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Published: January 20th 2018
... and the blog goes on
Sadly looking back on my amazing holiday now - which thankfully doesn't yet seem too far away - but I am hating the fb posts from people out there - it is still sunny and beautiful. But I don't miss it, that is probably because I am planning my next trip out there (next year oops) I am going back. A colleague pointed out to me if a did a type of work (that I hate, but am supposed to do I) can do it from NZ and that other colleagues do - so I could work 2 day pw and be over there, in the their proper summer - do you know I may not hate that type of work anywhere near as much as I thought I did? E you know who you are and I love you even more for helping me see the possibilities - I owe you a pint.
Anyway back to my last visit and onto ....
Akaroa is a suburb of Christchurch (I believe) and is on the coast. It is the only French inspired town on the South Island I
am reliably informed and it is very quaint and clearly French inspired. Giant cruise ships come into the harbour but I get ahead of myself ... there is a long and winding road that takes you between Christchurch and Akaroa and for me it was the first mountain we climbed and descended in the van (the first time I saw the terrifying drops from the passenger side and had vision of dying) Now I want to be clear, the view from the passenger side of a big van is terrifying in these conditions and it looks totally different from the view on the drivers side - something that whilst I was aware of it I never got used to!!! Once I got over the looking down (and I can reliably inform you that jumping off of a bridge does not cure your fear of heights - not one little bit) to looking forward the views were once again amazing - even if the roads were very windy and not really big enough for our van (although to be fair I was only happy with the size of the van when we were on flat, straight, wide roads - I think
I may be a Wuss !!!!)
Swimming with Dolphins
So we stayed in Akaroa for 2 day and Hectors Dolphins were the reason why. Swimming with Dolphins was on Toria's bucket list and lets be fair I really wasn't against the idea. Well except for when they tried to abandon us in the ocean but I'll come back to that.
Hectors Dolphin are unique to NZ and one of the worlds smallest, rarest and most endangered Dolphins - they are very cute partly due to their size and partly due to the fact that they are all curves (a look I personally think should come back in humans !!! and it the females are bigger heavier than the males - maybe I was meant to be a Dolphin?) Anyway these lovely little creatures live in the bay and ocean around Akaroa and you can swim with them. They live in 'pods' of 4 or 5 have bad eye sight (I am concerned that I really was meant to be a Dolphin not a human) and they like to mock, sorry I mean play with, the humans that cannot swim as well as them. So ostensibly we paid
to go on a trip to allow Dolphins to laugh at us.
We (our group of 8) were decked out in very unattractive black wetsuits and wetsuit boots - when then paraded along the jetty - to the amusement of the disembarking cruisers - to our boat. At this point I should probably say that the bad weather had caught up with us and it was torrential rain with big fat grey clouds sliding down the mountain ranges on either side of the harbour. Even so we had a lovely tour of the harbour on our boat - but no dolphins - So we went out to sea - mmmm
Sea was very choppy and I felt more than a little queasy when we stopped as we had seen a pod - they lowered the step and said we could get out in to the water - the water - the water where you could no longer see land - the water with waves that were at least 2 foot high - mmmm. Lucky for us the dolphins did not stay - but only after 2 of the blokes on board, me and Toria had said we would
go in but we weren't totally happy about it (the other 4 refusing to go in at all). I am so glad the dolphins didn't like the look of us !!!!!
So we headed back into the shelter of the harbour - and found a pod that wanted to play with us - oh an how they played, within touching distance (but touching is a) illegal and b) they are way to fast and you just look like a numpty if you tried). and then another pod came and they showed off with each other doing somersaults over each other and I had the most amazing experience - ever. Plus half your fee for doing this goes to the conservation of these uber-cute creatures so that makes the experience even more fun.
And so to the giants house
In Akaroa there is a house. A house up a back street. A house up a very steep hill. A house at the top of the hill. And it is mad. Quiet mad !!! An artist lives in the house and her garden is full of mosaic, sculpture, art, there is an art gallery of her art (really not my sort of thing - but interesting). It is all about the garden and the masses of mosaic structures she has created amongst the juicy and lush plants. It is most definitely a must see even if you wouldn't want them looking in at you from the garden on a stormy night.
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