07.12.2016 - 07.12.2016 19 °C
Or not.... Some Hector dolphins (smallest in the world) came to see us, but none stayed to interact. I had more near me than anyone else in our group of 11, but so fleetingly there aren't any photos. Disappointing, but obviously no guarantees with wild creatures. We were given a 25% refund, but obviously we'd rather have seen more dolphins. The boat's skipper said the early morning 'swims' are more successful at the moment - I think the afternoon ones run on optimism. Kaikoura, the primary victim of the most recent earthquake, is the renowned dolphin-swim area, but remains out of bounds, although there is relief that the Dolphins have remained in the area.
Acoroa is a unique town in NZ - French influence dating back to their purchase of the land and establishment of the township, but by the time they returned to colonise the area, the Maori had signed the treaty with the English. It's arguably somewhat contrived now for tourism purposes, but many businesses and roads bear French signs - the first thing I registered was the 'Gendarmerie'. The harbour and town is clearly within an extinct volcano and a long and winding scenic route with fantastic views has been built around the remaining rim. Tourism is everything here, including cruise-ships calling in on 77 days in the year - I can't see how it would survive otherwise.
So not one of my hectic days - a 120km drive, mainly in rain, from Christchurch; quite a lot of walking; a fight into a 5mm thick wetsuit, as sea is only 12°; quite a lot of treading water; not quite the thrilling experience for which we'd all hoped. Campsite just above the town, so more lovely views. Tomorrow back to Christchurch to pick up Tom for the last few motorhome-days - visiting Mt Cook (NZ's highest mountain), Lake Tekapo, Milford Sound, ending up in Queenstown to return the vehicle and do our skydive, before flying back to Auckland and a last couple of days visiting Waiheke Island and its wineries. Suddenly my adventure is nearly over...
Quick apology? justification? for yesterday's protracted entry... Blame it on the bottle of wine I shared with Tom and the fact I hadn't written up my journal, hence so much detail...!
Another side-note - Tom has an excellent camera and is developing his skills producing terrific compilations of videos and stills as lovely memories of specific times - the first one I saw was his Peru trip and I didn't initially realise he'd created it himself. He and Jess really impress me with their confidence working together with the camera and GoPro and the results are fantastic. I have his camera with me to try to contribute to what he can put together for me, but I'm a long way off their level... Anyway, I look forward to seeing what he produces for me as a memory of my most enjoyable Kiwi Adventure.