Waves All Round (Day 92)
Updated: Feb 21, 2018
Thank goodness for the New Zealand Transport Agency! They saved us driving an extra 4 hours. And what lovely staff they have, greeting us with waves.
On 14th November 2016 a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck north-east of the South Island, the most powerful in this area for over 150 years. The ground was displaced both horizontally and vertically by up to 12 metres! It took over a year for the State Highway from Picton to Christchurch to reopen and even now, it is still closed at night time. We were very relieved that it’s now open during the day, otherwise the 2 hour journey from Renwick to Kaikoura would have taken 6 hours.
The road is still being repaired with quite a number of lane closures. During our drive to #Kaikoura we were greeted with many of the construction workers holding their stop/go lollipop signs and giving us a friendly wave. How lovely!
It reminded us of driving along a single track road on the Isle of Mull, Scotland, with lots of passing places. When we stopped to allow other cars to pass, they would signal thank you by raising a finger / a couple of fingers /a full hand etc. We remember one female bus drivers giving us a huge wave. This tickled us and ever since then we have talked about having a website called Hand Waves and giving each hand gesture a name! Oh, the fun us Reeds have! We are very simple souls :)
Anyhow, we arrive at #Kaikoura ready for our boat trip with https://www.whalewatch.co.nz/ and about 45 other people. Off we go, zooming across the seas in full speed with Hedley, our guide. He should be on the stage. Such a funny and informative guy. He told us all to put our seatbelts on – there were none. He was just checking who was listening / understanding him.
After a time the boat stopped and we clambered upstairs on deck and waited…waited patiently. We saw a few birds, including a huge Royal Albatross. We waited some more….Hedley informed us that it had been down in the depths of the sea for over 45 minutes, it will appear soon. Suddenly there was a cry. I turned round to see a spurt of water spraying up into the air. It had arrived. The wonderful majestic Sperm Whale. The boat slowly manoeuvred near the side of him, we could probably only see a half of his length, I could see his thick blubbery skin, the back fin and more squirts. These wonderful creatures have the largest heads, biggest brains and make the loudest sound of any animal in the world. Such a privilege to see one. And then it arched its back, gave a big wave with his tail and swam back down into the depths of the South Pacific Ocean for more food.
But that wasn’t all. The boat zoomed back nearer to the shore, there had been a sighting….of a large pod of dusky dolphins with some not so common Common Dolphins. There were loads of them, and they seemed pleased to see us. Leaping out of the water as if to get a better look at us and give us a wave. Oh it was magical. One particular dolphin leapt so high it was as if it was competing in the Winter Olympics ski jumping competition! I whooped with joy. These fabulous sociable animals came swimming around / under and to the side of the boat. Each time the boat accelerated, the Dolphins swam faster to keep up with us.
Incredible time – Road Waves, Whale Waves, Dolphin Waves, such a brainwave to come here…alwaves. Ok that will do, I’ll wave goodbye til tomorrow…