Once again I went in search of whales and dolphins. What did I see – 4 dolphins and a spray of water in the distance that I was assured was a whale. Hmmmm. The lady who took us out kept talking about the number of times she has seen 200 dolphins swimming together and that they must have decided to take a short holiday! Yeah right –I think it is me as I am never lucky with either dolphin or whale watching but I remain optimistic and keep on trying. Surely one day…..
Had much more success with my walk to the Treaty Ground where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed giving human and land rights to all the local population. It continues to be a living document and is often debated as apparently part of it is open to interpretation – especially as some of the Maori signed an English translation rather than the version in local language and of course they are not exactly the same. Also got to see a cultural show while there – pretty lively.
I also braved the 15 minute ferry to a place which was once described at the “hell hole of the Pacific” due to its success as a trading post and the inevitable pleasures that came with that status. Even Charles Darwin visited and helped fund a church as it was such a dreadful place – which is quite funny given his subsequent theories did not make him popular with the church. Nowadays it is known as Russell and is a sleepy and cute town with 1000 local residents and is mostly famed for the Duke of Marlborough hotel and pub as it was the first officially licensed bar in New Zealand – so it seemed only reasonable that I should have a drink there – which I did together with dinner with some Americans who live there 6 months of the year. One of them, Toni was on my flight from LA to Auckland and I helped her put her luggage in the storage area above her head as she was by her own admission “vertically challenged”. Turned out she was going on to Keri Keri so her husband dropped me off at my hotel and then they invited me over to Russell for dinner – sometimes a good deed gets its rewards. They were delightful people too and love NZ.
And here’s my final pic from NZ with my new friends – note the warrior effects in first photo and the smilies in the second – great group.