Day 30 - We love Albatross
Trip Start Dec 15, 2005
86Trip End Apr 02, 2006
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Our intention was to see the royal albatross at the Otago Peninsula Headlands. We drove a very curvy 1 hour trip to the headland but decided on not taking the $28 guided tour. That was a ridiculous price to see birds. As we sat in our RV eating lunch a few albatross flew over us. They were beautiful. They're 9 foot wing span allowed them to glide through the turbulent air without any effort. Ever since I saw a documentary on the royal albatross I've been fascinated with them. They fly all the way from Patagonia from the tip of South America
We continued our journey southward. We spent most of our day driving down the Otago region into the Southland of the South Island. I can't get over how many sheep there are! We entered the Catlins which are a more remote area of the South Island where many of the native vegetation grows. It's amazing, you drive through their national forests full of beautiful tree ferns and native trees and then it's gone, cut and turned into stock grazing fields for as far as the eye can see. We try to imagine what it would be like with all those rolling green pastures becoming lush with native vegetation. It blows my mind how much has been cut down for farming. It's very sad. We found a small holiday park at Surat Bay near Owaka. It was cute but only had one shower for everyone staying there which is ridiculous. There were only one other couple that night staying there and we still had people waiting for us to finish our shower.
The park sits right on a river that opens to the ocean. We took a walk on the beach and stumbled on a newly awoken from his nap- NZ seal. He was huge! At that same time, another male seal swam out of the water. Then it occurred, the famous seal stand off, a true show of masculinity. They would roar at each other and turn their backs to each other then flop down on the beach like a scared dog. It was amazing! Then they would roar and try to bite each other. Obviously, Jim and I stood back about 10 meters watching all of this 'go down'. Fascinating! Further down the beach we ran across another old seal in a dreamlike state. I carefully walked right up to him, being careful not to wake him and snapped a few photos.