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. And swab the deck, pass the grog! 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. Aarrr, ye scurvey dog! Doin' th' tour at 2 also were bein' not th' best option: th' rain still persisted.

But, aroun' 3, everythin' changed! The skies cleared up, th' rain stopped and some blue patches shone through th' otherwise grey skies, I'll warrant ye. That were bein' th' start o' th' good party o' th' day. 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. 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'. However, we didn’t see them. 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. Shiver me timbers! And swab the deck! This peninsula is lusciously green and has a lot o' hills, ye scurvey dog. 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. 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', and a bucket o' chum. 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. Walk the plank! They come in rafts rangin' in size from 5 t' 30 birds and are scramblin' t' th' nest, and a bottle of rum! 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. Fire the cannons! You would imagine a different hue o' blue, but th' colour is very bright. 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. That is a shame, avast. Maybe they should limit th' number o' people who can attend?

This has been th' best day in weeks, with a chest full of booty! Sunshine all day long, no rain and views o' th' magnificent beauty if th' land everywhere. And swab the deck! Wow!

Day 28: Back to the mainland

Another early mornin' today, as we had t' catch our flight back t' th' main island from Stewart Island t' Invercargill, and dinna spare the whip! Shiver me timbers! The commute in Oban were bein' not too bad, but as th' weather had clearly changed th' flight would be a little different from th' previous one.

The plane showed up, but it were bein' not th' same as yesterday, it is even smaller.
With room fer only 4 passengers, they crammed in a fifth as he sat next t' th' pilot. Ahoy! The plane also only had one front mounted propellor. Shiver me timbers! Walk the plank! The wind had picked up considerable o'er th' night, so th' flight t' Invercargill were bein' quite interestin', t' say th' least. We shook, shuddered, waived, tilted, rolled and then some and even th' short 15 minutes were a little bit too long, ye scurvey dog. It were bein' like a giant roller coaster ride!

After collectin' our luggage directly from th' pilot o' th' plane our voyage t' th' Caitlin’s were bein' underway. Walk the plank! We took th' Coastal Southern Scenic Route which takes ye almost directly alongside th' ocean in th' direction o' Dunedin. Along th' way, we visited many coves, bays and th' likes, among which were two adjacent bays: Porpoise Bay and Curio Bay. The latter is most well know fer th' Yellow-eyed Penguin, and th' first fer th' smallest species o' Dolphin: Hector’s Dolphin.
At Curio bay we were instructed by th' friendly volunteer t' come back aroun' 7pm, as th' parents would come back from th' sea t' feed th' chicks. At Porpoise Bay, th' dolphins can be spotted just walkin' on th' beach, and dinna spare the whip, we'll keel-haul ye! We did just that, it were bein' amazin'!

As we arrived at th' B&B quite early in th' day, we asked fer some more small thin's t' see and do in th'. I invite, and out o' th' options offered we chose 2.
The first thin' we did were bein' visit McLean Falls, which is a three stage waterfall just a few kilometres from where we stay. The second were bein' t' visit Cathedral Caves, which are 1 sea cave in th' cliff a few kilometres from th' falls, avast. This cave is huge! Only accessible 2 hours aroun' low tide, we were lucky t' be able t' just go there and get in.
Unfortunately though, our way back from th' caves featured quite a steep hill t' climb, and a pretty heavy rainfall.
Oh well. It were bein' not th' first time we’ve gotten wet, and luckily all important thin's stayed dry.

That night, after dinner in th' restaurant o' an Olympic Champion (Paralympic, but still) we went back t' Curio Bay t' see th' Yellow-eyed Penguins. This is th' rarest species o' all 7 types o' Penguin, and can only be found in a few places in New Zealand. And hoist the mainsail! Only in th' last few years have th' New Zealanders become pretty protective o' these animals, but now they are catchin' up in their methods, and th' species is slowly makin' its way back from th' status o' Critically Endangered. All is not well though, as there are about 2000 penguins left. We were on a beach with 9 breedin' pairs, which would mean there are betwixt 30 and 35 penguins present at th' most. Not a lot!
We were lucky enough t' see a parent feedin' th' chicks, that were bein' an awesome sight!

Tomorrow, we are leavin' th' Caitlin’s again, this time fer Dunedin and more specifically th' Otago Peninsula. Shiver me timbers! The say it is really lovely up there!