|Ustinov having his cuddles|
After another visit back to John’s to see the pussy cats again, we’ve now picked up Pauline (Jackie’s mum) from Christchurch and are now on our three week outer tour (clockwise) of the South Island.
It was great to see the cats again, who all appear to have missed us. Rosie was in our van within minutes of our arrival and Ustinov was asking to be picked up for cuddles from Jackie, which was really nice. We had a great day and a half with John, including a hot Indian takeaway for Saturday dinner (yummy!) and a session on his roof cleaning his chimney!
|Rosie checking things out|
|Chim chimneny, chim chim cheroo....|
Sunday was the final really hot day in this long spell under the high pressure that’s been sitting over us these past weeks and it's now changing to slightly cooler weather, with some rain this afternoon (Monday), which is a bit of a shame for Pauline, but the hot weather was really too hot, so at least we can do things now.
We arrived in Akaroa last night, the French influenced town of the Banks Penninsular. It was founded in 1840 by a French community, but just before they arrived on their ship the British planted the union flag to claim it for Britain! It hasn’t stopped a very French feel in the town though, with many shops, restaurants and street names in French.
|Preparing dinner in the campsite kitchen|
It's Paulines third day in NZ now and surprisingly she seems almost acclimatized to the 13 hour time difference between here and the UK, so today we booked a cruise out on the harbour and into the Pacific with ‘Akaroa Coast Up Close’, skippered by Tony Muir and his small terrier ‘Fluffy’. He doesn’t normally bring Fluffy as she gets very excited when she sees dolphins, so today was a special treat for her – and she did get very excited!
|Skipper Tony with Fluffy the terrier with Pauline and Jackie|
The day started off quite sunny with a flat calm sea, but the forecast was an incoming front to bring rough seas, wind and rain by pm, so we set off at 10:30 into the warm sunshine, great views and, within a very short period of time loads of the very rare and unique to South Island, Hectors Dolphins, who were in the mood to play! I got so many shots of them leaping about and swimming with the boat I had great difficulty in selecting the few to include here, but it made a great trip.
We also came across some little blue eyed penguins floating about and a couple of large scavenger birds called Petrel that had very big beaks! Tony said he’d seen some catch and kill blue eyed penguins in the past, but they are only doing what comes naturally.
Out of the harbour and following the Pacific coast for a short while we came across a young seal colony that Tony was able to get the boat very close to and, again I got so many photos of the little seals it was very difficult to select a few to put on this blog entry.
|Tony pointing things out|
|Jackie looking a bit windswept!|
|Into the cave, but the boat was too tall to go right through|
|Baby seals looking very cute!|
It was a great three hours and we get back just before the rain started, but sadly the cloud is now fairly low with intermittent rain, a temperature around 20 deg C and a forecast of thunderstorms and colder temperatures tomorrow. Good job we’re travelling, back to John’s tomorrow, so Pauline can see the cats, then on down the south coast for more stunning scenery. At least the forecast is to get better by Wednesday.