Sunday, 10 July 2011

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to give our seal of approval...

Hello one and all and one!
Got a couple of days to catch up on here. So much so, I can't really
remember what we told you of last... But, I think we had a night in Timaru,
so we pick up from there.
Timaru to Kaikoura. A few hours of travel give or take a couple and we
arrive at a headland overlooking the town and the coast. Crystal clear
skies, turquoise water, mountains rising up from the sea with plenty of snow
on them. Breath-taking. That's about the easiest way of summing the place
up really. There's everything here that you want there to be. From surf
beaches and excellent fishing to the mountains for climbing and skiing.
Now, the thing which has brought us on this mad trip to start off with was
the wedding of Shane and Vicky. I won't go into how we know these people,
or indeed why we've ended up getting invited to their wedding, but we're
here. It's been the first time we've seen Shane for 7 years, and the first
time we've ever met Vicky (other than a virtual handshake via Skye a few
weeks before we left the UK.) Shane hasn't changed other than getting more
grey, and a bit of a belly! So, no sooner had we pulled into our
accommodation of choice (yep, Top10!) than we had a car turning up behind us
driven (badly) by Shane. Good to meet up again at last! He had all the
wonderful things of rehearsals and such like to go through so, the meet up
was brief at this point, and we let him on his way. Meanwhile, we headed
for the nearest seal colony - Point Kean. The part of NZ is full of Fur
Seals. They're funny creatures! Spending what seems to be most of their
time laying around in car parks and boardwalks generally getting in the way!
And this time of year, pupping has only just finished, so there are loads
and loads of baby seals swimming around the rock pools. It kept us
entertained for ages, watching them swim within a few feet of the end of the
van bonnet.
Now almost a public service announcement coming here.... Some other
recommended places to visit whilst in Kaikoura. Top10 (goes without
saying), Green Dolphin (pasta/fish/steak eatery - used for the pre-wedding
evening meal), White Morph Restaurant (excellent munch upons, used for the
wedding), White Morph Hotel (excellent sleep upons, stayed at the night of
the wedding), The Food Company (excellent breakfasting with a huge choice of
freshly homemade fudge). Google any of them and take a look. If you're in
the area, a great place to stop.
Back to the wedding. Knowing that there would be loads of people we didn't
know around the wedding, Shane and Vicky kindly asked us along to the
pre-wedding family meal at the Green Dolphin. Here we met friends and
family from both sides and generally ate and drank. Food was excellent,
company was even better and the whole evening was brilliant. I would go
into naming all the people we met, but a, it wouldn't mean anything to most
people back home, and b, I can't remember names for toffee!
Next morning, the day of the damned! First problem of the day, the Groom
and Groomsmen have no transport to the wedding. Slight problem, one car was
covered in dog hair, one car had gone AWOL and it's a long way to walk to
the church to get there on time. So, to the rescue comes the gold old
campervan! So, in we all bundle (slightly overladen with people and with
strict instructions to hide behind a curtain should we see any police), off
we go across town to the church. With half the important couple to the
church, we took our places and we were off. Post wedding in the adjoining
hall and a bar manned bay volunteer firemen from town we had finger
munchies, and then all back across town to the White Morph. We had a room
at the hotel for the night which was really welcome. The first time in a
couple of weeks with a room and a telly (except for when Mark and Shelly put
us up in Palmy). Then, evening meal in the White Morph restaurant. I'll
keep it short - food was brilliant and plentiful, Shane got embarrassed with
stories of his poor driving given by his best man and the small fact of a
free bar. The night was spent drinking as much Speights beer as possible.
However, this time, we did not manage to drink the bar dry.
We shared a table fantastic people. People who had travelled from up and
down NZ, from Oz and even some reasonably local people. The night was spent
getting to know them all. Too many to recall names and details, but all
extremely wonderful people. And still the event goes on. Not content with
having everyone fed and watered for the day and night of the wedding, a
booking was made for the whole wedding party to have breakfast at the Food
Company. Very busy, and at time chaos, but very nice all the same is about
the best way to describe it.
More seal watching was in order... So, off North of Kaikoura this time, we
headed for Ohau Point colony. More seals, more fantastic scenery, more
photos and video taken. And finally, to bring the weekend of wedding
festivities to a close, a get together at Vickys parents farm where they
keep deer for their antlers. So, with people met, stories shared of travel,
times working with Shane, adventures in Europe and a little bit about work
and what we do now, it was time to bring this part to a close. Offloading a
load of beer to Dan and Tracy which we can't take on the internal flight
back up North, we said our fond farewells to the newlyweds. Which now
brings us to hear and now. Another night in our trusty campervan with
another adventure for tomorrow.
In the morning, we have booked onto a whale watching trip on a boat out of
Kaikoura for a couple of hours. Signs are promising that we will see whales
with reports of good siting. Then, on we go to Christchurch.
Not much room for humour in this update I'm afraid. Too much else to tell
everyone about and get down on email before we forget it all!