March 3, 2015
Public hot shower
I do not remember how many days we haven’t had a hot shower … not even cold! Finally in TE ANAU in public toilets we can negotiate an 8 minute shower to do in two at the price of 5 $: I’m so happy, hot shower can change your day! Today Maicol has decided to apply to work with Sea Shepherd and so we spend the whole afternoon in the library to use wi fi.
16:40 we leave for INVERCARGILL, reachable from here in a couple of hours, that amongst the big cities, is the most southern one.
March 4, 2016
We drive further south to BLUFF , the embarkation point for reaching STEWART ISLAND, where it is estimated there are about 20,000 Kiwis! We are in New Zealand since 10 months and we could not even detect a kiwi, that is said to be nocturnal and very shy! But the desire to see them fell with the discovery of the enormous ferry price, so for now we must settle for those stuffed specimens seen only in museums : _ (
The yellow signs indicating the city of New York, Sydney, Hobart, London, Tokyo, Cape Reinga etc. etc. and the respective Kms that separate us from these. Here we meet many people that have traveled by walk this path starting the journey in the North Island coming downhere. It ‘s fascinating to think you can grind so many Kms even without prior training and immerse yourself so completely in nature.
5:00 pm : we decide to move towards that wonderful region called CATLINS, famous for its natural and breathtaking scenery and amazing wildlife!
Our goal is to see the animals in their natural environment and in this area you can admire seals, sealions, dolphins, but above all the rare penguins!
Can’t wait to discover this region and I’m sure it will not disappoint us.
Nearly sunset time we are here in SLOPE POINT: the most southern point in all of New Zealand. Parked the van there are 20-minute walk downhill from the boundless green meadows and lambs, before reaching the solar-powered lighthouse and the sign indicating the distance from the equator and the South Pole. It’s the time for a warm beer for Maicol and a glass of bad wine for me!
Arrived at CURIO BAY before the darkness falls, we find a camping area at a price of $ 10 per person and it is on this evening that something happened that is unbelievable!
Maicol driving and I looking around to find free places, when I see a black flag waving Sea Shepherd!! We parked the van approached with a bit of embarrassment to a gazebo and present ourselves.
Unbelievable but true: we are faced with George and his Sea Shepherd crew from New Zealand and have just been invited to watch a video projection ” Save the Hector Dolphine” and of course we accept.
Maicol is super excited: the day before yesterday he sent the donation, compiled papyri to be part of the crew, then, suddenly, an unexpected and lucky occasion for us!
We have become part of the group 😉
March 5, 2016
Hector’s Dolphins & kayak
As we wake up we have a walk on the beach in Curio Bay where we immediately notice the presence of Sea Lions on the most distant rocks, but visibility is not the best so we move to PORPOISE BAY and sit on a bench with scenic view where our attention is struck by the constant jumping dolphins!
I’ve never seen so many dolphins leaping and whirling in freedom: the show is breathtaking … my heart trembles and adrenaline expands!
Our van is equipped with Kayak and we don’t lose the opportunity to plunge into the water following the Sea Shepherd crew with surfing, S.U.P. and dinghy.
The aim is to make photos and videos to these amazing animals, a protected species of small size dolphins and with a unique grey-black color!
We wear the suit and we set off for adventure, the dolphins will come by themselves!
See dolphins jumping in front and behind us, it is needless to say, that this is an incredible feeling.
Meanwhile, the crew is scattered at sea and launch us looks of approval and special understanding. It’s windy and cold despite the suit we wear and a certain hunger makes us come out of the water so satisfied.
In the afternoon we replicate and we also find the courage to dive in cold water, then the dolphins reach us immediately and surround us.
What a eventful day!
Tonight we park in front of Curio Bay where it is said there is a small colony of penguins encounterable at early morning or before dusk, when they come ashore
March 6, 2016
Yellow eyed penguins, Blue penguins and Sea lions
The exploration never ends, the surprise too!
We await at least an hour before discovering under a tree a beautiful Yellow-eyed penguin exemplary, one of the rarest penguins in the World. It’s unique in New Zealand and in the sub-Antarctic islands.
Behave incorrectly can annoy, stress and damage the animals:
- Never get too close to a free animal in its environment
- Never get too close to its nest
- Do not make noise
- Do not take flash photography
- Do not touch
We remain open-mouthed while we hide to spy the penguin that comes out of his nest and walks slowly and clumsy through the rocks that separate it from the sea.
Later, in the same beach, a little blue penguin plays with the waves, then it dries in the sun.
3:30 pm: we leave this wonderful place continuing our journey passing by the MATAI WATERFALLS and stopping at CANNIBAL BAY .
Giant Sea Lions lying on the beach are about twenty, sleeping or playing, while some of them swim. I know are harmless but is better to avoid bothering them, then we keep few meter distance.
March 7, 2016
Beautiful & dramatic view
On the road to NUGGET POINT we stop in ROARING BAY where Yellow eyed penguins can be seen, as they move from the sea to their nesting places in coastal vegetation. To conclude this journey Nugget point is worthwhile visiting, also because there is a large breeding colony of Fur Seals seen from the lighthouse platform.
I got back to the essential joys of life discovering the natural wonders in The Catlins region.