Well hello there! So this is vick and my current predicament. We are in an information centre that closes in 15 minutes, on an extrememly, and when I say extremely I mean HORRIFICALLY slow computer, oh and there is a guy behind us in the middle of his 5pm prayer to Allah. So we want to be quick about this, but we here you lot have been complaining we aren't updating you enough.
So here goes! Well, after leaving party town of Queenstown the open road was upon us again. We drove to Lake Wanaka, which we had to miss out when we couldn't get through Haast Pass, although saying that, the lake that's worth it is Lake Tekapo. The colours of that lake are unreal. Baby blue eyes? Aquaramine? Something very blue! (Oh and by the way the guy behind us has now started playing a bongo drum so excuse any spelling mistakes because Vick and I want out of here!). That night we found our way through the pitch darkness to a lake (neither of us could pronounce the name of it) between Wanaka and Christchurch. The loos were the scariest place I've ever been and I used the great outdoors for the toilet the rest of that night. In fact, I'll spare the details but most of the campsite loos out here are pretty rough to put it nicely.. so we do air our bottoms and hide behind a bush most of the time anyway!
By the way, I am now writing from the library because the computer was so slow it actually crashed. Thankfully the singing didn't last for too long though! Well the morning after the scary loo lake Vick and I headed north for the long drive to Kaikoura. We were debating whether to stay another night in the middle, but we were keen to see some whales so we filled up Hugo and got on our way! After all, these distances we are driving are not even a percentage of the ones we will be driving in Australia, so we might as well get used to it!!!
Getting to Kaikoura in the dark we had to wiggle our way around the mountain roads next to the sea to find our campsite. Goose Bay Paua Beach camp site seemed pretty dark when we got there...but all we could do was park up on the flattest part of the land we could find and get some shut eye. We knew the sea was close because we could hear the surf, but it wasn't until the morning when we realised just how close we were. I mean, luckily I didn't drive 3 more metres into the darkness at Paua Beach, otherwise Vick and I might have got a tad wet and joined in with the seals dinner time!
Kaikoura is a funny place. Having been in the bright lights of Queenstown anywhere would seem a little bit more run down, but Kaikoura, no offence to it, was a bit of a dump in places. There were many fast food takeaways, and that was about the lot. Actually I lie, Vick and I found a little boutique shop that we spent an age looking at. Apart from the shop owners annoyance we only came out with a few post cards. We were very lucky to get to go out on a whale watching boat that day. The weather was fine and the sea a bit choppy (all the asians were throwing up) but once we got out there the swell wasn't too bad. The guides told us to keep a look out for sperm whales, some 20 metres long with a big square head. Suddenly the boat rocked into commotion and I turned around in time to see a rather large splash about 30 metres from the boat.
Now I'm not afraid of great white sharks. In fact I have even swum with them. Whales on the other hand. PHWOR THOSE ARE LAAAAAARGE CREATURES. You wouldn't find me jumping in the sea at any point with one of those things. Beautiful and gracious as they are, I have never seen anything so big - and we were only seeing 2/3rd's of this mammal! The first sperm whale we encounted was around 20 metres long and it got within 20 metres of the boat. Apparently they have been curious before and come right up to it - I wasn't too sure whether I liked the sound of it. I mean our boat was only about 15 metres long, and the sea underneath us was apparently 1600km deep at it's deepest! The second whale we saw, was, if I'm honest exactly the same as the first (I'm no whale expert to tell them apart) so it could have been the same for all I minded. Oh, Vick just tells me it was the same! Nonetheless the experience was pretty groovy...but you certainly won't find me jumping in the water with a whale anytime soon! Could definately fit me and a few others in it's mouth. According to the guide, you would here a blue whales heart in the water before you actually saw it. Yikes.
On the way back from the whales we stopped by a seal colony. Now for those of you who have smelt seal you'll know what I'm talking about. But boy those cute things are wiffy. Apparently it's not their poop that smells but the oil they secrete out of their skin to keep the water off. They are even pretty good climbers! We saw a few about 10 metres up on a rock, and I did have a chuckle watching them flop up there and their flippers waddling around.
That night we stayed at the holiday park to do our laundrey and have our last shower...it's been over a week and I still haven't showered. Maybe it's not the seals that smell but actually me? It was quite a funny experience that evening because whilst we were in town, Kaikoura's annual American Car Show was on! Every other car in town was an old school Mustang, Chevolet or Courvette. Every other person was also a Harley Davidson leather wearing, bearded and balded man (or women you couldn't really tell them apart). So we shared the campsite with these folk who partied on until the early ours, and woke us up with their teenage boy like BRUM BRUM BRUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMM of their exhausts. Thanks.
Being right next to the sea, and all of these takeaways around us Vick and I were dribbling to the scent of fish and chips. And being proper Englishman it would be a sin not to try out a chippy before we left. After all it would be fresh! We asked at the visitor centre which was the best one, and yes, it truly was one of the best fish and chippies I have ever had. It even beats the Chesham fish and chippy (and that takes a lot of beating!).
Full up from our fish and chips Vick and I made our way onto Picton, the last of our stops in South Island (wa). However on the way we stopped at a right little treat. About 15 minutes north of Kaikoura is a waterfall unknown to many of the passers by that kiwis like to keep a little secret of their own. Just 10 minutes walk off the road up to this waterfall is where the grown up seals leave their pups whilst they go off to hunt. When Vick and I got their there were about 6 little pups splashing and playing about in the water having a ball of a time. We also got unbelievably close to them and were often within a few metres of these playful little animals. Quite the picture.