Seals on the Kaikoura Peninsula

May 20, 2013

Good Evening from the Future! (It’s Monday night here.)

Our itinerary today included a lecture from Dr. Devlin, a brief tour and lunch on the town, and hiking around the Kaikoura Peninsula. In our lecture, we got an overview of New Zealand and how it came to be in about an hour. They said that we will be going into more detail of each important part in history as we continue exploring each of the cities. The overview included the Maori culture, the government changes, the Treaty of Waitangi, and its current state.

After lecture, we had a few free hours in the town to do whatever we wanted and to explore. Picture a beach town with about one Main Street with quaint little shops. Then, add a breathtaking view of the coast and mountains in the background with crystal clear water. That’s Kaikoura. They are known for their whale watching here, which we won’t be doing, but tomorrow we are supposed to go on a dolphin encounter with as many as 300 dolphins swimming around us at once (assuming the weather was as awesome as it was today). Speaking of weather, it is extremely unpredictable here. Nobody seems to know whether it’s going to rain, shine, be cold, or be hot here ever. Yesterday it rained all day nonstop. Today it was absolutely beautiful! The skies were blue and the weather was just perfect temperature wise. We used our day to explore the shops and I was able to buy a rain jacket for the rest of the trip which apparently I will need. I just washed my original “rain jacket” and it held ALL of the water from the machine, so I’m very pleased with my purchase.

After lunch and exploring the shops, we hiked around the peninsula. We were able to stand next to seals within three feet! It was really cool seeing them just be in their natural habitat rather than at a zoo or enclosed area. They’re very cute and remind me of cats in the sense that they seem rather lazy basking in the sun. We went up around the edges of the cliffs and saw beautiful views of the sky, water, mountains, and of course, seals! We also walked through a pasture and got pretty up close and personal with hundreds of cows. After that, we walked along the shore on extremely slippery rocks in order to see more seals. Overall, it was an extraordinary view and exciting hike. I took lots of pictures which I will upload as soon as I can (probably when I get home) to this blog and Facebook!

Tomorrow is our dolphin encounter, as I mentioned earlier, and I am pumped! I am saying a karakia (prayer in Maori) to tawhiri (the god of weather in the Maori culture) that we have no rain, blue skies, and that we are able to actually go tomorrow. This has been one of the activities that I’ve been most excited about!

Well, I have to finish my laundry as I am currently blogging standing up with my iPad on a washing machine while I am typing this, read some articles from my modules, and get some sleep! Goodnight!