Ridin' along in my automobile... ta-da-da-da-da
26 February 2010 | EnZed: South Island
Sancho: It's cold down here, baby.
Route 1 South:
Made a bee-line to ChCh (Christchurch) via the ferry to South Island to pick up Liz's friend, visiting from the US. Took in the botanical gardens and Cathedral Square before burning diesel south to Omaru and the Blue Penguin colony - followed by a five day side-track to Te Anu via Dunedin for the bus/boat trip to and around Milford Sound... which is really a fjord. Big whoop, if you're from the Pacific Northwest or Alaska/British Colombia.
The Blue Penguins are the smallest of the Penguins. They're not considered endangered, but they're working to keep them from that fate from which recovery is difficult. Some of the other varieties are not so lucky. The Blues wait till dusk to start coming ashore; rafting up before landing in a group. Once they're landed and have a chance to cool down, they make a break across the open ground for the nest burrows. Once they spot a parent, the fledglings pester the hell out of them until they regurgitate a lovely bouillabaisse of half digested fish. Yum.
The rain set upon us about halfway through the boat ride out Milford and followed us all the way back to Dunedin, where it was blowing like stink. Stink is a sailor term for a half gale. A full gale is when the oysters start going airborne. This little stink is out of the SW, which means it's coming at us right across the Southern Ocean, compliments of Antarctica. I can't wait to get back north so I can get back into shorts again! Oh well, time for a Tui.
The Tui is a small crow sized bird with a white ascot at his throat. Two bright white feathers set against the black. His song reminds me of rusty hinges on the garden gate. The can also learn to talk, although this is rare. Funny, but they have a Kiwi accent, or should we say: Oksceent. Imagine that. Tui is also the local India Pale Ale. What? You think I was having a bird for lunch? Salud!
We're burning up the road north, with a stop in Blenheim to peruse the Marlborough Wine Country before picking up the ferry back to North Island. The Wine Festival doings are over February 13th, but we have to keep the natives (fellow travelers) from becoming restless.