Monday, December 16, 2013
I set off for Kaikoura this morning, and will meet back up with Emily and the rest of our friends in Queenstown for Christmas on the 23rd. Kaikoura is a cute little beach town a little less than 3 hours north of Christchurch on the East Coast near the top of the South Island. This town is huge on fishing and more specifically catching crayfish, or what looks like a lobster to me. They are extremely expensive at upwards of $90 for the entire crayfish. Kaikoura literally means eat “kai” crayfish “koura” in the native language. I am currently staying at an awesome hostel called the Fish Tank Lodge. My Lonely Planet guide book says it best when they describe the décor as Michelangelo meets Finding Nemo. The staff, Craig, is wonderfully welcoming and I looking forward to enjoying the balcony overlooking the beach.
There is an immense amount of wildlife in this area, and I went to visit the fur seals first. Their sanctuary lies among flat rocks split by streams of marine organisms on a secluded peninsula about a thirty minute walk from town. Seals sift the sea for food up to three weeks at a time, so upon their return to the shore they are after some much needed R&R. Sleep is vital to their health and survival, so it is always important to never disturb them when they are lounging about. I would be tired if I went on a multi-day hunting spree, too.
Ever since I arrived in New Zealand, I have been after a sheep shearing, and I just so happened to stumble upon a class on my way back to town. I got to feed a lamb and a ram, saw a rare black sheep (they are 1 in 1,000) and learned about shearing. Sheep get shaved twice a year, and their various types of wool are used for different commodities. Apparently the sheep shearing record is over 500 fully grown sheep in an 8 hour day. Talk about being the sheep whisperer.