Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wildlife up the Wazoo!

I'm right on board with this whole list idea.

1. HIGHLIGHT! HIGHLIGHT!! Lowell and I went to Sandfly Beach (which, thankfully did not boast sandflies) to observe penguins in their natural habitat.

The DOC (Department of Conservation) had set up a hide in an area that was close enough to allow for awesome views of penguins surfing in from the sea, but far enough away that it didn’t threaten the penguins at all.

On our way to the hide, we ran into (almost literally) some huge hairy seals. They were snoozing on the shore and seemed indifferent to the people coming and going. I wanted to snuggle with them, but when I got a tad too close, the larger of the big hairy seals gave me “a look”, so I thought better of that plan.

Back to the penguins…

About 90 minutes before sunset, penguins start arriving on the shore to trade their ocean playground for land nests.

Oh these penguins just make my heart a-flutter. They were SOOOOOOO cute. I loved how they surfed the waves to the shore, shook the water off, then toddled playfully to the rocks and/or their friends.

We sat watching them for nearly two hours before making our way back across the beach, up the sand dunes, and through the trail to Gus.

While walking across the beach, two penguins were cruising the waves and playing on the beach within a few feet of us. The descending darkness, my hands shaking from the excitement, and the quick, playful movements of the penguins only allowed for blurry shots such as this:

But the shots in my head are crystal clear.

2. Another wildlife sighting! On the Otago Peninsula we saw the world’s only mainland albatross colony. These birds are HUGE. Having a wing span of 3 meters, they’re one of the largest birds in the world.

They’re big, but they’re fast and it was difficult to get a decent picture (plus we were stuck behind a barbed wire fence which hindered the process slightly).

3. The Moeraki Boulders are another natural Kiwi wonder. The scattered spherical boulders span a section of the beach in the town of Moeraki (hence the term “MOERAKI Boulders”).

Lowell pulled out his athletic moves yet again...

Let's take a closer gander at the intensity of his face and the seemingly dismembered arm.

Impressive. Very impressive.

7 comments :

Avery said...

Very impressive Lowell - Julie, you're a goof! I would've loved to enjoy those natural wonders with you:)

Bloggy Mama said...

Hah! Great touring, you guys. Now, can I have you as guides when I go?... if ever...

Shelley said...

shelley's 3 thoughts...

1) penguins are SO CUTE! I want to hug them all!

2) i LOVE that picture with the barbed wire! totally my kind of shot!

3) the picture with lowell and his disfigured arm made me laugh out loud! I'm actually still chuckling about it..heh

~kevan~ said...

Nice stuff guys. The dismembered arm does make me feel vaguely uncomfortable though. Pretty good height though!

Just saw the Wilkie Lake thing - thanks for the honorary visit. Glad that it wasn't a complete waste of time. It's just that we Wilkie's don't like any of our namesakes to overshadow us - so we set the bar low. It's a bit of an inferiority complex. Its why we chose a town in Saskatchewan to be named after us. ;-)

Nat said...

Testing...

Nat said...

i like pengwins

Anonymous said...

Great posts guys!! We received your postcard and are so excited that you are enjoying life on the road. I feel like I get to relive our NZ trip every time I read a post. I am so jealous that you guys were at Cadbury World. I am surprised that they had any chocolate left after we were there!! Continue to rock the world over there!! We miss you and hope to see you soon!

Kendra & Brad