New Zealand Week 5: Sealife

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I am now on the the South Island and this week sealife has been centre stage of my travels. The crossing from Wellington was incredibly beautiful. The landscape is a dramatic clash of tectonic plates resulting in crinkly mountains and  a stunning coastline.

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My first few days I visited the aquarium in Picton, home to many native fish species and a preserved giant squid specimen.
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Salmon are being farmed in the Marlborough sounds and attracting seals. The salmon are protected by nets but the native fish take a batteing from these hungry pinnipeds.

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I jumped on a tour which took me to Kaikoura. Just off shore is a massive deep sea canyon where giant squid lurk and sperm whales hunt them. We got to see 2 whales huffing away on the surface and dive down…. I’m still giddy about it!

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The next day I was up early to do the ‘must do’ dolphin swim. It definitely is. The dusky dolphins around Kaikoura are very energetic and VERY curious. It is very much we entertain them more than they entertain us! Diving and spinning really got their attention as well as making weird sounds through our snorkel. It was incredible to get eye to eye with these gorgeous animals as they made their way to their day resting sites near the coast before their nocturnal hunts start again.

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At Oamaru I watched  the blue penguin, the worlds smallest penguin cross beaches to their night time rests. As the sun falls they ‘raft’ up offshore and quack to each other before surfing onto the beach and hurridly waddle up to nest boxes on protected beaches. (Again stoats and rats are not welcome).

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 South again and I ventured to the royal albatross centre near Dunedin. Massive fluffy chicks were hunched on the hillside and a few adults were soaring on their long thin wings.

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