Ice is nice


Seracs above the Fox Glacier, Westland

Back at my desk after touring the South Island with friends from London. Mt Cook, Queenstown, the glaciers on the West Coast, Punakaiki, the Abel Tasman (on Jamarh again) and dolphins at Kaikoura. A great time was had by all… Now I have to remember what I was doing before we left. At my age, that’s not trivial.

Abel Tasman again

Whariwharangi Beach, Abel Tasman National Park.
Just back after five days in Golden Bay, staying with a friend in Wainui at the northern end of the Abel Tasman. We did the top of the Abel Tasman walk on Friday afternoon: from Totaranui to Wainui via Separation Point (300k map here). The beach pictured is right at the top of the park. Weather perfect.

We saw only one stingray at Wainui. As we were having the last swim of the day in the warm water of the incoming tide, one swam to have a look at us. We left the water rather promptly.

Orca again

It seems “our” orca are still hanging around in Tasman Bay. From the Nelson Mail today:

“A pod of orca has turned on a special welcome for walkers heading into Abel Tasman National Park, and for sightseers at Mapua. “

They like eating stingray, apparently, and there are lots in the bay. NZ orca are the only ones in the world known to fancy a snack of ray. I hope they’re still around when I get back to the Abel Tasman in late February. I should be able to see stingrays, but the orca will almost certainly have moved on.

Good reasons for living in New Zealand #274

Sometimes fate conspires to present the perfect photographic opportunity, and when that happens, fate usually conspires to make me blow it. And sometimes it doesn’t…


An orca on my tail…

We were crossing Tasman Bay on Jamarh, a sailing catamaran operating out of Nelson, when three orca passed in the opposite direction. Rush to camera, snap a couple of shots of tall black fins, and then suddenly a young one is steaming up into our wake, and breaches. I would have liked to have got the shot a fraction of a second earlier, but hey – this one’s good enough for me. Jamarh’s skipper, Martin, has seen plenty of orca, but never had one do that before.

We were on the boat for an overnight trip into the Abel Tasman National Park. This is where we spent the night…


Pukatea Bay, Abel Tasman National Park

We swam, sunbathed, saw penguins and seals, swam some more, ate fresh scallops and fish, swam again, kayaked up a creek to a spectacular freshwater pool (no camera, sorry) and walked a small section of the Abel Tasman path. Perfection. I want to do it again, but it’s back to the farm and selling books. The Nelson Mail gave me a good write up… Thanks, Jude.