After finding our free camp in the dark we woke up to the view of snowy mountains and crashing waves. With Porridge in our bellies we headed into Kaikora town to find an excursion to find some whales. Those crashing waves happened to have stopped the boats that day so our only option was a 7 man plane, not a bad second best and it was the same price as the boat! Half an hour later we were on the runway, strapped in, and off.
The little plane, bounced along wind currents giving us amazing views of the Kaikora mountain range and coastline. 20 minutes into our 30 minute flight and just when we thought hope was dwindling, there it was, a sperm whale the size of a bus (actually several large buses). The pilot swooped us down to 500 mtrs taking our stomachs with it. Circling this great big fish bus for 5 minutes was breath-taking. But when it dived, leaving that iconic image of an enormous whale tail hovering above the waves, it was just magnificent.
Leaving Kaikora with smiles on our faces, we stumbled upon a colony of new Zealand fur seals that were so accustomed to human presence, that we got within 3 metres and had ourselves a seal selfie! It was time to head up the coast to the best driftwood fire beach ever. But that's another story.