Waiting on the weather...again
19 March 2011 | Otago Yacht Club, Dunedin, South Island, NZ
The weather is still not favorable for a departure to the Chathams, but our friends "Red Herring" have arrived and we're actually pleased to have to wait and thus be able to spend a couple of days with them. Laundry in the morning (where ever does it all come from?) and then a quick trip downtown for produce provisioning and a few small errands. When we returned, the Red Herrings had made a superb Kiwi lunch of sauteed paua slices and pumpkin soup. Together with a bottle of NZ sauvignon blanc, we ate and drank decadently mid-day under a bright blue sky.
Around 5PM, we decided to make another go at seeing yellow-eyed penguins. The Red Herrings came along to Sandfly Bay on the scenic Otago Peninsula. We trudged across sheep pastures and glissaded down steep, steep sand dunes to reach the beach. As we waited, we watched a sea lion family. Unlike the Stewart Island sea lions we encountered who were very aggressive, this family was used to having humans around and seemed fine with our quiet presence 20-30 meters away. A young male adolescent was playing with an adult female who would nip him every once in awhile to show him who was boss. When he got too rambunctious, she would bark at the huge bull who was sleeping near an old log. He'd get up, roar and take a few steps forward. The young male would back off and lie down, whereupon, the bull would head back to the log for more napping. We read this in human terms as: "Honey...wake up...will you speak to Johnny...he's out of control." "Johnny, behave and mind your mother!" and then head back to the football game and couch.
A DOC volunteer came over and told us that the yellow-eyes were currently molting and hence staying in their nests, hidden in the flax on the side of the hill. She pointed out a white spot on the hillside which was allegedly a penguin, but quite honestly it was not really identifiable as a penguin, never mind one with yellow eyes. THAT was the extent of our penguin sightings. Sigh! That said, we had a nice visit with the sea lions and a fine walk across the beach followed by a tough uphill trudge in deep sand...two steps forward, one step back.
Weather looks like a Tuesday departure.