Day 43 Russell, Bay of Islands
Well I was about to post about the wonderful day we have had and our close encounters with the dolphins but have just switched the TV on in our cottage and hear about the devastation in Christchurch after another earthquake. To think that only a few short weeks ago we were there and had we not decided to swap our trip here around and do the South Island first we would have be either in Christchurch now or certainly very close by; a real case of there but for the grace of God. Ours prayers are for all those affected by this tragedy.
As mentioned before we have actually had a wonderful day. We walked down to the quayside this morning after breakfast and found that this was the day of the local school swimming competition. There were about 5 local schools all sitting on the beach waiting to participate in swimming races and diving competition - no swimming pools for them or the UK's daft ideas of not competing. They were all really enjoying themselves. This afternoon we went on a Dolphin encounter boat trip. The one we chose is one of the smaller boats that get you really close. We found a pod quite quickly and could get flat on the forward deck so that our faces were only about a foot above the water. It was an amazing experience to make eye contact with these marvellous wild creatures while they swim on their sides and then to have them swim forward a bit and get you wet by blowing water out of their blow hole right into your face. The original idea was that we were going to be able to swim with them but they had young calves with them and there are very strict rules that state no swimming if there are young around. We spent a long time trying to find the pod of juveniles that had been around in the morning but sadly they had moved on so we missed out but we still had a fantastic time just sitting on the deck of this jet boat in the sunshine. Had a swim in the pool instead on our return and walked up the hill to look down over Russell and watched the sun go down. We have spent the evening watching events on TV and reassuring family and friends that we are all safe and well.