The New Zealand Diaries: of rock pools and crayfish conquests (05/01/15)

DSCN6603I haven’t, in many years, been in a situation which has given rise to an urge (and the time! ) to update my diary not once but twice a day….but here in New Zealand, my mind and heart are constantly bombarded with impressions and emotions which I never want to forget… writing becomes a must.

I have just successfully conquered the Fort Knox that was the crayfish pictured above.  It was delicious and well worth the hard work it took to crack open the many legs of this creature and work out how to extract the meat….I am sure for an experienced crayfish eater this would be a doddle but for me it was not, and bits of crayfish shell went all over the place.  Definitely not a dish I would eat on a date, unless the other party to the encounter knew me very well or loved me very much, or both😀

Prior to my evening feast, I had gone for a drive to the tip of the Kaikoura peninsula and for a walk to see the sea lion colony up there.  What blows me away about New Zealand is that you set out to do one thing or see one sight and are then surprised along the way by dozens of others which you had not expected. Tonight those delights included some incredible bird encounters,  a huge family of sea gulls making more noise than I have ever heard sea gulls make (which is saying something) and the most incredible, delicate and varied rock pools that I have ever seen. They were like mini botanical gardens, each one incredibly beautiful and colourful.  I was also struck by a huge conglomeration of giant sea weed in one particular part of the bay, in its midst a rock which was shaped like a giant alligator.

There were only two sea lions in sight (maybe they had got fed up with tourists going far too close to them and pointing cameras at them) but they were both right little characters. One of them was nestled comfortable on a rock on a huge pile of seaweed and unless you watched it closely you could think it was dead, so motionless was it. The other was a little poser and sat around looking majestic and proud, posing freely for the cameras of gushing tourists (including myself, though I prefer to use my big zoom rather than get so close to an animal in its natural habitat …..out of respect for these creatures but also because sea lions are called “sea LIONS” for a reason.

Tomorrow is my whale watching flight….having called the operator who assured me they were happy to take me on the flight despite my wobbly constitution today, and equipped with the locally praised “Kaikoura crackers” (motion sickness tablets),  I am ready to embark on a new adventure. Depending on when and where I can link up with Lucy, I will either head South on the East coast or West and then South…..on both occasion ending up on Stuart Island on the 13th. Either way, here on the South Island I want to do a lot more freedom camping than I have up to now, which will mean limited or no internet. The diary will not, however, go quiet…though uploads may be a little delayed

Well it is time for an early night. I am a little sleep deprived and a good 8 hours should do the trick. Would that I would know the peace and relaxation of Mr Whiskers below 😀