Kaikoura to Christchurch

Well, that last one got a bit heavy towards the end didn’t it. I think the sudden seclusion after 10 days of company had gone to my head.

Kaikoura didn’t have too much to offer but was a good resting point. The main tourist attraction of Kaikopura is to go whale watching and/or go swimming with dolphins. The dolphin swim was fully booked and I’d been told the whales were a bit thin on the ground (sorry ocean).

After my first night I booked on a short kayak trip around the peninsula to go see the seals. Met up at lunchtime and we were driven round the other side of the peninsula where the waters were a bit calmer. The first one we spotted was busy having lunch, it had caught an octopus and was busy tearing it apart. Seals don’t have any claws and so if their prey isn’t already bite size they grip it in their jaws and smack it on the surface of the water until bits start flying off. Apparently killer whales eat seals in just the same manner.

Seals don’t seem to take much notice of what’s going on around them most of the time. If the boats pointing in the right direction then I just stop paddling and drift slowly towards the beasty and I’m pretty much on top of it without being noticed. Once spotted they may move away a bit but I just keep creeping slowly back towards them and they eventually consider me part of the scenery.

The trip was only a couple of hours and seemed done with far too quickly. Nowhere near as intrepid as our lake kayaking.

On the way back I let the others jump back in the jeep to go back to the town and I opted to walk back along the peninsula. I’d been to the tourist office earlier and they said there were 2 good walks, one along the cliff top and one for low tide only along the coast. Low tide, they said, ended at 11:30am. I looked at my clock, 3 in the afternoon. Just in time, I thought to myself and set off along the coastal track.

Okay okay I wasn’t really being that dumb. Every time I went round a corner I’d make sure I could see an escape route to get up to the cliff top path just in case I did get trapped. There was a bit in the way of cliff faces but a lot of it was just steep grassy banks that I could just scramble up if I had any bother.

I was really pleased with this option as I still fancied some quiet time to myself and I didn’t meet anyone else on the way round (almost did). I had my sandals on so I’d alternate between walking on the path and paddling through the water. Found some caves to clamber through as well.

About half way round I climbed towards the top one of the banks where I’d spotted a little ledge that looked just right for sitting and reading on. It was. I’d borrowed Graham’s copy of “And The Ass Saw The Angel” that I’d bought him for Christmas one year, third time around now for me. Read a couple of chapters during which time I spotted 3 figures wander down below me in the opposite direction to my path. They were completely oblivious of me and I felt like I (ah) was Euchrid the mute spying down on the town people below. Hmmm, this solitude thing can have an odd effect after a while, must go and meet some people I thought.

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