So we've travelled from the wine region via our lovely motorised transportation to Kaikoura and our frist impression is not brilliant to be fair. The place is not very warm and welcoming but the main and only high street is fairly busy for a friday afternoon. We are a little early to check into our what turn out to be our fanastic digs for the next three days so Sarah, Bob, Liz and I decide to check out the Whale Watching and Sarah and I also book some Deep sea fishing for Saturday. We then return and get settled into our digs and then we all trundle down to the whale-weigh station(I laughed and laughed) and spoke to ROB on reception. Rob was really helpful and let us know that the sea was going to be a little on the choppy side. He advised that if anybody was going to have a bad time with this that they sail another day. So Liz and Bob decided not to whale watch as they can do it on the North Island. Fair Play. Sarah and I are then transported via bus to the South Bay and get on board a Cat which has about 50 other passengers. We are given a talk on the different types of whales and other marine life and we were given info on the shelf that runs along the bay that drops to almost 1600 metres that allows the Whales to operate in these waters. The experience is a little like a whale hunt. The skipper of the vessel sails out to where there have been recent sightings of the whales and then listens through an audiophone for the whalesong/noise and then gives an estimate of how far away they are from the boat and the surface. I am tryly sceptical but low and behold we see two Sperm wales and countless albatross and Dusky Dolphins. It really is amazing...Bob and Liz come and pick us up on dry land and we cook and eat some lovely steaks and sink nearly three bottles of red. Not bad for the non-drinkers eh!
Saturday is Fish day. We have to meet Ian our Skipper at 7.30 am. Which is a real bummer as it is a little early after the red wine feast but Bob gives us a lift and we get there on time. We are on board with a dad and lad combo from korea who are very nice. We head out into the sea on our vessel (which is very quick) and we have no safety talk, or lifevests or anything really. Just the way I like it. Ian picks up some craypots as we get out and we have 4 good size crays between the two parties and the rest which are either undersize or have eggs are thrown back in. They are really trying to look after their area as much as possible which is great in my opinion. Anyway we are then taken to a spot and are given our rods. We are given a quick do and dont regaring the hooks and away we go. The views of the mountains from the boat are amazing once the sea mist has burnt off. The kid and Sarah are naturals. Sarah pulls in lots of Sea Perch, A blue cod (which unfortunately is too small and is chucked back) and a Flying Fish. The flying fish is a bit of a mystery and everybody we told said that it was very rare to pull one of them in. I had a real fight with a conga eel which was around 4/5 foot. Ian threw him back as he like his fingers and toes and I also got a Red Cod and some sea perch. Not a bad catch for our tea anyway....there was one downside of the journey however..Sarah was ill on the boat as was Jackie. Sarah only had two episodes whereas Jackie really heaved his guts up pretty much for the whole journey. Back on dry land Sarah is not too good after the morning's fish and decideds to head off back to our digs after we had been doing our well overdue blog entries (sorry dennis, we will try and be more prompt in future). Sarah is feeling much better and picks me up at 6pm and I am hoping to cook our Crayfish for tea. We go to the supermarket for veggies and stuff and I try and drown the Crayfish as per Ian's instructions. (30 mins in freshwater should do it and then give them 7 mins at boiling point and they should be belter) I try and drown them in the sink like an indiot and they nearly jump out and make a real mess so I transfer them to a bucket to die much to everbodys relief I think. Liz then makes the fillets into a lovely Fish pie and we have loads left. After a quick check I realise that nobody's reallly up for more fish on Sunday so I gave a Crayfish and the rest of the fillets away to our V Hungry neighbours who were very appreciative. After tea we have a glass of wine and watch a cheesy america flick and then head in. Kayaking tomorrow.
I wake up early doors and Sarah and I decide to go for a walk on the beach opposite...It's a stunning view of the Sea and the mountains but the beach is more shingle that sandy and we are alerted to the numerous hungry sandflies and get off sharpish. We book for the kayaking and it is due to go around 12.30 so we amuse ourselves in town for a while and go for a drive..This place is really lovely on closer inspection and i feel that our initial analysis was very unfair and quite unkind to a place that has really a lot going for it. Anyway we arrive at 12.15 and Matt and and our other guide arrive and take us to South Bay for the Kayaking. I think it's great that Liz and Bob are up for it as both of them are not really the strongest of swimmers by their own admission and power to them for getting in. We get our gear on (v fetching) and are given a talk on how the Kayaks work. They have some funky steering and are two man jobbies. We get in the sea from the shingle beach and I begin to regret not taking the guy's advice and wearing reef shoes as the shingle is hot and a real pain in the arse when it gets under your flip flops. We get into the water and all is well. Me and Sarah fight over who's stroking first and when but we get a rythm and get going. bob and Liz are away quickly also and are in the second group on a differnt heading. We then push on around the coast and have a close encounter with some Fur seals. The seals are really cool and get in and have a swim not far from us. The further out to sea we get, the choppier it becomes and we start to fear for Bob and Liz as Liz is not good with bumpy seas. Turns out she is Ok but a little tired when we get on Dry land and Bob really enjoys the experience. Sarah is not really enjoying the Kayaking though but tyhe highlight for me was seeing a Fur Seal wrestling with a freshly killed octopus to remove its tenticles..a crazy site. Sarah did not really enjoy the experience also so we head for home a little tired and hungry. I check out thhow the crayfish tastes at lunch and it is really tasty. Bob joins me and it's a little too fishy for his pallete. Liz is tired and has a nap and Sarah and I go for a drive and see some more seals close to the road at the head of the peninsular. One seal is chasing a group of ducklings that are being protected by their dad who has an injured leg. The seal is following on in slow motion and the ducks are slow too, the whole thing is really quite comical but you know that if the seal gets too close that thye ducklings are his tea. We all turn in for the night feeling quite tired. We check out of our lovely, modern apartment on Monday and hit the road via the peninsular road so we can check out the view and the seals one last time. Just two hours to Christchurch, our next destination.