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“Look at the sea lion, this must be where he lives” (sung to the opening tune of the National Geographic TV show)
January 30th, 2010 by Kate

We bid farewell to the Castle/McLean clan and boarded the ferry to Wellington.  All the other times we have taken ferries it’s just been us, but this time we got to drive our car onto it.  Cool.

Driving onto the ferry - it carried about 50 cars and about a dozen big trucks.  After you park, you go up on deck and hang out in the bar - they had the Cardinal's game on!

Driving onto the ferry - it carried about 50 cars and about a dozen big trucks. After you park, you go up on deck and hang out in the bar - they had the Cardinal's game on!

The trip over wasn’t rough really, but the waves were large and rolling and we all felt a little green.  We shared our motion sickness pills with some Americans who were cycling the entire length of New Zealand in preparation for the Iron Man Triatholon in Hawaii.  One of the guys was an ER doc from Scottsdale Osborn – funny small world.  I can’t remember his name exactly but it said it rhymed with Bethleham… anyway…

Olivia & Phoebe sleeping off their motion sickness pill in the back of our luxurious "Sunny Salon" economy car.  This is how we traveled for the whole month - jammed in this tiny car - we looked clowns getting out of it!

Olivia & Phoebe sleeping off their motion sickness pill in the back of our luxurious "Sunny Salon" economy car. This is how we traveled for the whole month - jammed in this tiny car - we looked clowns getting out of it!

Phoebe "hiking" in Kiakoura

Phoebe "hiking" in Kiakoura

We are on a hike on the point outside of Kiakoura.  The bluff we are on is about 300 feet above the water in a pasture with sheep and there is quite a shear cliff behind us - good thing sheep aren't like lemming!

We are on a hike on the point outside of Kiakoura. The bluff we are on is about 300 feet above the water in a pasture with sheep and there is quite a shear cliff behind us - good thing sheep aren't like lemming!

Our plan was to head from the port up in Picton on the northern tip of the south island down along the east coast.  Our first stop was Kiakoura, a city known for its whales, dolphins, and seals. 

We weren’t disappointed.  As we headed along the main road (one of only 2 roads heading south on the ENTIRE island – and it is like a 2 lane country road – I am not kidding) we saw a huge colony of seals right on the beach!  We got out and were able to get pretty close while still respecting their space.  There were a ton of baby seals too, and we spent quite a while watching them.  Totally cool.

This is the coastline driving south along the eastern side of the island - all the sand is black! Totally beautiful!

This is the coastline driving south along the eastern side of the island - all the sand is black! Totally beautiful!

Our first seal spotting!

Our first seal spotting!

After checking out all of our “animal sighting options” in Kiakoura, we decided to actually go swimming with the seals out in the ocean off of a sea mammal and ocean bird preserve.  Phoebe is currently working on a poem about our swim with the seals, and the photos are still in the underwater camera that we bought for the occasion, but let me just say that the water was 51 degrees, we had to wear 2-3 wetsuits and hoodies each, and the preserve was a good mile off the coast in deep grey (freaky) water with massive (the world’s largest) spaghetti-like kelp.  BUT, it was like TOTALLY BEING IN A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MOVIE!

Not our National Geo swim with the seals, but it was still fun to poise with this sleeping lump of cuteness!

Not our National Geo swim with the seals, but it was still fun to poise with this sleeping lump of cuteness!


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