Published: February 28th 2007February 26th 2007
After a great night's rest, we took of this morning with a stiff wind blowing (the ominous southerly is blowing up from Antarctica) and we are headed for a day of wildlife viewing, lot's of stops for little hikes and the South of the South: 4800 km from the South Pole!!!
We first travelled through the Catlins, which is an area known for it's ridges of native bush forest, beautiful beaches and rugged coastline. There are sheep everywhere!!! (more on that later). We stop at Nugget Point to walk up the lighthouse and watch the seals play in the water and hang out with their seal friends, while we have to hold on to eachother for fear of getting blown over into the crashing waves below .
Our next stop is a beach where a rare group sea-lions are relaxing and digesting their lunch. These sea-lions are quite unique, as there are only a few hundred left on the whole coast. Only the male sea-lions can be found in the Catlins, their female counterparts are watching over their young in Antarctica right now! Pretty amazing to see these huge animals in their natural habitat! But it get's better- At Curio Bay
, the southern most point of the South Island, we have a chance to see dolphins play in the waves, and around 6:30 pm. after waiting in the cold drizzle and wind, we get to see three yellow-eyed penguins march out of the ocean after a day of fishing to return to their nest! What a sight. A real life march of the penguins!!! . The picture is unfortunately not super clear, because my camera's zoom was not quite strong enough, so i had to balance this picture by holding the camera into my binoculars.... well, it was worth a try. We watched them for about an hour, first fight their way up against the strong current and then "walking" on the rocks. What a treat!!!I totally forgot how cold I was.
Yellow Eyed Penguins
a bit fuzzy, but so cute
After our exciting wildlife encounter, we went on towards Invercargill for the night, and i was fortunate to had been invited to join Pam's sister (the older couple i stayed with in Auckland) and her husband and brother for a great dinner. So all in all a fantastic, cold, southern day!
more tomorrow... the internet place is closing, Milford Sound pictures and updates are on the way!
good night! SL