5 January - Arrived in Kaikoura - now back on the East Coast, hoping to do some whale watching.
6 January - Walked along the coastline where we saw lots of fur seals up close on the rocks. You can walk quite close to them and they don't seem to mind - they just open there eyes, have a quick look and then go back to sleep. Saw lots of bird nesting sights. Climbed up the cliff and walked back along the coastal path hoping to get some good views but all of a sudden a sea mist blew in and we couldn't see a thing. Luckily enough this didn't hang about too long and the sun soon came out again.
7 January - Got up early to go whale watching. It had rained during the night for the first time in weeks and we thought this might ruin our trip. However, lots of other people must have thought the same and didn't turn up so the boat was less than half full. It turned out to be a very pleasant morning and the sea was quite calm. The crew track the whales by sonar, so they know when they last dived and when they are likely to surface again for air (they stay down for 40 to 60 minutes). We saw three sperm whales up close for about 10 minutes each time before they dived again. The moment that they dive is lovely as their tails lift high into the air - this is something that we've always wanted to see - another dream come true.
8 January - After our whale watching we had a nice relaxing day by the beach, it was a lovely evening and not a breath of wind. We were camping near the beach and had just settled down for the night, we were in bed for about 10 minutes when all of a sudden the wind started to get up, getting to gale force in about 5 minutes! It was unbelieveable. The tent walls were blowing in and out and I got so scared that I went to sleep in the car! After about an hour and a half the winds started to subside and Pat persuaded me to return to the tent.. We've never experienced anything like it but were told the next day that it does happen a lot in the Kaikoura area!