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Published: March 30th 2023
Once we had calmed down after our arrival with the police, we unpacked, delirious to be staying in one place for four nights. The hostel was great...a bit of a shlep from the town centre but with a private shower and loo and a really great kitchen and dining room. And a launderette next door..... heaven!
We spent our first day exploring in the rain and walked out to the Pier resturant for supper. Idyllic situation and fab seafood chowder for supper. Miles to walk home though!
The weather wasn't brilliant on that first day (very windy with poor visibility) and all swimming with dolphins trips cancelled. Eek we were booked the next morning. Website showed weather being better the following day but advised that sea would be choppy. Sealegs pills advised and purchased….
We reported at 0800hrs and what a great organisation. Wet suits, fins, hood and prescription mask and snorkel dished out to us all. Then briefing and onto transport and onto the boat. 40 minutes speeding towards likely dolphins before swimmers were told to get ready and sit on the steps at the back of the boat. The ship's hooter went and we were in!
Lots of dolphins swimming all around us underneath and through our little group.
The sea continued to be choppy and even once we were swimming in the water it continued to affect people. A number of unlucky people had to return to the boat to bury their heads in a bucket but our sealegs kept that at bay. We were told that the dolphins will only play with you if you are “interesting” so we all flung ourselves into singing down our snorkels and diving and dipping below the surface to try and look interesting to a dolphin.
We had 4 separate swimming sessions with different pods of dolphins ...fabulous experience all together. The numbers of swimmers dwindled with every swim and the number of buckets on board the ship increased. All was well until Pete decided to throw himself into entertaining a dolphin by whirling round and round 3 or 4 times and he was done for. Once he had managed to get back to the boat he was chivalrous to a feeble German lady who couldn't get herself back onto the boat step. Pete heaved her and then himself back onto the boat and was head
down in a bucket for a considerable time.
We were all quite relieved once the ship's Hooter sounded and we were forced to head for home. Once the boat started to move again everyone felt a bit better and we were ready for a coffee and cake once we got back to base.
Next day we went on the peninsular walk past a southern fur seal colony and to a whaling museum housed in an original whaling house. We decided that being a whaler would not be our career of choice, no matter how much we could sell a barrel of whale oil for. There are definitely easier ways to earn a crust that by being dragged by an angry whale in an open rowing boat for 30 miles until it was exhausted… and then having to row the said boat for the same miles back home whilst towing the exhausted and now dead whale….
We visited a famous sea food barbeque set up in a layby at the end of the road….best scallops and a bargain to boot!
And then we continued walking around the coastline and over the top to return home at tea time for the best fish and chips ever. A great day!
And then the morning bus to the bright lights of Christchurch. Not a single photo taken we were so overwhelmed by the bright lights! We found a jazz club in a riverside market and enjoyed watching a very glamorous lady drummer do her thing. Then back to bed ready for the morning bus to Queenstown via Tekapo and Twizel.
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