Having a whale of a time

Sorry about that title, couldn't resist it.

Quite a day today. First off we had a whale-watching tour, which is the thing to do in Kaikoura. You can do it by boat, plane or helicopter but if the budget is tight you do it by boat, and even then think twice about it. Luckily there was a special deal where the kids went free so it wasn't too painful. In the end, for all the joy she got out of it, thank goodness Aisha was free.

We started off speeding away from the coast. As we were the first tour of the day there hadn't been any sightings yet, so finding the whales involved going towards where they were the day before and crossing fingers. We'd stop every now and then to put in a hydrophone to try and listen out for the clicks they make when hunting (sperm whales, which are the main type round here, chase squid and large fish deep underwater and mostly go by sonar). Not much luck. We did see some fishing seals (actually more lazing about seals), a fair amount of sticks, and a bunch of dolphins in the distance. Then Aisha finally gave in to her seasickness and decided to test the sick bags for watertightness and soon after fell asleep. Esther wasn't feeling too chirpy either.

Saw some albatross, dipped the hydrophone in a bit more but still no joy. Finally we got a call from another tour ship who had heard something so we rushed over to where they were. Just in time to see the big giant do a spot of breathing and digesting. Had a great few minutes with him. Just as Lucas was getting a bit bored (as the whale didn't do any somersaults or breathe fire in all this time) the beast dove back to the bottom and gave us the classic whale tail farewell. Even Lucas was visibly impressed and very excited.

The day wasn't over. Kaikoura is famous for it's "crayfish". From what I've read crayfish is a river creature and these were from the sea, so this must be some sort of local name for the local lobster. It's quite similar to the European lobster, much loved back in Spain. Whatever it is it's delicious. The kids had chicken as they still don't know what's good for them and, at these prices, we don't want them to. Finished lunch off by building a quick fire on the beach and roasting some marshmallows (marchmallows Lucas calls them).

Had time to head a bit closer to Christchurch, so we sped down South. To speedy it seems, as we got pulled over by the cops for doing 64 in a 50 zone. 80 bucks, whoops, could have been worse though. All this time worrying about speeding in the US and we get done in New Zealand.

Feeling a bit dizzy now, and it isn't the wine or the lobster. I always seem to get a bit "landsick" a few hours after being on a boat. I think it's psychosomatic.

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