.
We did get back in one very wobbly piece, some more wobbly than others, one girl was still barfing an hour after we got back to the Whale way station (tm) (not Liz!). We needed at least an hour or so to recover as well.
After feeling normal for 20 minutes we decided to head back out to the seal place as we had heard that the baby pups lived in a waterfall just upstream of the seals on the beach. Off we trekked, got there, saw the waterfall, but the damn little critters had peed off for food in the sea with their mums. Damn pups, did they not get the memo we were coming. Nice waterfall though.
Off to Hamner springs now.
Pricey, Sarah and Chundy Monk.