A swell time in Kaikoura
Trip Start Jun 05, 2008
17Trip End Jul 10, 2008
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Turned out, a bit suspiciously, that there was one trip left that day to go out and see the sperm whales, and there was only two seats left. Hmmm. Well, with the sort of enthusiasm that would indicate that we'd never travelled before, we hopped on the tickets and were suddenly heading out into the ocean to see whales. We had a briefing were we learnt that Kaikoura was indeed a unique place
A quick bus ride over to the harbour and we were on the super-duper whale watching boat. The crew knew their stuff, with hydrophones (big microphones to listen for big whales), sonar and other such whale detecting devices. At the harbour we were given a "rough seas" warning, which meant, even though it was calm inshore, the sun was shining and it was otherwise a great day, there was a bit of swell out further. You could see faces turn green instantly (see! I told you it was all in the head!). In fairness, we hit a fair bit of chop out there, swells of well over 4 metres I reckon. Lisa put on a brave face. Then Lisa put on a green face. This was stomach emptying conditions. At least she wasn't alone, somehow I ended up in up-chuck alley. In the row of 6 seats (3 either side of the aisle), I was the only one not rapidly re-examing my lunch.
Meanwhile out on deck we found a spermwhale who was just come up for a breather before he took another 45 minutes (45 minute!!) dive for squid. So we saw him off with a tail wave, and not long after another had surfaced to refill lungs before another dive of ridiculous proportions. Lisa had dragged herself up top to see these beautiful creatures in all their glory, but the whale took one look at her palid, sweating, horror-etched face and I understood why he hurried back to the bottom of the ocean
God love her, the conditions were bad. And once you're seasick, there's no going back, no matter how long your sightseeing trip is, or no matter how spectacular the wildlife is. Lisa did her best to enjoy it between, ehm, episodes. At one point a spermwhale came up right beside us on the boat and practically signed autographs, but the swell was proving too much.
After 4 spermwhale sightings, and numerous Albatross sightings (including several Wandering Albatross sightings, the bird with the largest flight range on the earth and with a 10ft wing span, fact fans) we headed back to shore, slighty slower due to all the sick bags weighing us down.
We checked in to a lovely little sea front motel in Kaikoura and took a walk before the sun set. It was truely beautiful. On the far side of the harbour the sunset was lighting the snow covered mountains pink, while we strolled along the waterfront.
Later we decided to check out the nightlife. There was a backpacker pub-quiz that was half finished so we moved on
The next morning, we popped over to see the local seal colony. They hang around just beside a little road and seem fairly oblivious or uncaring of humans. God knows how they survived the 5 whaling stations (not known for their love of seals) that used to be based in Kaikoura.
And so, it was onwards again. This time to Christchurch and Lisa's birthday. I promised her no driving, no boats and no vomiting for at least her birthday.