Thursday, 7 February 2013

Penguins and seals and boulders oh my!

Today is Wednesday and yes the weather has got better, but yesterday was pants, we woke to rain and no view, which was sad for those who’d only been there a day! We had a chilling afternoon on Monday looking at the view coming and going, we even suffered the indignity, as we sat in a row on mother’s bed watching the news, of passers by calling us cute! We introduced Mother to the “free food” bin which in this case was the top of the fridge; I’d seen her neighbour leaving half a bar of chocolate before leaving the site, so rude to ignore it! 
The black swans of Lake Ellesmere
We’d also been rescued from the nationwide cucumber shortage (Greek salad just isn’t the same without cucumber) by the site manager whispering that a cucumber had been in the fridge for 3 days as I enquired where to buy one, and then when commenting we must put rice on the shopping list, B found an unopened bag on the fridge, so we were well sorted! We don’t normally do this well, but Akaroa is so close to Christchurch I guess it’s a lot of peoples’ last stop before going home!

We got up to rain and leisurely breakfasted before setting off to John’s, for the last time, which is a horrible thought! All cats were in attendance which was great and it was lovely to see John again.  If we are very lucky we may coincide in the North Island briefly, but probably not, so we’ll have to come back! As we headed off south the weather improved all the way. We stopped as we hit the beach to have tea and cake at ‘Caroline Bay’ so we had to take photos to send to my niece!

Oamaru penguin seen from a distance
On arrival at Oamaru we wolfed down dinner before heading to the viewing platform to see yellow eyed penguins coming ashore. We were told there were 10ish, we saw 5 and it was SO windy, we had to leave, satisfied, but jolly cold!

Backpacking Pennyfarthing seen in Omarau
Pottered round Oamaru this morning.  There was meant to be a small flotilla including a battleship coming in to celebrate Waitangi Day (the day the Maori signed a treaty with the British) however due to high seas it was late! So we wondered round the Victorian Market which was a little clichéd but had some lovely things to look at before taking Mother on her first supermarket shop! Oh the excitement! 

A lovely bay on our journey. Does that look like an elephant to you?
Me in front of a Moeraki Boulder
Headed off to the Moeraki boulders (info to be provided by B – may even be in green!) which are really odd however or wherever they came from. We are staying at our first ‘locals’ motorcamp, we are the only campervan here, but Mother is in the backpackers dorm, still we paid for sole occupancy so she has the choice of 4 bunks or a sofa bed!

B leaping boulders
B's 'arty' picture
We’ve been carrying a scrap of newspaper around with us for weeks with a write up about the quality of a fish and chipperie at the top of the road, so we HAD to have fish and chips (which were really good) before heading off to see more penguins (yes, you do get slightly obsessed, but you just don’t get them at home). Don’t follow the sign to the penguins, but to fishing, the man said, and he was right – we had to get out of their way as they waddled up their little tracks, metres above sea level and the beach (how did they get there, and why do they have their nests all that way away?) 

It was very special, and in case they weren’t enough, if you looked over the other side of the point, there was a crèche of half a dozen little baby seals all being ignored by one ‘mummy’. I can’t really say how good it was, but we were honoured to be there alone and pleased to be able to leave as the badly behaved hoards (well 8ish) arrived. Knocked yesterday into a cocked hat!
Follow this Youtube link to see and listen to them:

A baby seal waddling about
Stopped for ice cream, which was a ridiculous size for a single scoop, and how can you get two flavours in a single scoop? Now feel slightly ill! The beginning of the day seems like a very long time ago as we’ve seen and done so much. Roll on tomorrow.

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