Thanks again for all the messages guys-it's nice to know we haven't been forgotten! The day before yesterday we headed from Nelson to Bleinham with the intention of staying one night and then moving on, but when we got there one of the only hostels we could find that had vacancies was in the middle on a run down industrial estate and looked pretty gross, so we decided to head straight to Kaikoura. It was another really pretty drive, and when we got closer to the town we found a look out point-when we stopped to take a look we realised it was a seal colony!!! There were lots of seals lying on the rocks, all half asleep and looking dead cute-i think i'd quite like to be a seal! When we got closer to town we drove along the beach with the mountains on the other side and found the YHA hostel, which looks directly over the bay and mountains.
This year Kaikoura was hosting the 'race day' which luckily for us was yesterday. It's a bit different from Cheltenham, in that the jockeys don't ride the horses but sit in a kind of carriage thing behind the horse, and it's mostly young kids getting drunk. It was a really warm day and there wasn't a cloud in the sky and a good day out. We put a bet on one horse (Stringy Bark) which lost, but our second bet (of 5 dollars) on Report For Duty romped home and won us 50 dollars! We then put another bet on 'James Morrison' but had no luck, so decided to call it quits for the day.
We'd booked a 'dolphin encounter' for today at half 12, so yesterday we stopped by the office to check it was going ahead, and decided to move it to half 8 as the weather was meant to be nicer, and we didn't particulaly feel like getting up for the half 5 trip (which was just as well because they didn't see anything). Not being too keen on deep water I asked the girl in the office how deep the water was, expecting a reassuring reply along the lines of '5 metres but there's a really big rock that you can stand on in the middle', only to hear 'oh it's so deep they don't even know'...great. We read in the guide book that the land slopes away from the bay until 90m then suddenly drops away to over 800. Awesome.
We got to the office nice and early today and kitted up, then headed out to the middle of the ocean-on the way to the large pod we saw a few dolphins jumping out of the water and a few dorsal fins. Then when the boat slowed down quite a few of them were swimming closer to the boat. We both said it was a bit scary getting into the water for the first time-it was so deep that we couldn't even see the bottom, but it was so amazing when the dolphins by us!!! We were told to make 'dolphin noises' so they'd come over and see what we were, so although we sounded like complete idiots (Sam just started screaming-i don't know what kind of dolphin he was thinking of..) they were really curious and came really close! Sam dived down a few times and some of them followed him, and when i saw some come close and circle i copied and they carried on with their tummy up-which was pretty cool considering they're not trained and completly wild. They were really playful and we saw a few of them jumping out of the water and doing flips-it was amazing!!! We went into the water 3 times to keep up with the pod and then we had to get back on the boat so the second group could have a go in the water, at which point Sam once again turned into David Attenborough so we have lots of nice dolphin photos, and we had a nice hot chocolate and a biscuit.
I think it's safe to say it's the best thing we have done so far!!!