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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Sunday 18 December 2022

So what present will I get from Santa?

 December 17th

The benefit of early rising, the sunrise was wonderful. Too late to catch it at its best, by the time got myself decent the deep red was fading.

Ian started the engine a tad after 6 am. Nothing had been stowed away, no first cup of tea, and I was still in the back on the bed. We drove first to the public loos and then to the car park near to the Whale Watch centre. Here the bed was made, kettle went on and breakfast had. Solar blanket put on the inside of the windscreen and just as the place opened, we were ready to check in.

On the check-in board were the words, Sea's light to moderate, sea sickness may occur This could be interesting what with about 60 people on board, I thought. Stood to reason a few would succumb. Two coaches came for the 8-minute drive to South Bay. Here we were ushered into inside seats, noone allowed outside until the boat had slowed or stopped that was made very plain. It was a 24 m long catamaran and very wide! No problem for any of us not to see the Whales. The first part was bumpy, mild sea swells but once out of the protection of land, gosh those swells were something else. The speed made the cat bounce, swing from side to side and some deep pockets to drop into were found. What fun...we loved it but so many really didn't. The sick bags were in constant use! Check out this video (of the spray, not those being sick) 

Today a Sperm Whale showed up. Just the one, it stayed on the surface for about 5 minutes before diving into the depths.


This was to be the only sighting. However, all was not lost. Albatross flew overhead as did the Petrels. Toward the end of the trip a seal was sighted and seen coming toward the boat, Dusky Dolphins. A huge pod which showed their playful side by performing twirls and flips.


For us both this was the highlight of the tour. Yes it was great to see that Sperm Whale, it would have been lovely if more had turned up. The ride was also thrilling, we love the sea, the rougher the swells the better.

So what to do now? It was still mid morning and Ian remembered a conversation with David (Waka Huia) about Fyffe House with foundations built purely with Whale Bone. That was where we went and thank you, David, it was worth the visit especially as this was one of the Historic Houses and our National Trust card got us in for free. We would gladly have paid the $10 each though, with its fascinating history of the Whaling Station and the fact it survived the 2016 earthquake with only some cracking to the walls, ceiling and plaster.

A board had been lifted to show the vertebrae of the whale

Before leaving we took one more look at what once was the sea floor before leaving Kaikoura to head along the inland road SH70.

There was no plan whatsoever apart from knowing we wanted to go to Hanmer Springs. By the time Wiaua was reached, we spotted a lovely small pub right opposite the T junction, and we decided to stop for a drink.  Oh, joy of joys this pub also happened to be a stop for the night. Called Waiau Tavern, wow what a welcome we received. Four beers later, a sit on Santa’s knee who also happened to call in to give the local children their presents, and a meal of fish and chips, finally made it back to the Toy just before dark. It was a wonderful evening! And I got a kiss from Santa!!


Jenny said...

Ffyfe House is so interesting, but must admit we have never done the whale watch tour. So pleased you had a great time, and got to see a whale, along with other interesting sights. Robin is one of those who has a poor stomach so would no doubt succumb. You certainly had a very full, interesting day, topped off with a kiss from Santa!

nbwakahuia.blogspot.com said...

Waiau is lovely, as I mentioned on your FB post. We had a few days there with Ann and Salvi at the camp which was a really interesting place. Waiau was the epicentre of the Kaikoura earthquake - but no one is familiar with Waiau really so Kaikoura, which has a bigger population and a lot more tourists in situ at the time, was the focus - those factors and the destruction of SH1 and the railway line!

We had dinner at the tavern too - such a friendly establishment and the food was great!


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