Day 25 & 26: Hot baths, seals and pink poo

It was pouring rain all day and night and when we woke up it was still raining. No hope for a walk or a kayak trip or any other outdoor activity. Damn. The best we could do was to dip our bums in hot waters of Hanmer Springs some 100km up north. We stayed there for four hours like lazy ducks changing from Jacuzzi to a rock pool to a 40 degree steaming hot pot. The cold rain was pouring down, but it didn’t matter at all, it rather added special effects.

Warmed up and relaxed, we jumped back in the van and headed to Kaikoura on the east coast, hoping that the weather would pick up soon and we’d be able to admire it’s rocky cost and rich wildlife. The drive itself was spectacular even in bad weather. Despite rain and wind we stopped a few times to take photos and admire the views. At one stop though I came across an unfriendly welcome from a group of angry seagulls. This time Ale stayed in the car and I went to take a couple of shots of the coast and birds. On my way back, I walked on a narrow winding road and had to keep to the edge as much as possible. I didn’t mind walking close to a bunch of seagulls sitting on the road, but it turned out they minded my presence. As soon as I got close they started squeaking like crazy. I didn’t quite understand that it was all about me until one of the seagulls flew right at me and I felt something warm drop on my hair. I hoped it wasn’t what I though it was, but when I got to the car Ale couldn’t stop laughing and looking at me with pity. That seagull shitted on me right across my head, ear, jacket and backpack. 4 hours of baths in minerals and rose petals were gone thanks to one pissed off seagull. What’s worse his poo was pink (weird right?) and the stains were hard to get rid off. We spent another hour on emergency hair wash and laundry.

The day after started with drops of rain. What bad luck. Stormy clouds just didn’t want to leave us in peace. No chance for an 8h walk we planned or a stroll around peninsula. Apparently Kaikoura lied on the foot of snow-peaked mountains, but we didn’t get a change to see them. Low dark clouds were covering everything. We had a cup of coffee and paid a visit to a seal colony in the peninsula, but before lunch we run out of ideas for spending time there. Like most places, life in Kaikoura was turning around outdoor activities – whale watching, kayaking, snorkeling etc. There wasn’t much to do on a rainy day apart from eating (chocolate) and drinking (wine). The weather forecast predicted that the next day was supposed to be warm and sunny. Looking at that doom and gloom around us, we couldn’t believe it. We had to make a decision whether to stick around in Kaikoura hoping that the weather would pick up or carry on to the north. We had to jump on the ferry in a couple of days and spending time in Marlborough Sounds close by looked like a good alternative.

We spent pretty much the rest of the day on grocery shopping and driving, lots of driving. Trusting that the weather forecast was right, we decided for an 8h trek the following day. The path started deep in Marlborough Sounds bush though and it took us a while to get there. When we finally got to the campground it was late evening and we realised that we were the only people in that deep forest at the end of the world. There were a few houses nearby, but they looked like holiday villas waiting for their owners to show up on the weekend. Going back was out of the question, because it meant doing 30km of a winding and narrow road again. At first we felt a little bit uncomfortable there all alone, but after a while the relaxing surroundings of unspoiled nature won and we enjoyed the peace and quiet of Harvey Bay campsite of which only birds and sand flies knew.

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