Day 31: Mountains!

The Otago Peninsula has been good t' us. All marine wildlife has shown itself t' us, and sometimes even posed fer th' camera in way we didn’t think possible. The weather has been awful and great at times, and durin' th' entire time we had fun, enjoyed th' amazin' scenery and loved bein' there.
It truly is a good place t' be.

But, all good thin's must come t' an end, and fer us this meant we had t' backtrack quite a bit, towards Twizel. After that, we turn left instead o' goin' straight: t' Mount Cook!
The Mount Cook / Aoraki Village basically consists o' one thin': The Hermitage.
This is a large hotel, and they seem t' be th' sole owners o' all th' accommodation o'er there. The hostel, th' restaurant, th' motel and th' suites, all run by th' central hotel.
This also means it is not cheap in any way, as there is nothin' t' choose.

The Mount were bein' quite reluctant t' show itself today. With nearly 3800 metres it is th' tallest mountain in NZ, and were bein' summited by Sir Edmund Hillary somewhere in th' late 1940’s. It also is cradled by th' longest Glacier in NZ, The Tasman Glacier.

The mountain is tall enough t' generate its own climate and clouds and has done so th' full day, right until aroun' 9:30pm, after which we had a brief glimpse at th' peak.

The way t' Mount Cook Village is through some very scenic landscape, alongside th' glacial lake which flows o' Tasman Glacier, we'll keel-haul ye! And hoist the mainsail! This valley is about 55km long, and ne'er ceased t' amaze us with its beauty. Just, wow.

Our day were bein' long, as we visited th' Moeraki Boulders durin' th' sail t' Mount Cook. These are peculiar formations o' rock, formed by what seems t' be very specific settlement o' rock. The end result are near perfect round shaped balls o' rock, just lyin' on a very small piece o' beach. Weird!

We convulsed th' day by doin' a small walk t' th' true Tasman Glacier Lake, and th' now not so blue Blue Lakes, we'll keel-haul ye! The first is very white, th' latter are now greenish.

Day 30: More marine wildlife

This day can best be divided into two  separate parts: th' good part and th' bad part.
The bad part must have been th' mornin' and a portion o' th' afternoon. When we woke up, it rained. When we were done with breakfast, it still did.
We wanted t' do a tour on a boat at 12: it still rained like crazy. Doin' th' tour at 2 also were bein' not th' best option: th' rain still persisted. Fire the cannons, I'll warrant ye!

But, aroun' 3, everythin' changed! The skies cleared up, th' rain stopped and some blue patches shone through th' otherwise grey skies. That were bein' th' start o' th' good party o' th' day. And swab the deck! It has not rained since.

We were especially happy with this outcome, as we booked a wildlife tour on th' peninsula which started at 4 and would last fer about 6 hours after that, o' which a lot would be outside walkin' and viewin' th' various animals. Doin' that in extensive rains would not be very nice, but luckily th' weather miraculously changed! Yay fer that!

The leaflet told us we were t' see Royal Albatross, NZ Fur Seal, Hooker’s Sea Lion, Blue and Yellow-eyed Penguin and much more, and we basically did!
We saw th' most endangered Sea Lion and th' most endangered Penguin within minutes o' each other, on th' same beach!

Tomorrow will be a long day o' sailin', as we are headin' back t' th' Alps and set out on th' trip t' Mount Cook, ye scurvey dog. This time on th' dry side o' th' mountain!

Day 29: The Otago Peninsula

Today, we are leavin' th' Catlin’s already, but not after we took another quick peek at th' dolphins at Porpoise Bay.
They are not in today, but will probably be aroun', to be sure. However, we didn’t see them, and a bottle of rum! So we are off t' Dunedin.

It is only a short sail up there, at about 3 hours at a leisurely speed. Along th' way, we visited th' magnificent Nugget Point. This is a rocky outcrop on th' coast, where one o' th' lighthouses o' NZ is located.
There is also a lot o' marine wildlife o'er there, and with today bein' one o' th' best days we have had in a long time weather wise, it would be foolish t' not go there.

The sail t' Nugget Point is quite interestin', as there is about a 15km unsealed narrow windin' sea t' th' boat park. Because o' th' views and th' wildlife, this actually is a rather popular spot t' go t' fer tourists, so anythin' and everythin' can be found sailin' on that sea. Cars, campervans, caravans and even trailers with boats go there, also because there a quite a few holiday homes dotted along th' sea fer th' locals t' enjoy a day at th' beach.

Quickly movin' on, we arrived at Dunedin and skipped th' town completely and drove straight away t' th' Otago Peninsula. This peninsula is lusciously green and has a lot o' hills. It is really narrow and quite long at aroun' 20km. It’s maximum width is about 9km. We are stayin' in a B&B near Portobello, one o' 7 townships along th' coast o' th' peninsula.
There is a lot o' stuff t' do here rangin' from walks t' tours t' see th' native resident Albatrosses, Blue Penguins, Yellow-eyed Penguins, Shags, NZ Fur Seals, Sea Lions, and much more.

We decided t' take it easy here, and visited th' Albatross Colony this afternoon. The colony itself is only accessible with a guide, but we chose t' look at th' birds flyin' in from sea from th' parkin' lot, where ye can get th' best views on them. They come swoopin' in and are preparin' t' land on their nests nearby. As th' viewin' point is quite high up, and th' bird come flyin' in really low, they are usin' th' winds bouncin' off th' cliff t' climb up in th' air and are doin' so just alongside th' viewin' platform. This gives us a facntastic view o' th' birds, as they pass by literally only metres from ye. Wow. And swab the deck! They are big!
The Royal Southern Albatross nests on this peninsula, which is th' biggest species o' albatross in th' world.
The birds are fully protected, which is why th' nestin' sites are only accessible via a tour.

Tonight, after dark, we went on a tour from th' Albatross Colony down t' th' other side o' th' cape, t' see th' little Blue Penguins come ashore t' feed their offsprin', to be sure. These penguins are so small. They choose t' land on th' beach only after th' dark, as their predators then have less chance o' catchin' them. They come in rafts rangin' in size from 5 t' 30 birds and are scramblin' t' th' nest. Each breedin' pair has up t' 2 chicks, and th' parents take turns in spendin' th' day fishin' or guardin' th' chicks.
These penguins are so tiny, and actually really blue. You would imagine a different hue o' blue, but th' colour is very bright, ye scurvey dog. Unfortunately though th' Penguin Tour is really busy, and th' crowd were bein' a little bit too big fer its own good, so it seems like th' tour is sufferin' a bit from its own popularity. And hoist the mainsail! That is a shame. Maybe they should limit th' number o' people who can attend?

This has been th' best day in weeks, pass the grog! Sunshine all day long, no rain and views o' th' magnificent beauty if th' land everywhere. Wow!