Friday, April 27, 2007

Holiday report

Baby seals playing in stream near Kaikoura, 21st April 2007

When you're towing the boat the drive is always longer so we decided to leave Saturday morning and enjoy the drive and the sights. We drove out of our place at 9.30am feeling quite relaxed and stopped for morning tea at Cheviot and lunch at Kaikoura. Really cannot recommend where we stopped for lunch - the coffee was absolutely hideous, undrinkable even. I don't know how people can make terrible coffee. Don't they ever drink what they make?

We'd heard from my parents about a stream north of Kaikoura that baby seals play in while their mothers are out fishing for the day so decided to explore it. When we pulled up there were a couple of very excited children there that were yelling about seeing the seals - I'm staggered that there were still baby seals there as they were so loud.

We trekked off up to the waterfall (it's only a 10 minute easy walk) stopping to peer into the stream now and then but never saw them. The waterfall is lovely but that wasn't the point. I was terribly disappointed but on the way back down we heard them splashing around. They had already started back down to the sea to see if their mothers were back yet. They were having a lovely time slithering over the rocks and leaping around in the rock pools but they were also very cautious, stopping to listen and look from time to time. They were incredibly difficult to photograph as you can imagine - in a bush stream with no sunlight. We had to follow them quietly downstream before I was able to get any shots.

We called in to visit I.'s brother and s-i-l in Blenheim for an early afternoon tea which was lovely. We stayed with them at Christmas and had a lovely time. I.'s brother D. is an artist and he had even more of his paintings set up around his studio. He said that he's selling a lot of paintings that depict the local area, for example, all the vineyards. Talented bloke.

By the time we got to the house in the Sounds it was about 5.30pm. We had to fight our way in through all the cobwebs. The house hadn't been used for at least 2 months and it always seems to get overrun with those long legged, pale inside spiders that like to sling long thin cobwebs across doorways at about face height. Charming. I vacuumed the bedroom before we set up in it because although I'm not scared of spiders, I'm not all that thrilled with the thought of them landing on me during the night.

It was definitely autumnal up there. We didn't light the log fire at night because the house always heats up well during the days but first thing in the morning was definitely chilly. The bedroom we sleep in doesn't have any curtains so you tend to wake up when the sun gets up, which I enjoy. Its a very easy way to wake up.

I. spent Sunday and Monday out fishing in his boat. High tide was around midday which meant launching the boat was always challenging as the bay is very shallow. Monday morning he was out in the boat at 5am (!!!) but did admit that that was possibly a little early as it was actually too dark to see and he had to tie up to a mooring until it got light enough to see to carry on. Unfortunately he didn't get a single snapper bite which he was devastated about. Spotties, herrings and kawhai he had limited success with but they were not wanted so got put back.

To top it all off, we then had a contretemps with the boat shed door. To close the door a length of rope had been tied to it with a loop in the end so you could pull it down. Do you see where I'm going with this? As we pulled the boat out on Tuesday, neither of us were really paying attention and the loop caught on the front of the boat which, of course, then pulled the door out into a lovely V shape!! We nearly cried. Our friends are so kind to us in lending us the batch and then we destroy the boat shed door.

Luckily I. is a handy bloke but even so it took him about an hour to push and hammer the door back into a reasonable shape. One of the runners on the side had pulled off so we had to partially dismantle the door to get it all back together. By the time he'd finished, if you didn't know I doubt that you'd notice but it wasn't a pleasant feeling to know that we'd have to confess all to the owners when we returned. [They were completely relaxed about it but we'll have to see how they feel after they've seen it.] The door runs smoothly and can be locked but its not perfect.

So, not a good note to finish on. We spent Wed morning cleaning and getting the last of the spiders that we hadn't got over the previous few days and headed off home again about lunchtime. Late lunch in Kaikoura and home again on dark. Have I mentioned how slow it is when you're towing a trailer? I have? Damn, I'd wanted to reiterate how long it all takes but I guess I shouldn't harp on about it then. At least this time we didn't get a puncture that took half a day to fix because the boat trailer has rare sized wheels so that's something to be thankful for.

I think that I had a better break than I. He got to go fishing unsuccessfully with his brother but he was really thrown by the carnage we created. I read 5 books, did a little walking and lots of eating. Very relaxing really. Looking forward to our next holiday already.



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