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Sunday, 12 August 2012

Day 63 - Tuesday 7th August - Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs

This morning we got up, got all stuff together and put on sunscreen only to open the curtains and discover it was drizzling!!!

We had two exciting adventures planned for today on the sea.

The first was sea kayaking with a tour guide, he took us south to South Bay where we kitted up and refreshed our paddling techniques before entering the sea.

Once in the Pacific Ocean we paddled about all over the bay to see swimming seals, blue-eyed penguins as well as other birdlife. We even saw an angry seal who bared his gnashers at us, a little scary when only one metre away!

Swimming seals

Basking seals

South Bay


After lunch we joined a big group to go whale watching and it was not long until we saw our first whale. It was the rarer blue whale, the largest mammal. It was HUGE!!!

Mountains so close to the sea

Blue whale

Whales come to the surface to re-oxygenate before a deep food dive. When re-oxygenating they blow big plumes of water into the air through their blowholes, then when they are ready they dive, arching their back into the air and plummeting head first leaving their tails flicking out in the air as they go. Absolutely fantastic to see.

We also saw four sperm whales re-oxygenating and diving, which were also huge.

Mountains from the boat

Sperm whale

Sperm whale re-oxygenating

The tail of a sperm whale diving

A huge pod of Dusky dolphins came to play around the boat for a while too. They were really playful, doing flips and somersaults for us, swimming around the boat. It was a great trip!

Dusky dolphins

Dusky dolphins jumping

After the trip we drove onward towards Hanmer Springs, which was a longer drive than we expected through the drizzle and low clouds. Eventually we arrived at our campsite only to get stuck in the mud in the dark!! With a bit of gravel we managed to get free but thought it might be better staying in the tarmacced car park with no electricity than get stuck again, so a cold night it will be.

River en route to Hanmer Springs

Beautiful mountains en route to Hanmer Springs

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