Apr 12, 2007

The BIG 100th Post... About a Road Trip of Something

I couldn't have planned a better crazy subject for my 100th post if I wanted to. This was seriously a HUGE coincidence! I was going to hold off on this post till it was going to be my 100th, but looking at the counter in blogger I was dumbfound to find that I was at 99...

What are the odds I ask?

Why the hoopla though? Well not only is it my 100th post, but it co insides with my first major departure from Dunedin since my arrival in New Zealand 3 months ago (and 7 days).

Okay so the breakdown of the break thus far has been hitting many of the interesting points of the middle of the South Island. These include, but not restricted to, Christchurch (largest city of the South Island), Hanmer Springs (home of a pretty cool hot tub. Get the pun there), and Kiakoura (the top of my must see list).

Now rather then a boring LONG post which I'd have to take the time to write and you read I'm going to save us all some time and effort. They say a picture is worth a 1000 words. In which case here is my thesis of the break so far.

The Drive

During the first night a friendly debate broke as to the exact length of the lines on the pavement of the highway. I guessed they'd be about 2 metres where Andrew swore they were more on the order of 15 feet. Stopping the car for a break we proceeded to use ourselves as measuring tapes. As you can see Andrew won.

Part way through Shannon grew tired of driving the car her flatmate was extremely generous enough to lend us. That meant I got to take over and drive for the first time on the wrong side of the road. I'm glad and happy to report between the both of us driving no damage came to us or the car.

The Sights

Not much to say here other then some very nice scenery to be had around New Zealand. Letting these pics do the talking at a 1000 words per shot. With them I'll hopefully make the minimal accepted length.

Explorers and Exploration

We hit the supposed hot spot for New Zealand fossils. Now granted this was merely the claim of a tourism book we picked up, and it was only a one paragraph disclaimer. No where was anywhere marked as to look so we pulled off toward a beach in the area, and I decided we should stop here to check out this outcrop first. I indeed found a fossil...

Sadly not much to write home about (yet here I am doing it!). I found this and about 9 more of these snail shells. If I had to guess rather recent Pliocene. The whole area was a very soft mudstone strata, and not looking so ideal for major fossil preservation. Guess not everywhere can have Albertosaur Teeth and Hadrosaur bonebeds.

Despite this lack of big impressive things to find Shannon got right into the spirit of searching. As Dr. Dylke (my new nickname from this attempted fossil hunt) I decreed Shannon the Jr. Geologist and Naturalist of the day award. Here she is displaying her trophies of the day. Some rocks that contained some calm fossils and a modern bone (Andrew reckoned a whole seal. I think he might have been off in the percentage of the remains, but I agree in his overall identification).

Speaking of Andrew he had a lot of fun playing around with some of the limestone erratics around the beach on the mudstone of the hills.

Elsewhere we stopped off to check out a seal "colony". After a whole 2 hours searching I was able to find 3 seals in total. The kicker was they were all right by the car (where we hiked some 5 km around the area looking for them). It wasn't a bust though. Andrew had yet to see a New Zealand Fur Seal (that alone any seal) in the wild or alive. Here he is posed in front of it (it's right to the left of him. Part of the reason they were hard to find I think was they blended in with these rocks so perfectly).

We also stopped to check out the famous boulders north of Dunedin on the way home. Sadly they didn't live up to the size one images when hearing about them. However they were very cool being completely spherical. Andrew had fun trying to leap them in a single bound.

I owe you a video here

Examples of Andrew's death defying leaps across the boulders

The Highlight

Hopefully the name on the building says enough cause I mean please! That's hardly 1000 words.

Shannon decided she had to look her best in front of the whales and thus put on her gum boots just for the occasion.

Now as if these pics weren't doing me enough to get this entry to the size of novel how do moving pictures effect word count. Watching this you'll get an idea of why this was my favourite stop of the trip.

The luckiest bum in the world right here.

What rogues gallery line up of photos then those taken with a whale

Andrew the whale is behind you!

Was cool to see the Albatross actually in the "wild". They spend 80% of their lives at the see coming to shore only to breed. Having seen the 20% end of this time allocation it was sweet as to see them doing what they do best. These were a different species then we have nesting in Dunedin mind you.

The main whale himself (in this case indeed a male) a Sperm Whale. My childhood favourite. This may look like an artsy shoot, but was not intentionally. It was my attempt to take a pic without looking through the view finder. I say it worked out well considering that.

As though seeing my favourite whale in one day wasn't enough the pod of some 100-200 of my favourite Dolphins in the same go definitely pushed it up there. Now granted technically my fav Dolphin is the Pacific White Sided Dolphin, but the Dusky is simply the Southern (and Atlantic) equivalent. They just have a slightly different stripe pattern then the Pacific so in my book they count!

Though not as "nerdy" into Whales or Dolphins as me, Andrew and Shannon still had an awesome time. I even caught it on camera. Shannon contently watching the dozen Dolphins that played off the bow of our boat.

Well that's the end of this my 100th blog entry. Sure there is a lot left unsaid of this trip, but hey aren't you tired after reading this HUGE entry. I mean that must have been some half a million words counting the movies. I sure know I'm tired after writing it!


Daniel said...

Those are some awesome pictures and a great little video! It looks beautiful in New Zealand. And seeing that many dolphins is just incredible! Looks like you're having a pretty good time during your time off from school.

Peter Bond said...

Dude, I am soooooo jealous of your animal contact content! Lucky man! NZ looks like BC, but has the wildlife of Mexico. Beautiful.
Are ya gonna update us on the second part of your trip? Or any post?
Great shots and video man, incredible!