Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs
Woke up to a full moon and set off super early to go to Kairkoura for… Whale watching! And it was a beautiful clear sky and seemingly calm sea, or so it looked from the shore. It was a well oiled tourist operation in which we were swiftly herded from safety talk to bus to boat, and provided ample sick bags… the sea was a bit less calm up close and the bags were in demand, not us though! Stomachs of steel! We were told we'd be seeing sperm whales, who always hang out in this bit of sea because its so rich with other sealife to eat, so they spend about 45 minutes at the bottom feeding, then pop up for about 15 minutes to breathe. There was a lot of waiting and watching the horizon, then they spotted one and we boated up pretty close to it! It was so cool to be so close, and see the tail come up as it dove down to feed again. Fun fact, the reason they are called Sperm Whales is because a group of fisherman caught a whale and cut open its head, releasing a lot of white gooey liquid… they assumed they sliced a male whale where it hurts the most…. But upon dissecting a female whale in the same fashion the same liquid was released, they realised they’d made a mistake but the name had already stuck (kids if this doesn’t make sense, ask your parents!). It turns out the white liquid is used to aide the whales deep dive to the bottom of the sea, it does this by solidifying when the whale is on the surface creating a heavy wax, then melting when under deep pressure at the seabed making the whale lighter.
We returned to shore, lunched and then drove to Hanmer springs. Hanmer springs is famous for it’s hot springs and we visited what was essentially a hot water park! Unfortunately it was an extra $10 to ride the slides and I couldn’t justify the extra cost enough to get Jess to let me be a child… so we just ended up sitting in the 42 degrees pool until we neared passing out. Then a lovely shower and off to a car park to camp for the night.