Day 184 and we were up and freezing cold by 7. Laura didn’t actually get out of bed till about 740, and we were due to be ready at the fishing office by 745. We all had trousers on, apart from Luke who had his 3 quarters on, though both him and I had are 'Jandals' (flip flops). The deckhand introduced himself as Tommo, and our captain was called Vic. 30 mins after we had set off and the guys were hauling up a cage from 80 metres deep which had caught crayfish from the day before. A short while later and we each were given our rods and we dropped the bait down, to a depth of 100 metres where fish such as Sea Perch, and Blue Cod are usually caught from. Literally within seconds of hitting the bottom Helen had a bite on her line and she started reeling in, and brought up 3 sea perches (each rod had 3 bits of bait on). Coops soon got in on the act and caught some, as did us lads. There were loads of sea birds about, floating on the water around the boat looking for any leftovers. We even saw Albatrosses which were huge and the dominant bird when it came to the scavenging. Helen was the first to catch a Blue Cod which were larger than the Sea Perches. Laura got one next which was good as it would be our dinner. Soon I realised that Burns wasn’t was gone, and was in the toilet. He was there a while, and when he came back he looked a bit green. He is known for his sea sickness, and sure enough, about a minute later as I looked round he was vomiting was what looked like Lime green chunky soup. When he did this in Thailand all the fish came to the surface of the water, but as we were to deep, it just looked awful. He then managed to catch not 1, but 2 Blue Cods, one of which was huge. Luke got lucky, on his last drop managing to get a Blue Cod, which left me as the only one not to catch one! The guys on the boat had a brutal way of killing the fish once they had been unhooked. The Sea Perches they whacked over the head with a block of wood, then they picked it up with a hook and dumped it in a bucket. The Blue Cod, they stabbed through the skull and then twisted it. Pretty gruesome really. Back on dry land we got some lunch and parked the camper up for a lazy afternoon. Come dinner time, the girls cooked some of the fish, while us lads went to buy some chips from the local chippy. In the end, was a very tasty dinner. The battery was flat as a pancake so we had all the lights off by 8ish, watched some things on IPods and then went to bed.
Day 185 and we had a lie in till 10ish, and when we did eventually get up we drove to the dolphin centre so Luke, Laura and Helen could book a trip to swim with the dolphins the following morning. They then paid for their seal swim (Burns and I weren't to bothered about doing either of these) and afterwards we looked for a campsite to plug in at for the night. The Top 10 Holiday Park is where we stayed, though we only said they were 4 of us, so we saved $6 each. It was a 5 star holiday park, swimming pool, spa, movie room, TV and games room etc. Coops, Helen and Luke left about 12ish for their seal swim and me and Burns had lunch in the campsite before heading to town to go on the net and place an accumulator bet on the nights football (we made sure the campsite had SKY TV!). In the afternoon I relaxed by watching X-Men 3 on Luke’s IPod. The others got back about 3ish, and said the seals were good, but apparently they had a large group which wasn't ideal. The campsite had some ducks wandering about, and you guessed it, as soon as Coops saw them she was feeding them bread and biscuits, and even a rice cake with a mug of water. For dinner we were going to have a Fish Pie combining the 3 types of fish we caught yesterday. It took ages for the girls to prepare while Luke gutted the crayfish and managed to get guts and all sorts everywhere. In the end it tasted well good. Burns and I were planning on getting up at midnight for a 6 hour football sesh, so we went to bed for a few hours, before getting up and heading to the TV room. As the clocks were due to go back we got ready and watched our first football of New Zealand. By the time the Liverpool game was on, a weird Homeless man had come into the TV room, lay on the sofa with a paper, and then walked out again. Liverpool won, so by the time I went back to the camper I was in a good mood. Burns had also taken the others to the Dolphin centre at 5am so we both slept in till 9ish before we had to go pick them up.
Day 186 and after picking the others up from the Dolphin centre and listening to all their stories we left Kaikoura and headed south and inland on our long drive back to the West Coast. I slept in the back with our bed still out, as I was so tired from the nights TV watching. In a small town called Amberley, we stopped to get some petrol. While Burns and I were buying Fudge Brownies for $2, Luke came in and informed us he had put the wrong fuel in the camper. Luckily he hadn’t put to much in before he noticed. Unfortunately, cause the tank is so big it wasn’t possible for us or the garage staff to pump the oil out. Instead, we had to call the AA to send a mechanic out to us (on a Sunday) to help us out. We couldn’t start the engine, as the fuel would mix, so we pushed the camper to the edge of the forecourt, with the help of a local or two. To make things a bit worse, we realsied that the fish we had kept in the fridge the previous day, had stank it out and now every time the fridge door was open for more than a second, it reeked of fish. Helen even thought she was going to be sick at one point it was so potent. From the time of the phone call to the AA, to the time the mechanic had done his job, about 4 had passed, and it was getting late. We drove to the next town a few miles away, bought some chicken and then parked up in a field for the night. Dinner was Chicken Curry which was very tasty. For once the camper wasn't freezing cold and we all went to bed pretty early as it had been a long day. Helen even got to sleep before me which am a very rare thing. The other thing was, she then started snoring.
Day 187 and we were all up at a decent hour mainly because it wasn't cold. We were able to walk around barefoot and not freeze. Our Gas tank had finally emptied so we hooked up the spare one and washed up last night’s dinner before driving ff about 10am. After a long and boring 3 hour drive we arrived in Hokikita, which according to the flyers is the 'Hub' of the west coast. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. All there was in the town were Jade shops (the greenstone). Even the girls got bored of these pretty quickly. We parked in a supermarket car park and did a big shop as we had nothing in the fridge (which still stank of fish!). After our big shop we sat in the camper for ages as it was chucking it down with rain and there was nothing to do. We all went on the net briefly and then got back to reading and playing cards. By 7pm it was pitch black and we had to move and find somewhere to camp up for the night. We ended up parking on a grotty bit of grass behind an old building. Dinner was a stir-fry which was very tasty. After dinner we played Billionaire, which had Helen and Laura winning by the end (it is a continuous game until someone gets to 1000. We had been playing for over a month and the scores were only about 500). The girl’s scores went up loads, conveniently as they were scoring the game. It then rained loads as we went to bed.
Day 188 and after a brief trip to the public toilets where we all washed in the sinks, we drove towards The Glaciers of Franz Josef and Fox. We reached Franz Josef which is north of Fox about 1pm where we parked up at the info centre and tried to work out what walks we would do. We all agreed on the full day walk which last about 8 hours, and booked it for Thursday (missing out Wed as the weather was meant to be bad). For lunch Burns and I had Noodles in the camper while the others bought pies. The rain started coming down really heavy as we drove to the Glacier car park and we decided to do a short walk, even though the clouds looked very ominous. The views of the Glacier were pretty awesome, even though it was cloudy and grim. After the walk, we headed back to the info centre and did nothing for the afternoon. Luke napped, Helen Burns and I played cards, and Laura went to town to phone home. An hour after she left, she returned and we had to head out of town to find somewhere to stay overnight. Franz Josef has a ban on Freedom Camping so we had to drive 5 kms out of town and park by a lake where we thought we could stay. I then saw a sign which said 'No overnight camping'. It was raining really hard so we ignored this sign and stayed there overnight. Dinner was spag Bol. The major drama of the night was after dinner, Laura did the unthinkable, and won Billionaire, which meant we had to start a new game, nearly 5 weeks after we had started! We went to bed thinking we might get clamped or fined for parking in a no camping area, but decided we would be leaving first thing to get back into town.