Second time lucky. We went back to Kaikoura, after days of bad weather had stopped boats going out, hoping that conditions were favourable. And sure enough, they were. So we left from the offices in 'Whaleway Street', yep seriously, and were taken to the south harbour. I fought a young child to get off the coach first and get a good spot on the boat. I think I was just a little excited! The chap on the boat explained that it is such a prime location for whale watching in Kaikoura because 500 metres off shore the sea bed plunges from 200 metres to 2 kms (scary when you think about that too much) making it rich in food for the whales and dolphins. Anyway, whatever the reason it was absobloodylutely fantastic.
|Dive, dive, dive!|
|Dusky Dolphins at Kaikoura|
The boat ride back to shore was a bit choppy and several people were sick. I kept my eye on the horizon and, of course I had the best seat at the back of the boat after fighting the small child, so I was ok. We also saw a few Albatross. I thought we'd seen them before but obviously not. They are massive. They swooped around with their gigantic wings just skimming the top of the water. Pretty impressive for such a big bird. Another strange sight were seals just chilling in the sea. They were a fair way out and were literally floating around relaxing on their backs as they bobbed around. A great day and worth every cent.
|Chris, Mike, Mountains and Rocks|
The house was on the edge of the red zone, which is a designated area that was so badly damaged from the big earthquakes of 2010/2011 that the government bought all the land and they're making it into a park. The city itself is a bit of a sad sight. With about a third of the buildings in a state of disrepair, a third completely flattened and the rest still standing. The ongoing repairs of the roads mean so many routes are closed or one way with traffic lights. It is how I imagine London would have been after the blitz. But you can still see snippets of the old city and what must have been beautiful buildings and I am absolutely certain that in ten years time it will be back to its former glory. They are trying to make it more cheerful with lots of art pieces scattered about and a shopping centre that is stacked lorry containers all brightly coloured and the botanical gardens and glasshouse are pretty cool. We also managed to find a proper Greek kebab van, lush!
|Quake damaged cathedral|