Kaikoura, NZ 2020

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January 30th 2020
Published: January 30th 2020
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Where are hiding little one.
Where to begin? On November 18, 2016 at 12:01 our tour guide reached for the remote to turn off the TV. His wife had just gone up to bed. Before he could press the button the TV went off and then all hell broke loose. The house began to shiver and shake, furniture were careening in all directions and he headed to the kitchen and crawled under the table. Cabinets were flying off the walls, their contents tossed about. The howling noise was like nothing he had ever heard before or wants to hear again. When the shaking subsided he cautiously made his way to the bedroom where he found he wife beside the bed with a five drawer chest on top of her. He was able to get her out from under and they carefully made there way outside.

What they had survived was a 7.9 earthquake, the largest ever recorded in New Zealand. Twenty six faults were involved, the seabed rose nine feet out of the water, all highways in and out of town were blocked by rockslides, and the South Island moved northward towards the North Island.

Today, the township of Kaikoura is still recovering. As we drove north toward the fur seal colony, we were delayed be road construction more then once. There are now 1,000 recovery workers, down from 3,000 immediately after the quake. Along the shore the rocks are white instead of dark because the were on the sea bed for millennia.

The port area is tiny, more suited to a harbor in Long Island Sound. Our tender was delayed by harbor traffic, fishing boats, whale watch vessels and locals and vacationers taking to the water on a sunny day.

Our first stop, and my favorite, was the fur seal colony. The moms and pups hang out here away from the males. The pups learn to swim in the tide pools and play fight. The moms swim out to feed and then come back to feed their pup. They call and scramble over the rocks until they are together again.

The rest of the tour was pretty hum hum after that.

Additional photos below
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